Microsoft has been rebuilding the taskbar from scratch on Windows 11. As a result, several features have been absent from the operating system, such as the ability to drag and drop files on the taskbar, show seconds in the system tray date & time area, and features like ungrouping of icons.
Microsoft continues prioritising user feedback, working hard to reintegrate popular functionalities. Last year, Microsoft brought back “drag and drop” support for the taskbar, allowing users to drag and drop files onto it as they would on Windows 10 and older versions.
In March, we exclusively confirmed the tech giant’s plan to restore classic taskbar features in the fall as part of the Windows 11 version 23H2 update. One of the features set to return is “never combine” for the taskbar. As the name suggests, this new toggle would let you ungroup icons/apps on the taskbar.
Microsoft has finally added the early bits of the functionality to the taskbar with Windows 11 Build 23440, which is available in the Dev Channel. In the update, Microsoft has reintroduced the taskbar show labels feature and the ability to ungroup app icons on the taskbar in Windows 11, addressing user demands for these popular legacy features.
While the option to ungroup icons is missing in Windows Settings, enabling “show labels” for taskbar apps is now possible.
As you can see in the above screenshot, the show labels feature lets you see window titles alongside app icons in the taskbar. This results in easier identification and switching between different windows. Of course, it is possible to disable the feature and return to the existing icons’ behaviour.
To activate this functionality, you must set the Combine taskbar button option to Never in Windows Settings > Taskbar. This setting is essential for the feature to work effectively.
With the “never combine” option, Microsoft also aims to resolve the issue of “losing” windows due to taskbar grouping, which some users find helpful while others consider inconvenient. This option toggle ensures you can easily access your favourite app’s window without hassle by preventing automatic grouping.
Yesterday’s preview update also added one new feature to the taskbar – the ability to hide date and time to make the taskbar look less cluttered.
Currently under internal testing, these enhancements corroborate our exclusive report on Microsoft’s dedication to restoring legacy taskbar features in Windows 11.
Windows 11’s next big update is arriving in the fall
While Windows 11 Moment 3 update is expected in the summer, the most significant update of the year, “version 23H2”, should debut in the fall.
This update would be built on top of existing Windows 11 version 22H2, so it’s technically not a new version of the OS and is expected to be similar to enablement packages for Windows 10, albeit with more significant changes.
Version 23H2 is expected to dramatically update the interface of File Explorer with Microsoft 365 integration, new “details” pane, more modern WinUI controls, and many minor design changes.