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Microsoft might soon let Windows 11 users show labels and ungroup apps on taskbar

Windows 11 desktop with the Start11 app running

Microsoft has already addressed many of Windows 11's shortcomings. However, the operating system still lacks many features users miss after upgrading from Windows 10, and most of those features are related to the ill-fated taskbar. For example, the ability to ungroup apps and show labels is one of the most upvoted requests on the Feedback Hub. If you prefer the "never combine" feature, good news: Windows 11 might soon give you the much-desired change (if that is not enough, check out hints pointing at the possible option to place the taskbar at the top of the screen).

Enthusiasts spotted the first traces of the "never combine" feature returning to Windows 11 in late 2022, but those were rather vague clues without any specific details. Now we have a smoking gun evidence: code in the recent Dev and Canary builds explicitly mentions the upcoming features. According to @XenoPanther and @PhantomOfEarth, the latest Windows 11 preview contains the following strings:

  • DesktopTaskbar_GroupingMode
  • DesktopTaskbar_ShowLabels
  • SystemSettings_DesktopTaskbar_GroupingMode
  • SystemSettings_DesktopTaskbar_ShowLabels
  • SystemSettings_DesktopTaskbar_SecondaryMonitorsGroupingMode
  • "Options to group similar windows on taskbar"
  • "Show labels on taskbar pins"

Although the unearthed details sound exciting, we still do not know when or if Microsoft plans to allow users to disable app grouping. The company recently reminded us that changes in the new Canary build might never reach the public release, so do not get your hopes too high. Microsoft might also reserve them for Windows 12, of which a public release is expected in late 2024.

Whatever the case, it is good to see more evidence of Microsoft giving users back what it took away earlier. Meanwhile, you can fix Windows 11's taskbar problems with third-party apps like Start11 (on the screenshot above), which recently received an update to resolve compatibility issues with the latest Windows 11 release.

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