Microsoft says changing taskbar location in Windows 11 is not important

The Start menu in Windows 11 22H2

Microsoft recently held an Ask Me Anything (AMA) session on YouTube, where engineering and product teams answered questions about the latest features and capabilities in Windows 11. One of the discussed topics was the option to move the taskbar to the top or sides of the screen. If you have been waiting for this feature, bad news: Microsoft thinks moving the taskbar is not important enough, and, most likely, this feature is not coming any time soon.

The Start menu and taskbar are among the most controversial changes in Windows 11. Microsoft threw away the old taskbar during the development process and started making the new one from scratch. As a result, developers had to decide what features needed to be ready for the initial launch, what features they could postpone, and what features were not worth the effort. The option to move the taskbar fell into the last category.

Long story short, Microsoft thinks bringing back the movable taskbar is too much work for too few users. Here is how Tali Roth, Microsoft's Head of Product, explains the situation:

When it comes to something like actually being able to move the taskbar to different locations on the screen, there's a number of challenges with that. When you think about having the taskbar on the right or the left, all of a sudden the reflow and the work that all of the apps have to do to be able to understand the environment is just huge.

And when you look at the data, while we know there is a set of people that love it that way and, like, really appreciate it, we also recognize that this set of users is really small compared to the set of other folks that are asking for other features. So at the moment we are continuing to focus on things that I hear more pain around.

It is one of those things that we are still continuing to look at, and we will keep looking to feedback, but at the moment we do not have a plan or a set date for when we would, or if we should, actually build the side taskbar.

The logic behind the explanation is easy to understand. Windows enthusiasts are quite a vocal yet relatively small community in the Windows install base with more than 1.3 billion devices. Microsoft needs to constantly balance satisfying its hardcore fans and keeping the priorities in check for the entire audience. Oftentimes, decisions Microsoft makes in favor of the larger group of users hurt the enthusiasts.

But the funny thing about the taskbar is that the Feedback Hub directly clashes with what Tali Roth has said. The ability to move the taskbar is the most upvoted feedback piece, with more than 17,600 thumb-ups and 1200 comments. Unless Microsoft has another tool to source more feedback from "regular" users, you can tell quite a large chunk of Windows 11 customers want Microsoft to bring back the missing feature more than everything else. People do not want stickers on the desktop. They want the taskbar they have lost.

Fortunately, third-party developers thrive where Microsoft fails. You can reclaim some of the most popular taskbar features killed by Windows 11 with help from Start11 and similar utilities. Start11 recently introduced the option to ungroup icons on the taskbar, plus it lets you move the taskbar to the top. You can learn more about changes in the latest Start11 release here.


Do you think the option to move the taskbar is overhyped? Share your thoughts in the comments.

Disclaimer: Neowin's relationship to Stardock

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