In the second part of the series, we’ll take a look at the changes and improvements in the Windows 11 taskbar version 22H2.
Just as Microsoft reduced the functionality of the Start menu in the original version of Windows 11, it reduced the functionality of the taskbar in that version. I called the crippled Windows 11 taskbar in 2021 as the answer.
Microsoft decided to change the default location of the taskbar icons to the center. It included an option to align icons to the left, which made the switch to Windows 11 easier for some users, provided they could find it.
The company removed several core features and abilities of the Windows taskbar in Windows 11. Users found that they could no longer align the taskbar to the side or top; Microsoft did not copy the Windows 10 taskbar to Windows 11 and removed features. The company created the taskbar from scratch, and it seems that feature regressions came from time constraints and a different view of things.
The ability to drag and drop on taskbar icons has also been removed in Windows 11, as have easy options to resize the taskbar.
Tip: third-party programs such as Stardock’s Start11 (paid) or free Taskbar11 restore some of the lost functionality. Both support placing the taskbar at the top of the screen, among other features.
In a hurry? Here are the main changes:
- Dragging and dropping files onto taskbar icons is supported again.
- New mute icon for chat apps in the taskbar.
- New “Share this window” option for chat apps.
Taskbar in Windows 11 version 22H2
Microsoft is restoring some taskbar functionality in the new feature update for Windows 11. While this is a step in the right direction, the changes won’t be enough to satisfy most critics.
Microsoft introduces drag & drop functionality in the new version of Windows 11. You can drag files onto the taskbar icons to launch these files into the connected application. This works indirectly because you have to wait for the application window to come to the foreground before dropping the file icon into the application interface.
The feature has one major limitation: file upload only works if the app itself is already open.
Although this may be the case sometimes, the following opening methods may be faster:
- Double-click the file to load it into the default application.
- Right-click the file, select Open with, and select one of the applications that Windows returns.
The methods do not work for special use cases, such as dropping files into Outlook or Thunderbird emails to add as attachments, uploading files to Internet services, or other activities that process without opening them.
Drag and drop support is now also available on the “show desktop” icon on the far left of the taskbar. A click or tap on the empty area to the right of the date and time hides all program windows to reveal the desktop. Useful for users who have desktop shortcuts they need to access.
Files can be added to the desktop by placing them on the “show desktop” icon in the taskbar. Whether this is really faster than other options like hiding a single window depends on personal usage. However, it is a new option that some users may find useful.
Share app screens in online meetings
Another new feature is the ability to share app views with others in online meetings. Microsoft has implemented the feature in Microsoft Teams and other developers can also add it to their messaging and communication apps.
The main idea behind the feature is to make it easier to share app screens in online meetings. Suppose you want to show an Excel table to all participants, then you can use the function to simplify the process.
All it takes is hovering over an open app to display the “Share this window” option below the app’s thumbnail view. You must be in a Teams call or a call in another app that supports the feature.
Until now, it was necessary to select the content sharing button in Teams and there one of the listed windows that are open on the device.
Shared windows appear with a colored border in Windows 11 version 22H2 to improve visibility.
Mute/unmute functionality in the taskbar
Another related feature is the ability to quickly mute/unmute for supported apps. Like screen sharing, it’s only supported by Teams at the moment, but it’s open to other developers to add support to their apps.
A microphone icon is displayed on the taskbar if an application that uses the microphone is launched. A click or tap on the icon activates mute in supported apps or opens the microphone settings page for unsupported apps.
Smaller changes to the taskbar
You may notice some new and improved icons on the taskbar. The battery icon shows a lightning bolt in the new version of Windows. There is also a new design icon that is displayed when designing. A click on the icon opens the Quick Cast Settings on the device, which supports casting termination.
Apps in the “All apps” list can be dragged and dropped to the taskbar to pin them there. It’s probably faster to right-click them and select More > Pin to Taskbar, which has the same effect.
Microsoft won’t please many of its critics with the changes it made to the taskbar in Windows 11 version 22H2. Drag and drop support is the main feature of the release, but the functionality of the taskbar is still limited compared to the taskbars of previous versions of Windows.
Even drag and drop support isn’t perfect, as programs must already be running for the feature to work.
Microsoft indicated earlier this year that it has no plans to add different aspects of the taskbar to the Windows 11 operating system. Users who prefer to have the taskbar at the top can use third-party software to do so, but users who preferred to position the taskbar to the side do not have such an option.
Some features, such as taskbar override, may not be available in the initial release. However, Microsoft plans to roll out feature updates as smaller updates to Windows 11 devices regularly in the future.
Now you: has microsoft lived up to expectations regarding the taskbar in the new version of windows?