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Microsoft is testing its tablet-friendly taskbar again in Windows 11

Microsoft is testing its tablet-friendly taskbar again in Windows 11


The tinier taskbar was initially introduced back in February

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Five HP Pavilion x360 14 models lined up on a white counter in cloesd, clamshell, tent, backwards, and tablet modes respectively. The screen displays a bird’s-eye view of cliffs and water.
HP Pavilion x360 14 models in various modes, including tablet at the end
Image: HP

Microsoft is reintroducing its tablet-friendly taskbar in the latest preview of Windows 11. The taskbar was first introduced in February alongside other new features included for eventual rollout in Windows 11, but it was later pulled for more internal development. Microsoft said in a blog post that the taskbar is part of an update rolling out to Windows Insiders in the developer channel and is only available for PCs that can be used as tablets like 2-in-1s, not laptops or desktop PCs.

The taskbar itself is designed to be hidden when a tablet user isn’t using it, allowing more needed screen space. When it’s collapsed, it shows “critical” things on it like the time and battery percentage. When it’s expanded, it reveals several apps, widgets, and the Start button, and it looks to be more suitable for touch when in use. The taskbar is designed to return to its optimized position when it’s disconnected or when the keyboard is folded back on a 2-in-1 device.

Image: Microsoft

Microsoft is also rolling out other features that work on non-2-in-1 devices in its latest update, specifically to its System Tray. The latest update brings animated icons and illustrations to its Settings app by adding them to its sidebar when you hover over the options in the menu. These updates also include some bug fixes to the Settings, Widgets, Task Manager, and Windowing.

A settings menu on Windows 11 with illustrated icons
The new update includes animated icons in Windows 11 settings.
Image: Microsoft