HomePrograming & TechCustomize the New Taskbar in Windows 11

Customize the New Taskbar in Windows 11

It hasn’t even been out for a year yet, but the latest operating system from Microsoft – Windows 11 – already has plenty of fans. It’s slick new layout is proving to be a hit with a lot of people. Businesses in particularly have been enjoying the new system. TechQuarters, a Microsoft Partner who provide IT support services in London, particularly enjoy the multi-tasking features, and the enhanced integration with the Microsoft Cloud that Windows 11 has.

There has been one feature that has proven somewhat divisive among those who have made the upgrade so far. The Taskbar in Windows, which has remained basically unchanged for several generations – but for a few cosmetic tweaks – has been rebuilt for Windows 11. For some people, this was a welcome refresh. For others, it was slightly jarring.

Windows Taskbar

The taskbar has always been an integral part of the UI and the UX in Windows. In Windows 10, you were able to customize it in a number of ways – namely, you were able to fix it to any side of the screen that you wanted. Now, in Windows 11, the taskbar is fixed to the bottom of the screen. Though this has not been advised by Microsoft, some Windows users have posted fixes to this which involve making changes to Windows Registry. But there are some other ways – ways that have been officially recognised by Microsoft – for users to customize their taskbar in Windows 11.

Pinning Apps to Your Taskbar

Some people like to have apps pinned to the taskbar. Others don’t like the aesthetic. If you want to try it out, here’s how to do it:

  • Apps that are running will appear in the taskbar. To pin open apps, right-click the icon, and press ‘Pin to taskbar’. The icon will now remain even after closing the app.
  • If the app isn’t running, open Start, and click ‘All apps’ to locate the one you’re looking for. Right-click, and press ‘Pin to taskbar’
  • Alternatively, simply search for it at the top of the Start menu. When the app shows in the results, you should see ‘Pin to taskbar’ listed underneath it.
  • To remove apps from the taskbar, simply right-click the icon, and press ‘Unpin from taskbar’

Align Taskbar to the Left

The biggest change to the taskbar in Windows 11, for many, was the alignment of your icons. The Start button, along with any other icons you have pinned to your taskbar will be aligned to the middle. In every version of Windows (excluding Windows 8) the taskbar has always been aligned to the left, with the Start button remaining on the bottom left-hand corner of the display. For many, their muscle memory made it feel a bit strange using the new centralised Start button. Luckily, there is a fix for this:

  • Right-click your taskbar. Click ‘Taskbar settings’
  • In the Taskbar settings window, expand ‘Taskbar behaviours’
  • Near the top of this section, you will see ‘Taskbar alignment’ listed, with a drop-down menu next to it.
  • Open the drop-down menu, and switch the selection to ‘Left’ instead of ‘Centre’ (which is what is selected by default.)
  • Immediately, your Start button, and all open apps will drift over to the left-hand side, and will remain anchored there.

Other Taskbar Behaviours

In the section of your Taskbar settings that was described above, you also have a range of other options that may be worth exploring. Checking the box for ‘Automatically hide taskbar’. Another option allows apps in the taskbar to display a badge when you have unread notifications (the badges are a small red circle containing a number).

A new (and very useful) feature of the taskbar is the ability to share any window directly from your taskbar. So, if you are in a Teams meeting, you can hover over any window in your taskbar, and select ‘Share this window’, you will begin presenting it to the other participants in your meeting.

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