In an online AMA, Windows 11 team members explained that fixing the limitations it built into the Windows 11 taskbar is not a priority.
“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,” Microsoft’s Tali Roth responds after a “preamble” when asked about moving the Taskbar. “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.”
That’s not true: how the Taskbar works is a system function, not something that every app needs to manually adjust for. The previous Taskbars and their behaviors were controlled by Windows, and when users moved them to other screen edges, things just worked as expected. When Microsoft completely rewrote the Taskbar in Windows 11—to be “more performant,” one of the AMA members claims—it broke functionality that has worked for many years. And as expected, it’s gotten a lot of feedback about those missing features.
So how does Microsoft determine which features to fix and/or add back to this new Taskbar? It uses telemetry data, of course.
“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 that set of users is really small compared to the set of other folks that are asking for other features,” Roth continues. “So at the moment we are continuing to focus on things that I hear more pain around.”
To recap. Microsoft broke the Taskbar. It then gathered feedback about the missing features. And it will only bring back some of them based on the volume of the complaints it receives. And the people who want to move the Taskbar to other screen edges are just not a big or important enough audience to worry about.
“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,” she admits.
She also explains how wonderful it is that the new Taskbar contracts when the few people who use Windows as a tablet—an audience Microsoft does care about because of Surface—pop off an attached keyboard. There is no data to suggest that people want this feature. But Microsoft has made it a priority over the feedback they are getting.
In other words, thanks for your feedback, folks. Love getting that. And super-pumped to pay attention to it. Keep it coming.
Two final notes.
One, thanks to Neowin for pointing out this AMA and providing a transcript of this part of it, which begins at about the 10-minute mark of the video.
And two, Start11 costs just $5.99 and it lets you move the Taskbar to the top and bottom screen edges in Windows 11, among other features the Windows 11 Taskbar lacks.