(Photo: Start11 from Stardock)When Microsoft launched Windows 11 it proudly touted its redesigned taskbar and Start Menu. Not everyone was as excited about the new designs as Microsoft. The company moved the Start Menu to the middle of the display. It also anchored the taskbar to the bottom of the screen.
Thankfully Microsoft provides the option to move the Start Menu back to its rightful place in the left corner. The taskbar, however, remains cemented in-place. A lot of people figured it was just a launch restriction, but it now appears Microsoft may never allow the taskbar to move.
Several Microsoft executives recently held an Ask Me Anything (AMA) on YouTube, which was transcribed by Neowin. In the AMA the taskbar issue came up since it’s the highest ranked request in the company’s feedback hub. Tali Roth, Microsoft’s Head of Product, was read the following question, “at some point are we going to be able to move the taskbar to a different location on the screen?” You can hear her answer in the timestamped video below.
For those of you who just want to know what it is, here’s what she said. “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.”
She prefaces her comments by saying Microsoft rebuilt the taskbar from scratch for Windows 11. This meant it had to pick and choose which features to include, which ones to leave out, and which ones to push to the side for now. She says the decision to leave out the “side taskbar” was “data driven.” She added that people with smaller devices don’t have a good experience moving the taskbar. Her colleague Paul Barr chimed in that he misses being able to move it on his big monitor. This is a familiar refrain in the high-performance PC world. Her other colleague Jeff Petty defended the change saying he experiences “less travel” on his big monitor, which we assume means mouse travel. As if that’s a huge burden.
Overall this is quite the disappointing turn of events. It’s a big departure from previous versions of Windows, in which the taskbar’s position was user-controlled. Plus, the PC has always been about personal choice and the freedom to customize things. According to Microsoft though, the number of users requesting this feature is too small to devote its resources to at this time. In other words, a vocal minority. There are some options for those of you who still want to move the taskbar though. Stardock has released Start11 which allows you to resize and reposition the Start Menu, but it’s not free.