Still no vertical taskbar in Windows 11

Microsoft is letting down their users by not listening to feedback and ignoring calls to re-introduce the vertical taskbar in Windows.


By. Jacob

Edited: 2023-07-07 12:19

With Windows 11, Microsoft has again failed their own users by removing a feature people were using: the vertical taskbar. It has basically been a core Windows functionality for years, and something that other operating systems still supports just fine.

For this reason I actually advise against upgrading from Windows 10.

Last year the head of Windows Core experience, Tali Roth, had something to say about moving the taskbar, in this YouTube video:

... when we built Windows 11, we rebuilt the taskbar from scratch, and so, that meant that we had to, pick and choose which things we would put in first, and what was that first set of features that it would include.

We rebuilt it for a number of reasons. It's more performant. There's a lot of improvements that we made from the fundementals perspective.

But we know and recognize the weight and responsibility that we have for the billion plus users who are used to a particular set of features and want to use it. So our goal was to be really data driven when it came to making the decisions about what to include and what we could either put up for later or not include.

Um.. Data driven...? Evidently not. This has been one of the most requested features on feedback hub, and there's actually some pretty good reasons why a vertical taskbar is the better default on widescreen desktops. But, if they really redesigned the taskbar from scratch, why did they not make it use open standards and thereby allow more customization?

And she continues

When you look at the taskbar, the set of things that we're working on right now are things that we are hearing a lot of user-pain around. I think folks have recently seen that we have added the ability to do drag and drop...

Not being able to move the taskbar is painful.

MacOS even has the equivalent of a vertical taskbar, and of course many GNU/Linux distributions also support it; if users want to have a vertical taskbar in Windows, however, they will have to install unreliable third party software to do so.

What I hear her say is that Microsoft either does not want to implement moving the taskbar. E.g. It could be too hard for their developers to implement, or the Windows team does not have the resources needed.

She was rambling about irrelevant other features they were working on, and thereby avoiding answering the question properly. We are still talking basic features that should be easy to implement from a coding perspective, and of course a big company like Microsoft could fix this in a matter of days. Yet, here we are almost two years after release, and there's still no official solution.

A vertical taskbar is inherently better on widescreen desktop devices, so maybe Microsoft is simply more focused on mobile devices? And maybe Microsoft has simply become too complacent? Slowly allowing competing systems to surpass Windows in basic usability and functionality?

In essence, there is practically nothing you cannot do from MacOS or GNU/Linux. Sure the GUI in Windows 11 has some nice things, but it comes at a great cost, and is also very inflexible and offers super bad costumization — the KDE desktop environment feels much more open and mature in this regard.

Ditch Windows

Governments and private organisations could "easily" switch to GNU/Linux and find ways around the tyrannical paths of Apple and Microsoft — and I even write this as a shareholder in both companies!

You cannot allow companies to change core features that you rely on for everyday productivity. E.g. Making the taskbar worse, ending support for Outlook Express, Windows Live Mail, and replacing it with a maliciously nerfed "mail" app in Windows 10. It's like we are moving backwards here!

A solution to the taskbar issue would be if the GUI in Windows was implemented with open standards, making it easy for users to change it, fix flaws, and make their own improvements. And of course, a solution to the mail app issue is to not rely on Microsoft's software for anything important. E.g. Stick with open source such as Thunderbird.

But, we do have a perfectly capable alternative in GNU/Linux; distributions like Debian or Ubuntu are very user-friendly, and practically allows you to do all you need.

Microsoft Exchange

It seems a lot of companies rely on Exchange, which is unfortunate, because Microsoft has yet to support it properly on GNU/Linux. E.g. If you want to sync your calendar in Thunderbird you will have to install a paid plugin, and it has sometimes stopped working (probably because Microsoft is changing things).

If you must use Exchange for e-mail, at least stop using it for calendar synchronization, and make sure to turn on SMTP, IMAP or POP3 so Linux users can check e-mail from Thunderbird.


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Tell us what you think:

  1. I am having an issue with a huge Caps Lock popup notification appearing in the center of my screen, and it does not seem like there is an easy way to turn it off.
  2. If you run Windows 11, then you better be careful about blindly accepting updates, because unwanted Malware might be installed through the official Windows update feature..
  3. Microsoft ruined the taskbar in Windows 11, preventing us from moving it, so this is how you get back a vertical taskbar, if that is what you want.
  4. When opening a program via the taskbar by Right Clicking on it and choosing New Window, the opened program will not gain focus automatically.

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