New Taskbar in Windows 11 – Our First Look

New Taskbar in Windows 11 – Our First Look


Windows 11 brings a fresh new look and some handy new features to the taskbar we all rely on every day. As a long-time Windows user making the upgrade to Windows 11, I wanted to share my first impressions of the revamped Windows 11 taskbar after using it for a few weeks. There are some great new additions, but also a few tweaks that take some getting used to. Overall, I think Microsoft did a great job evolving the taskbar without sacrificing the familiarity millions of users depend on.

Centered Alignment

One of the first things you’ll notice when upgrading to Windows 11 is the taskbar icons and Start menu button are now centered on the screen instead of left-aligned.

  • At first, I found this a little jarring after decades of seeing the taskbar on the left.
  • However, after using it for a few days, I’ve come to appreciate the centered alignment.
  • It gives the taskbar a cleaner, more modern look and also makes it easier to quickly launch apps and commands no matter which side of the screen your mouse cursor is on.
  • The familiar taskbar is still there with all the same functions, just subtly re-positioned to feel newer and fresher.

Overall, I think Microsoft made a smart design choice here. The centered taskbar looks great, leaves screen space on both sides, and doesn’t detract from usability.

New Taskbar Size & Layout Options

Another big improvement in Windows 11 is more options for tweaking the taskbar’s size and layout:

  • You can now set the taskbar to be smaller or larger to control how much vertical space it takes up.
  • There’s also a new taskbar auto-hide option that slides the taskbar in and out of view.
  • Plus, a new taskbar tablet mode completely optimizes the taskbar for touch when switching a 2-in-1 laptop into tablet configuration.

I really appreciate these new customization options. It allows me to optimize the valuable taskbar space for how I like to use my computer. I have mine set to be slightly smaller than default to save a bit of screen space. The new auto-hide function is great for dipping in and out of full-screen mode too.

New Taskbar Overflow Menu

The overflow menu on the taskbar has been one of my favorite upgrades in Windows 11.

  • This new menu collects all your open app icons that don’t fit on the main taskbar.
  • Before, these icons were hidden, which often caused me to lose track of what apps I had open.
  • The overflow menu makes them easily accessible with one click. No more guessing what’s open!

This has already become one of my most-used new features. It’s a small but super useful quality of life improvement.

Widgets Integration

Windows 11 introduces Widgets – a new personalized feed of news, weather, sports, and other info. The Widgets panel is now conveniently accessible by clicking the Widgets icon on the taskbar.

  • With just one click, I can now instantly pull up my Widgets panel to quickly check the weather, headlines, and more without having to fully switch contexts to another app.
  • It feels very snappy and responsive thanks to the optimization work Microsoft put into the Widgets experience.
  • I don’t use Widgets all the time, but it’s great to have it one click away on the taskbar when I want a quick look at my personalized feed.

Integrating Widgets into the taskbar makes perfect sense. It puts this handy info hub literally at your fingertips.

Familiar Core Experience

While the visual presentation has evolved, all the essential multitasking capabilities of the Windows taskbar are still there.

  • I can still pin my most-used apps for one-click access.
  • The system tray containing my clock, network, volume, and notifications is unchanged.
  • I can still see all open apps grouped by application.
  • Window previews on hover work the same as ever.

The core fundamentals we’ve all come to rely on for efficient multitasking are thankfully still very much present in the Windows 11 taskbar. Microsoft smartly focused on improving what was already working rather than reinventing the wheel.

Bottom Line

After a few weeks of use, I’m very pleased overall with the design refinements introduced in the Windows 11 taskbar. The new centered alignment, more size/layout options, integrated Widgets, and overflow menu are all welcome improvements in my opinion. The familiar core functionality remains reliable as ever too. For me, the Windows 11 taskbar is a clear upgrade over previous versions. It looks and works better while still feeling comfortably familiar.

Key Takeaways:

  • Centered alignment gives the taskbar a cleaner modern look.
  • More size and layout options allow you to optimize taskbar space.
  • The new overflow menu makes open apps easy to access.
  • Widgets integration puts your personalized feed one click away.
  • The same dependable multitasking capabilities remain.
  • Microsoft focused on improving a proven foundation.
  • Overall the Windows 11 taskbar is a solid upgrade over previous versions.


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