Microsoft Explains Why You Can’t Move the Windows 11 Taskbar

Windows 11 sidebar hacked to the left
Benj Edwards

Ever since the first preview build arrived, users have asked Microsoft to make it an option to move the Windows 11 taskbar location to the left or right side of the screen. Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like that’s happening anytime soon.

As you probably know, the Windows 11 taskbar is locked to the bottom center of the screen. And while you can move the icons to the left bottom edge like Windows 10, that’s about it. There are several valid arguments for why your Windows taskbar should be on the left, but Microsoft doesn’t see it that way.

In a recent Reddit AMA (ask me anything), Microsoft’s Windows 11 team took several questions about the new operating system. As expected, a question about the taskbar location quickly came up. If you were hoping for good news, sorry to burst your bubble. We didn’t get any.

When asked about the option to change the Windows 11 taskbar location (at the 9:50 minute mark), Tali Roth, head of Windows Core experience at Microsoft, gave us a short answer that Windows fans won’t like.

“When we built Windows 11, we rebuilt the taskbar from scratch. That meant we had to pick and choose which things we’d put in first and which features we would include.” As Roth explains the process, she confirms the team is essentially working on pain points and adjustments to help a larger group of users.

“The goal was to be really data-driven about what to include, what to put off for later, or what not to include.”

It sounds like being able to move the taskbar isn’t a huge request or didn’t have enough attention to warrant a change. Instead, Roth quickly pivots to some of the recent adjustments the team has made, like the collapsed and expanded taskbar for smaller touchscreen devices or tablets.

As the conversation continues, Tali Roth then explains that “when it comes to actually being able to move the taskbar to different locations on the screen, there are 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 all of the apps have to do to have a wonderful experience is just huge.”

Then, circling back to her earlier point about making “data-driven decisions,” the subset of users that want to move the taskbar is minimal compared to other folks asking for different features. That said, it does sound like moving the taskbar is one of those things Microsoft will continue to look at and keep listening to feedback, but at the moment, they don’t have a plan to build the side taskbar.

While Microsoft doesn’t plan to make this an option anytime soon, there is a registry hack that lets you move the Windows 11 taskbar to the left, right or even the top of the screen, but it’s sort of broken, so don’t expect a perfect experience.

via Reddit