You may remember back in February, we discussed Microsoft's plan to bring a tablet-friendly taskbar to Windows 11 in preview. Well, that taskbar has never arrived, and Microsoft actually pulled it from subsequent builds. The company now says it is returning to the tablet taskbar as part of a new update coming to Windows Insiders.
When users enter tablet mode in Windows 11, they can select between two options: First is a state where the taskbar is collapsed and displays important status icons only. The second is an expanded taskbar that will make it easier to touch apps and icons.
Microsoft is locking this feature, which means it is exclusively for devices that can be used as tablets, such as full tablets and 2-in-1 convertibles. Laptops and desktops will not get this feature.
Under regular use, the taskbar remains hidden until the tablet user needs it. This is simply to provide more screen real estate on smaller displays.
“If this feature is available, you will see a new setting at Settings > Personalization > Taskbar > Taskbar behaviors called “Optimize taskbar for touch interactions when this device is used as a tablet” that will be set to on by default.”
It is worth noting the new tablet taskbar is a part of Windows 11 Preview build 25197. This is the same update that includes Microsoft's new System Tray for Windows 11. “With this change, users will see a rounded focus and hover treatment on all icons in the lower right, due to the continued modernization of this experience.”
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