Microsoft Removes Taskbar UI From Windows 11, But Rearrange System Tray Feature Is Still Missing
Unlike Windows 10, Windows 11 doesn't come with a dedicated tablet mode, so Microsoft decided to apply desktop UX improvements to better support tablets, an approach the company previously used for Windows. 8.
It goes without saying that Windows on a 2-in-1 is in a much better position today, but there's still room for improvement. In recent preview builds, Microsoft has made several key Taskbar improvements and changes to better support the Taskbar on a tablet or 2-in-1 device.
For example, Microsoft has created a new minimized taskbar interface, which aims to take up less space when you're not using it. This is especially useful on small-screen tablets as it gives more space to apps running on the device and is similar to how mobile operating systems work.
Like Android or iOS, you can swipe up on the taskbar to expand it and access pinned apps. When swiping up from the bottom of the desktop on a tablet, a thick taskbar appears with large icons to help tablet users easily click icons.
This might sound like a good idea, but there's a catch: Microsoft's new feature has made it harder to use system tray features in Windows 11. To better support this new optimized taskbar for tablets, Microsoft removed the ability to drag and drop icons displayed in or around the system tray.
With Windows 11 Build 22610, Microsoft has now retired the "tablet-optimized" taskbar, citing feedback from early testers. It seems the company received tons of negative reviews, as the tablet-optimized taskbar ended up causing usability issues on tablets.
Microsoft has made it clear that the feature won't be returning anytime soon, which means it won't ship with the Windows 11 Anniversary Update.
As Microsoft officials have said before, features that appear in Beta or Dev channels won't always see the light of day.
Windows 11 system tray drag and drop functionality is still missing
Although the tablet-optimized taskbar has been pulled from the preview builds, users still cannot rearrange/drag and drop icons in or around the system tray.
In other words, if you want to rearrange the system tray icons or move the icons to the system tray when they are out, the only option is to use the Settings app and manually enable/disable all icons (if available).
In a Feedback Hub article, Microsoft previously confirmed that system tray drag-and-drop functionality has been removed for the tablet-optimized taskbar:
"We will continue to monitor these comments, but with the updates we made to the new tablet-optimized taskbar in build 22563, we no longer support moving icons to the status bar system tray or between the system tray and the display of hidden icons. Instead, you should use the Settings > Personalization > Taskbar > System Tray section to manage these icons," said Microsoft.
At this point, we don't know if Microsoft is still willing to roll back this unnecessary taskbar change, as the company isn't talking about it on any public platform.
For now, be sure to vote for posting comments in the Feedback Hub in an effort to restore the missing drag and drop functionality to the system tray.
It's also worth noting that Windows 11 22H2 is expected to reach RTM status later this month, so there's plenty of time for Microsoft to roll back this desired change.