Yesterday we reported that Microsoft has no plans to allow users to change the location of the taskbar in Windows 11 because it believes few people want it, so it’s not in top of his list of priorities. He also cited engineering difficulties in the process and basically said that he has no intention of making the taskbar mobile again in Windows 11. Well, none of those reasonings matter. meaning, so let’s break down Microsoft’s argument and discuss it in more detail.
Microsoft Product Manager Tali Roth started by saying that:
When it comes to something like being able to move the taskbar to different places on the screen, there are a number of challenges with that. When you think you have the taskbar on the right or on the left, all of a sudden the reflow and the work that all apps have to do to be able to understand the environment is just huge.
Having the taskbar on the right or left apparently interrupts the flow of apps… even if it worked fine on Windows 10? That’s kind of the crux of the matter here, when Microsoft rebuilt the taskbar from the ground up, it basically removed a lot of the functionality that people were using in Windows 10. This was done in the name of simplification and I also complained about it before.
Moving on to another issue, the rebuilt taskbar is said to be a relic of the now defunct Windows 10X, an operating system designed for dual-screen devices where design simplification was needed. Just porting it to Windows 11 meant that regular device users lost a lot of functionality in the process.
In other words, there hasn’t been a massive request for a taskbar redesign for existing “traditional” Windows devices. Microsoft basically broke what was already working well for everyone.
There is another interesting thing to discuss here as well. Microsoft cited engineering difficulties in making the Windows 11 taskbar moveable…but, a relatively much smaller company like Stardock has already implemented it very well through its Start11 software, which at least allows the taskbar to be moved upward tasks.
If third-party developers can put the time and effort into correcting Microsoft’s errors, there’s no reason why an organization as large as Microsoft can’t invest the same level of effort and commitment in its own software. If you can’t allow the taskbar to be moved left or right, at least allow people to move it up for now, as this is certainly possible via third-party tools.
Now let’s talk about the second part of Roth’s argument:
And when you look at the data, while we know there’s a set of people who like it and, like, really appreciate it, we also recognize that that set of users is really small compared to the set other people who are requesting other features. So for now we continue to focus on things around which I hear more pain.
This part of the statement really irritates me. Microsoft says there aren’t enough people who want to move the taskbar…but it’s the most requested feature in the Feedback Hub, by quite a margin. Microsoft casually dismisses this fact as problematic because it has always talked about how user feedback is crucial to Windows development.
If we believe that Microsoft is indeed correct and formed this conclusion based on telemetry data, this has further implications. This means that the company might as well throw away the Feedback Hub, as it would instead give more importance to telemetry. And to be honest, I would agree with that given that we now find that reviews on this service are apparently not important enough for Microsoft. But the company needs to be transparent about this, you can’t have a feedback center for the public and then ignore it based on your internal metrics and priorities.
Overall, I don’t think Microsoft’s argument carries enough weight. I’m not involved in Windows development, so I can’t speak for the engineering difficulties, but we have evidence that it’s possible to move the taskbar at least up and that enough people want the feature, so I think it makes sense to call Microsoft about it. People didn’t ask for taskbar functionality to be removed, so they don’t have to beg for it to be returned. This isn’t just a matter of “staying on Windows 10 if you want this feature so badly”, it’s a matter of principle and a case of Microsoft ignoring a clear public demand.
What do you think about Microsoft not making the taskbar moveable in Windows 11? Does the company’s argument have any weight?
Disclaimer: Neowin’s relationship with Stardock