Windows 11 tablet users get their special taskbar back

September 9, 2022

The revenge of the tablet taskbar? Microsoft has released a new version of the preview in the Dev channelWindows 11 build 25197, which brings back a buggy feature.

One that the company had to remove after its initial introduction.

Yes, we are talking about that tablet-optimized taskbar that Redmond hyped up in build 22581 back in March. The feature first saw daylight in February with build 22563, but the company ultimately removed it in April due to issues that users reported.

It’s mostly to do with the inability to personalize the taskbar, move icons, and all that.

But with build 25197, the software titan is reintroducing the touch-optimized taskbar, which it says is designed to make you feel more confident and comfortable using your Windows device as a tablet.

The OS will automatically transition to this optimized version when you disconnect or fold back the keyboard on your 2-in-1 device.

Build 25197 Tablet Taskbar

The image above shows the two states of this taskbar — collapsed and expanded.

In the collapsed state, the taskbar frees up screen space by getting out of the way. At the same time, it prevents you from accidentally invoking it while you are holding your tablet. In the expanded state, the taskbar is optimized to be easier to use via touch.

You can easily switch between the two states by swiping up and down on the bottom of your device. As expected, this feature only works on tablets; it does not work on laptops or desktop PCs.

If you enable this feature, 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”.

Not a fan of these long names, but what can you do!

As with most new (and, in this case, returning) features, Microsoft has just started the rollout. This means that this new option will not be available to all Insiders right away. However, it will be pushed to everyone in due time after testing and monitoring the feedback.

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Fahad Ali is a professional freelancer, specializing in technology, web design and development and enterprise applications. He is the primary contributor to this website. When he is not typing away on his keyboard, he is relaxing to some soft jazz.

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