With the new early release of Windows 11, Microsoft is once again trying to redesign the tablet-optimized taskbar and update the Settings menu.
Assembly 25197 (will open in a new tab) The OS is a taskbar that offers two different modes: reduced and extended. In minimized mode, the taskbar is hidden, allowing users to take up more screen space and keep only the most important icons, such as battery level and clock. Advanced mode shows the full taskbar with apps, widgets, and a start button. You can switch from one mode to another by dragging the mouse up or down from the bottom of the screen.
Microsoft also specifies that the taskbar on 2-in-1 laptops “automatically switches to this optimized version” when the keyboard is disabled or folded down. The new taskbar will become the default once version 25197 is deployed. You can verify that you have this feature enabled by going to the Behavior section of the taskbar (via Settings). There is an option to “Optimize the taskbar for touch interaction when this device is used as a tablet”.
Microsoft plans to continue developing the optimized taskbar as there are still a few issues that need to be addressed. There are reports of widgets appearing to be clipped and the taskbar moving slower than expected.
Pretty rich version
The rest of the expected new features are for all devices, not just tablets. New icons and animated illustrations will appear in the Settings menu. As seen in the presentation animation (will open in a new tab)settings icons will animate with a popping sound.
The new system tray will add “focus and hover handling” to the icons in the bottom right corner. The editor also specifies that the drag and drop feature will be disabled for icons on the taskbar. However, he assures that in the future it will be restored.
Finally, we’ll have to take advantage of the new built-in Arm64 support for the Calculator app. Microsoft says this will become more responsive when used on Arm64 devices. And Media Player will give you direct access to Clipchamp in the context menu for quick video editing.
Don’t Forget the Patches
The preview release also includes a number of software fixes. With the exception of a few tablet exclusives, all fixes will apply to all Microsoft devices.
On tablets, the taskbar will no longer flash when making changes to the system tray. The date and time should no longer be truncated, and Microsoft got rid of the bug that was displaying the wrong color in parts of the taskbar. There are, however, prerequisites for changes in the tablet. The new optimized taskbar must be enabled for the fixes to take effect.
As for other fixes, they cover various aspects of Windows 11. The “Empty Trash” option in File Explorer will now work faster, bugs that caused sporadic crashes have been fixed, and Task Manager has become more reliable.
Build 25197 is currently available for download from the Windows Insider Dev channel. Microsoft is asking users to go to the Feedback Hub and provide feedback about it – which you can do by pressing the Windows and F keys at the same time.