Microsoft’s argument for not allowing us to move the Windows 11 taskbar makes no sense

Yesterday we reported that Microsoft has no plans to allow users to change the location of the taskbar in Windows 11 because it believes that not enough people want it and therefore it is not high on the priority list. It also cited technical difficulties in the process and basically said that it has no plans to make the taskbar portable again in Windows 11. Well, none of that reasoning makes any sense, so let’s break down Microsoft’s argument and discuss it more detailed.

Microsoft Product Manager Tali Roth began by saying:

When it comes to something like actually being able to move the taskbar to different places on the screen, there are a number of challenges with it. When you think about having the taskbar right or left, the reflow and the work that all apps have to do to be able to understand the environment is suddenly just huge.

Having the taskbar on the right or left apparently breaks the flow of apps … even though it worked fine in Windows 10? That’s a bit of the crux of the problem here, as Microsoft rebuilt the taskbar from scratch, removing essentially much of the functionality that people used in Windows 10. This was done in the name of simplification, and I’ve also complained about this before. .

To get to another issue, the rebuilt taskbar is reportedly a relic of the now defunct Windows 10X, an OS designed for dual-monitor devices where design simplification was needed. Simply transferring it to Windows 11 meant that people on regular devices lost a lot of functionality in the process.

In other words, there was no massive demand for redesigning the taskbar for existing, “traditional” Windows devices. Microsoft essentially broke what already worked fine for everyone.

Windows 11 screenshot from the leaked build and logo

There is also another interesting thing to talk about here. Microsoft has mentioned technical difficulties in making the Windows 11 taskbar portable … but a relatively much smaller company like Stardock has already implemented it fine through its Start11 software, which at least makes it possible to move the taskbar to the top.

If third-party developers can spend time and effort correcting Microsoft’s mistakes, there’s no reason why an organization as large as Microsoft should not invest the same effort and commitment into its own software. If you can not allow to move the taskbar left or right, then at least allow people to move it to the top so far, because it is certainly possible through third-party tools.

Microsoft Windows 11 desktop images

Now, we’ll talk about the second part of Roth’s argument:

And when you look at the data, while we know that there is a set of people who love it that way and who really appreciate it, we also recognize that this set of users is very small compared to the set of other people that is asking for other features. So at the moment we continue to focus on things that I hear more pain around.

This part of the statement really annoys me. Microsoft claims that there are not enough people who want to move the taskbar … but it is the most requested feature in the Feedback Hub, by a very large margin. Microsoft randomly dismissing this fact is problematic as it has always talked about how user feedback is crucial to Windows development.

If we believe that Microsoft is actually right and that it has formed this conclusion based on telemetry data, it has other implications. This means that the company might as well throw out the Feedback Hub because it would rather give telemetry greater importance. And to be honest, I would be okay with that given that we now see that feedback in that service is apparently not important enough to Microsoft at all. But the company needs to be transparent about it, you can not have a Feedback Hub for the public and then ignore it based on your internal metrics and priorities.

In general, I do not think that Microsoft’s argument has sufficient weight. I’m not involved in Windows development, so I can not speak on behalf of the technical difficulties, but we have evidence that it is possible to move the taskbar to at least the top, and that enough people want the feature, so I think , It makes sense to call Microsoft about this. People did not ask for the taskbar features to be removed so they would not have to ask for them to be returned. It’s not just a matter of “stay on Windows 10 if you want this feature so much”, it’s a matter of principle and a matter of Microsoft ignoring clear public demand.

What do you think about Microsoft not making the taskbar removable in Windows 11? Does the company’s argument have any weight?

Disclaimer: Neowin’s relationship with Stardock

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