Unlike Windows 10, Windows 11 doesn’t ship with a dedicated tablet mode, so Microsoft has decided to make improvements to the desktop UX 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 these days, but there’s still room for improvements. In recent preview builds, Microsoft has made several improvements and significant changes to the taskbar 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 the apps running on the device and is similar to how mobile operating systems work.
As with Android or iOS, you can swipe up from the taskbar to expand it and access the pinned apps. On a tablet, when you swipe up from the bottom of the desktop, a thick taskbar with large icons appears for tablet users to click on the icons with ease.
This may sound like a no-brainer, but there’s a catch: Microsoft’s new feature made it harder to use the system tray capabilities in Windows 11. To better support this new tablet-optimized taskbar, Microsoft has removed the ability to display icons in or around the system tray.
With Windows 11 Build 22610, Microsoft has now removed the “tablet-optimized” taskbar, citing feedback from early testers. It seems that the company has 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 isn’t returning any time soon, meaning it won’t ship with Windows 11’s Anniversary Update.
As Microsoft officials have said before, features appearing in the Beta or Dev channels won’t always see the light of day.
The drag and drop capability in the Windows 11 system tray is still missing
Although the tablet-optimized taskbar has been removed from the preview builds, users are still unable to reorder/drag and drop icons in or around the system tray.
In other words, if you want to rearrange the system tray icons or move icons to the system tray when they are outside, the only option is to use the Settings app and manually toggle on/off for all icons (if available).
In a Feedback Hub post, Microsoft previously confirmed that the drag-and-drop capability in the system tray has been removed for the tablet-optimized taskbar:
“We’ll continue to follow this feedback, but with the updates we’ve made to the new tablet-optimized taskbar in Build 22563, we no longer support dragging icons into the system tray or flying between the system tray and show hidden icons. instead, you’ll need to use the Settings > Personalization > Taskbar > Notification Area section to manage these icons,” Microsoft said.
At this point, we don’t know if Microsoft is still willing to roll back this unnecessary taskbar change, as the company doesn’t talk about it on any public platform.
For now make sure to upvote feedback message in the Feedback Hub in an effort to bring back the missing drag-and-drop functionality in the system tray.
It’s also worth noting that Windows 11 22H2 will reach RTM status later this month, so there’s plenty of time for Microsoft to undo this desired change.