Windows 11

Windows 11 KB5019980 replaces the search bar glass icon with a new large text button

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Windows 11 KB5019980 is available to users outside of the beta testing program and comes with many features, including support for tabs in File Explorer and more.

KB5019980 is a mandatory security update published as part of the November 2022 Patch Tuesday cycle. In other words, it will be downloaded and installed automatically unless you manually pause the updates. It is likely that you have already applied the update to your system and changes such as the tabbed file explorer or the taskbar overflow UI are now live.

It appears that there is another undocumented change in this cumulative update: a new design for taskbar search. While in Windows 10 you can switch between the search icon and the large search bar, the search on the Windows 11 taskbar is an icon pinned next to the Start button.

KB5019980 enables the new search bar design

Windows 11 taskbar search bar
New search buttons design

Microsoft is now testing a new taskbar search change in the production build and it’s not what you were hoping for. As you can see in the screenshot above, Microsoft is adding a Windows 10-like search bar, replacing the compact search icon.

New search bar
Three new search bar designs in Windows 11 production (A/B tested)

This new search bar is apparently smaller than Windows 10’s search box and fits better with the new operating system’s Fluent WinUI look, but there’s no change in functionality and it will work in much the same way.

This change is being rolled out to select users with KB5019980.

A source familiar with Microsoft’s Windows development told us that the company is testing multiple variations of the search bar. Based on the engagement and user feedback, Microsoft will officially announce the new design in the coming weeks.

Microsoft has other changes planned for the taskbar search. For example, Windows 11 preview build is experimenting with new ‘display tips’ to help users get more out of Windows Search.

Microsoft tries several ways to provide tips on how to use Windows Search.

“Only a few English-speaking Windows Insiders in the US will see this,” the company says said.

Sure, many of us hoped more essential features would be added to the OS’s crippled taskbar, but it seems the company wants to focus on design for now.

This is one of the features that will benefit Microsoft more than consumers. Microsoft may be planning to use the empty space in the search bar to promote Bing and Edge-related services, and this shouldn’t be surprising given that the company has done the same on Windows 10.

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