Microsoft brings back Taskbar app ungrouping on Windows 11, but with a smart new twist

Windows 11 Taskbar closeup
(Image credit: Future)

What you need to know

  • Microsoft has confirmed that it's bringing back the ability to ungroup Taskbar items on Windows 11.
  • The functionality is back with a smarter implementation that keeps the Taskbar clean when not interacting with it.
  • Users will be able to click on an app running multiple instances and have the Taskbar automatically ungroup them, with labels!

Microsoft has today unveiled several new features that are currently in the works for Windows 11 which are planned to ship later this year as part of the 23H2 release in the fall. One such feature includes a classic Taskbar feature, making an official comeback but with a smart new twist.

Previous versions of Windows had the ability to "ungroup" app icons and show labels on the Taskbar. This was handy for "old school" Windows users who preferred the pre-Windows 7 era Taskbar that didn't hide multiple instances of an app under a single icon. This ability was removed when Windows 11 first launched, as the company wanted to rebuild the Taskbar from the ground up.

Apps on the Taskbar will now be able to show labels and ungroup. (Image credit: Albacore on Twitter)

But now, Microsoft says it's coming back, with a smarter implementation. The company says that users will be able to manually ungroup and show app icon labels with "just one click," which will reveal all instances of an app on the Taskbar quickly, without needing to turn the feature on permanently.

This will be incredibly useful for users who don't mind grouping app icons when not hunting for an app, but would like to have the apps ungrouped when interacting with the Taskbar. This implementation of an old feature should enable that. 

Microsoft doesn't say if users will be able to turn off app grouping and enable app labels permanently, but we'll find out soon enough as the company plans to begin flighting this new feature in preview in the coming weeks. 

Zac Bowden
Senior Editor

Zac Bowden is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. Bringing you exclusive coverage into the world of Windows on PCs, tablets, phones, and more. Also an avid collector of rare Microsoft prototype devices! Keep in touch on Twitter and Threads