Microsoft is bringing back two classic features for the Taskbar on Windows 11

Windows 11 Icon Taskbar
(Image credit: Future)

What you need to know

  • Two classic Taskbar functionalities might be making a return to Windows 11.
  • These functions are "never combine apps" and the ability to display seconds in the System Tray.
  • Both functions were found hidden in the latest Windows 11 preview builds.

One of Windows 11's biggest criticisms from users today is that the Taskbar experience is a functional step backwards from previous versions of the OS. This is because the Taskbar on Windows 11 is brand new, rebuilt from the ground up which means many older functions need to be also be rebuilt.

This takes time, and while Microsoft has said on record that some classic Taskbar functionalities won't be returning, such as the ability to dock the Taskbar to the side or top of your screen, that doesn't mean all classic functions are off the table. In fact, two classic Taskbar functionalities appear to already be in the works internally at Microsoft.

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Spotted by software tinkerer Albacore on Twitter, Microsoft is working on bringing back the ability to view clock seconds in the system tray, as well as the "never combine" Taskbar option that was first introduced on Windows 7 and allowed users to restore the legacy behavior of non-grouping the same app under one icon.

Curiously, the early implementation on Windows 11 doesn't yet restore the ability to show app titles, which went hand-in-hand with the never combine functionality in previous Windows releases. Perhaps this will show up in a future build.

Albacore mentions that the never combine functionality is actually broken in the public Insider builds at the moment, which explains why the feature hasn't yet been announced by Microsoft. 

It's good to see Microsoft continuing to work on improving the Taskbar experience on Windows 11. In September, Microsoft released Windows 11 version 22H2, which brought back the ability to drag files between app icons on the Taskbar. Looks like we can expect more of that classic functionality to return over the next year.

Zac Bowden
Senior Editor

Zac Bowden is a Senior Editor at Windows Central. Bringing you exclusive coverage into the world of Windows 10 on PCs, tablets, phones, and more. Also an avid collector of rare Microsoft prototype devices! Keep in touch on Twitter: @zacbowden.