Microsoft REALLY doesn't want you to use the Windows 10 taskbar on Windows 11

Lenovo Legion 9i (Gen 8) on desk.
(Image credit: Rebecca Spear / Windows Central)

What you need to know

  • The latest Insider build of Windows 11 includes a hidden feature that prevents the operating system from showing the Windows 10 taskbar.
  • Windows 11 has a new taskbar compared to its predecessor, but the Windows 10 taskbar can be forced to appear through third-party applications, at least until recently.
  • Starting with Windows 11 Build 26002, Explorer will crash or the Windows 11 taskbar will load when attempting to make the Windows 10 taskbar appear.

Microsoft wants you to move on from the Windows 10 taskbar, or at least that's what the company's latest actions suggest. Windows 11 Build 26002 recently shipped to Insiders in the Canary Channel. Starting with that update, Windows 11 will prevent you from showing the Windows 10 taskbar, even if you use a third-party application like StartAllBack or ExplorerPatcher.

PhantomOcean3 explained on X (formerly Twitter) how the hidden feature works. The feature, called, DisableWin10Taskbar simply stops the Windows 10 taskbar from appearing at all. Attempting to show the Windows 10 taskbar either makes Explorer crash or shows the Windows 11 taskbar.

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The fact that the Windows 10 taskbar is hidden within Windows 11 at all is a little strange, though not too surprising. Windows 11 has a long list of legacy components and lines of code dating back decades. When I spoke with Uno Platform about porting the Windows calculator to Android, they confirmed that the Windows calculator has code from the 1990s.

Earlier this year, a bug in Windows 11 caused some customization apps to break. Microsoft has since fixed that bug, but it appears the company wants to close the door on the Windows 10 taskbar.

If you really want to customize the look of Windows 11, you should look at Start11 from Stardock. I recently interviewed Stardock's Brad Wardell about a broad range of topics, including how the company uses AI to generate voices in Galactic Civilization IV: Supernova. During our talk, Wardell explained that Stardock is immune from many changes to Windows 11 that affect customization apps. Since Start11 doesn't use the Windows 10 taskbar, it's not affected by the change seen in Windows 11 Build 26002.

Start11 | $6.99 at Stardock

Start11 | $6.99 at Stardock

Start11 is a piece of customization software that lets you pick how the Start menu looks on Windows 11 or Windows 10. It recently added three new styles and several other improvements.

Sean Endicott
News Writer and apps editor

Sean Endicott brings nearly a decade of experience covering Microsoft and Windows news to Windows Central. He joined our team in 2017 as an app reviewer and now heads up our day-to-day news coverage. If you have a news tip or an app to review, hit him up at sean.endicott@futurenet.com.

  • GraniteStateColin
    My sole remaining serious complaint with the Windows 11 Start/Taskbar experience is the missing Jump Lists for anything pinned to Start. Ironically, Jump Lists work in the All Items part of start, but not for the apps you have pinned for quick access. So you can get your quick access to documents (via Jump Lists) only for apps you have said you don't to access quickly (those in All Items, but not those that are pinned).

    MS has added back or provided sufficient alternatives for everything else from Windows 10 and older, except for the missing Jump Lists. This still costs me a few minutes of wasted time every day.
    Reply