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What's new in the Taskbar for Windows 10 Anniversary Update

The Anniversary Update for Windows 10 isn't just another regular update. It's a major release that Microsoft is making available for PC, mobile, and Xbox. The new version brings a ton of significant improvements and some new features aiming to make the operating system more secure and energy efficient, as well as making you more productive, and some of these new changes are also happening in the Taskbar.

While the iconic Taskbar that you know and love remains with the same design, on Windows 10 version 1607, Microsoft is introducing a number of improvements, moving settings around, and adding new features.

Here's what's new in the Taskbar for the Anniversary Update of Windows 10.

Taskbar customization options

The Taskbar is perhaps the single most used feature in Windows. It's the feature that sits at the bottom of the screen where you can easily pin and view your running apps. It is also the feature that requires the least configuration, but in the rare case you have to customize it, you have known for years that right-clicking an empty space in the Taskbar and clicking Properties will open the Taskbar settings.

However, on the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, Microsoft is retiring the "Taskbar and Start Menu Properties" page, and it's moving all the customization options to the Settings app. Now when you right-click the Taskbar you won't see Properties anymore, instead you'll have to click Settings to open the new Taskbar settings page.

Quick Tip: Alternatively, you can access the Taskbar settings by opening Settings > Personalization > Taskbar.

In the new page, you'll find the same options as in the old Taskbar properties page, including

  • Lock the taskbar
  • Automatically hide the taskbar in desktop mode
  • Use small taskbar buttons
  • Replace Command Prompt with Windows PowerShell in the menu when I right-click the start button or press the Windows key + X
  • Taskbar location on screen
  • Combine taskbar buttons

If you need to change which app icons appear in the notification area, you can click the "Select which icons appear on the taskbar."

In the same way, when you need to customize which system icons appear in the notification area, you can click the "Turn system icons on or off."

For multiple displays, you can also change the behavior of the taskbar with the "Show taskbar buttons on" and "Combine buttons on other taskbars" options.

Microsoft is not only moving the options to the Settings app, but it's also adding a few new more.

The first new option is "Automatically hide the taskbar in tablet mode", which is a new feature included in the new version that let you take full advantage of the screen real estate by removing the taskbar when running apps. When this feature is enabled, you can always swipe from the bottom up or drag the mouse to the bottom of the screen to open it back.

The second option is "Show badges on taskbar buttons". On the Windows 10 Anniversary Update, Microsoft is making a lot of changes on notifications, and one of those changes is badge for apps.

The new feature is available for Windows Store apps, and they're meant to make it easier for users to see at a glance the notification count and alerts for each app sitting in the Taskbar.

For example, on apps such as Facebook, Mail, and Outlook, you will see a badge counter with the total number of unseen notifications. On other apps, such as Alarms & Clock and Weather, you will see specific badges with more meaningful symbols depending on the notification.

Badge notifications come enabled by default with the new version of Windows 10, but you can always disable the feature from the Taskbar options in the Settings app.

Remember that it's up to developers to include the new functionality into their apps, as such at the beginning, we won't see many apps with badges.

Taskbar on the desktop

Alongside the new features to hide the Taskbar on tablet mode and badge notifications, there are a few additional improvements.

Action Center button

On the Anniversary Update, the Action Center button has received a few modifications. For example, the button has now been relocated to the farthest right corner of the screen, next to the date and time. The new Action Center button will also show a badge with the total count of notifications, and the icon will rotate displaying icons for the different apps with their corresponding number of notifications you haven't seen.

When you right-click Action Center, you'll also see a few new options, including:

  • Don't show app icons: This option stops the rotating icon for apps when new notifications arrive.
  • Don't show number of new notifications: This option is self-explanatory, but in other words, when you click the option, you will remove badge notifications from the Action Center button.

Windows Ink on the taskbar

The Windows 10 Anniversary Update introduces Windows Ink, which is a new pen support experience for devices with support for touch. The new experience also comes with the new Windows Ink Workspace, which is your central hub to start using your pen with new features, such as Sticky Notes, Sketchpad, and Screen Sketch.

On touch-enabled devices, Windows Ink Workspace comes turned on by default. You'll see this when you notice the new Windows Ink Workspace button in the notification area. If you don't have a device with touch, the new experience will be disabled by default. However, you can always right click the Taskbar and click "Show Windows Ink Workspace button" to enable the experience and use the new feature with your mouse and keyboard.

New sound options

If you have multiple audio outputs on your computer, you no longer have to dig deep into the sound settings to change the default device. Now with the Anniversary Update, you can click the volume button to see a list of all the available output devices. Then simply click the device you want as default, and you're good to go.

Taskbar calendar integration

Finally, the new update for Windows 10 brings calendar integration to the date and time flyout. Now when you click the clock button in the notification area, your daily events will also show under the calendar.

When you need to view more details about a particular entry, simply click the event to open the Calendar app.

If you need to create a new appointment, you can quickly click the plus (+) button on the top-right to create a new event in the Calendar app.

In the case, you don't like the new feature. You can always click the Hide agenda button located in the bottom right corner of the flyout.

Another related change included with the new update is the ability for the Taskbar to show the clock on all monitors.

Wrapping things up

While the Taskbar remains with the same design like in previous versions, the Anniversary Update for Windows 10 brings a lot of small tweaks and improvements, which are welcome changes to make the Taskbar more useful and better integrated with the operating system.

Do you like the new changes in the Taskbar? Let us know in the comments below.

More Windows 10 resources

For more help articles, coverage, and answers on Windows 10, you can visit the following resources:

Mauro Huculak is technical writer for WindowsCentral.com. His primary focus is to write comprehensive how-tos to help users get the most out of Windows 10 and its many related technologies. He has an IT background with professional certifications from Microsoft, Cisco, and CompTIA, and he's a recognized member of the Microsoft MVP community.

50 Comments
  • Badge notifications - how very Android 2012
  • We also had counters for notifications for Windows Phone back in 2010, just so you know.
  • It's a very welcome change for modern apps
  • Agreed... But I really want to see taskbar on windows 10 mobile... For easy multi tasking.. Just swipe right on the start screen to make vertical taskbar visible... So that you can jump to a minimised app instantly without holding the back button for multitasking screen..
  • Yeah I also think so
  • Many apps already use that gesture for different functions. And if it'd only working on the Start screen, I think it wouldn't be that useful.
  • They could do something like Asha phone's Fastlane feature. I would love to see it, even if on the start screen.
  • That's a really good idea.
  • Oh, so they shouldn't do it because android did it first?
  • Except Android didn't do it first and it's been on Windows Phone since the beginning.
  • It's shaping up to be a very nice update. I wish you could manually rearrange the clock and action center on the taskbar, though.
  • Agreed. It's got to be fairly simple functionality, and they didn't include it. I've always liked the date/time in the right most position of the taskbar, too. Microsoft, please add in the ability to drag the system icons around and reorder them? 
  • The new action center notifications are good. :)
  • The best article about the new features of the task bar.
  • The Anniversary Update is shaping up to be a wonderful refinement of Windows 10. I am feeling very excited and positive about it. I hope the update experience is smooth. :-)
  • I'll try them first and judge them later. But I don't see, at least based on the article, anything that would make me preemptively say "No. Terrible idea" 
  • Store apps don't have Jump List anymore -- that sucks -- I hope that's a bug, not a feature.
  • But they do.
  • SOUND OPTIONS YESSSSSS Posted via the Windows Central App for Android
  • Almost missed that! I've been using a third party app called Audio Switcher for years. It has always been extremely inconvenient to switch between audio outputs in Windows. Audio Switcher gives you a little icon in the system tray and you get the same functionality as this new setting will bring. Good job MS.
  • Nice
  • Nice article. Thanks
  • I'm gonna love the calendar integration! Will be extremely handy for me.
  • I didn't get"app icons rotation" for action center button.
    Now I see notification toast on the bottom (an I see which app) and than see same icon once in action center button. But where is rotation? After demo in feedback quest I'd expect that if I have unread notifications from three apps, than I will see icons of this apps in a loop after some delay, but currently - icon is displayed only once right after notification, and than just filled Action center icon and badge with notifications count.
    I'm seen bug or it is supposed to be in this way?
  • I think it's supposed to be that way. It's the same for me.
  • But... but it is useless. I can see whet app that was on big toast :( Quest examples showed loop :(
  • Are you using small icons on your taskbar?
  • No. Small taskbar buttons are turned off. I see app icon only when new notification arrives (have to check why some doesn't have toasts as before). May be this is use case, and not cycling through loop, but it is too easy to miss it then.
  • Hmm, strange. I also thought that they're rotating in a loop.
  • Please tell me "never combine" is still an option for the taskbar buttons setting. I'll revert to windows 8 if this is removed.
  • I can confirm that the option is still there. It's just been moved to the settings app.
  • thank you!
  • How about never combine, hide labels?
  • Nice, helpful article. Thanks! (But... what does this have to do with Pokemon Go?!?!?) :D
  • Lol
  • This was very informative. I definitely would have tried troubleshooting some of these with the old methods and been stumped at first glance with these new methods, so it's nice to her a preview and rundown of done things I may have overlooked. Especially glad to see that they're taking over some multi-monitor settings and hopefully getting closer to making third-party apps unneeded for multi-monitor customization.
  • Nice. The only thing I want on the taskbar now, is the Cortana / search field, even when it's set to use small icons (not just the search icon).
  • So with the actions button moving over, I wonder if we'll still have the "show desktop" option on the far right.
  • It does, look at the right sad of the bar, there is the show desktop button.
  • Ah, I see it now.  Couldn't see it on my phone before.
  • LOving all of deese changes, mon!
  • Its weird that microsoft did something similar with badge notifications back with IE 10 and only now followed it through on universal apps. You could pin websites and if they had the correct bit of markup say unread count for email it would show a number. 
  • Does this update finally allow us to hide the taskbar on the start screen (tablet mode)? Or is this still not possible?
  • Yes, you can now choose to auto hide on normal or tablet mode. For more details check out the content of the article.
  • That wasn't quite clear from the article, it mentions that the taskbar would stay hidden when apps were open (something that is already possible in the standard Win 10 version). However, the standard Win 10 version does not allow the taskbar to be hidden while you are on the start screen (no apps open). Which annoys me a lot.... Could you please confirm that the taskbar is hidden also on the start screen?
  • On tablet mode, you can now choose to hide the taskbar automatically. So, this means that when you're seeing the Start screen, you will see the taskbar as it's part of experience, but when you launch an app the taskbar will automatically hide. The behavior is designed that way, so you have access to the Start, back, Cortana, and Task View buttons. Thanks,
  • Thanks for confirming....although it means nothing has really changed. The reason the taskbar annoy me on the start screen, is because it's totally pointless. I'm already at the start screen, so why would I need a task bar with a start button? Why would I need a "back" button (you can't go further back than the start screen). Why would I need a task view button, when I can jut swipe in from the left? Only usefull item would be the search/cortana button, but those few times I actually need that they could just let me swipe up from the bottom. I find it Ironic that the only place I can't hide the taskbar, is where it's actually of no/the least use....
  • Good update
  • Can we set the number of items in Jump Lists yet, like we could in Windows 7? The current limit of 12 is absurdly tiny on a large monitor. I want to support about 30. Can we drap and drop to reorder items in Jump Lists, at least pinned items? I realize that these may not be widely used features as a percentage of total users (or I'm sure MS would not have removed them), but both were capabilities we had in Windows 7 that are painfully frustrating at least for me to be missing in Windows 10. These appear to be widely requested in Feedback so I know I'm not alone. Any chance either of them are back in the Anniversay Update, even though they're not described in the article?
  • I remember there's a shortcut for the new clock/agenda flyer. Anyone knows it?