Windows 11 tablet users get their special taskbar back

Tablet User

The revenge of the tablet taskbar? Microsoft has released a new version of the preview in the Dev channel in the form of Windows 11 build 25197, and it brings back a buggy little feature.

One that the company had to remove after its initial introduction.

Yes, we are talking about that tablet optimized taskbar that Redmond hyped up in build 22581 back in March. The feature actually first saw daylight in February with build 22563, but the company ultimately ended up removing it in April due to issues that users reported.

Mostly to do with the inability to personalize the taskbar, move icons and all that.

But with build 25197, the software titan is reintroducing the what it calls the touch-optimized taskbar that is designed to make you feel more confident and comfortable when using your Windows device as a tablet.

The OS will automatically transition to this optimized version when you disconnect or fold back the keyboard on your 2-in-1 device.

Build 25197 Tablet Taskbar

The image above shows the two states of this taskbar — collapsed and expanded.

In the collapsed state, the taskbar provides you more screen space by getting out of the way. At the same time, it prevents you from accidentally invoking it while you are holding your tablet. In the expanded state, the taskbar is optimized to be easier to use via touch.

It is possible to easily switch between the two states by swiping up and down on the bottom of your device. And as expected, this feature only works on devices that can be used as tablets. It does not work on laptops or desktop PCs.

If you enable this feature, you will see a new setting at Settings > Personalization > Taskbar > Taskbar behaviors called “Optimize taskbar for touch interactions when this device is used as a tablet”.

Not a fan of these long names, but what can you do!

As with most new (and in this case, returning) features, Microsoft has just started the rollout. What this means is that this new option will not be available to all Insiders right away. But it will be pushed to everyone in due time after testing and monitoring the feedback.