Microsoft is testing a taskbar that’s optimized for tablets and 2-in-1 PCs

In devices that can be converted into tablets, the taskbar has two display modes: the compact mode saves space and is limited to essential icons, while the optimized mode facilitates touch interactions.

Microsoft has just announced the arrival of Windows 11 Preview Build 25197 for Insider program testers. Posted in the Dev Channel, this build has a feature that, if retained in the final release, will be very useful for tablet and 2-in-1 PC users. As shown in the image below, the taskbar has two types of display.

© Microsoft

The compact display shows only the most important icons, such as the time, battery status, Wi-Fi reception quality and sound level. It frees up space on the screen and prevents you from accidentally pressing an icon. By raising the small horizontal central bar with your finger upwards (at the bottom of the screen in the left screenshot above), you restore the taskbar to a sufficient height (right screenshot), with icons sufficiently large for easy touch access.

Microsoft indicates that this function had already been considered, then had been removed from beta versions of the OS. It is therefore back in this build. The publisher indicates that it will only be present on devices that act as a touch pad. For tablets with keyboard, the touch screen optimized display will be automatically activated when the keyboard is removed or folded.

Microsoft also showed off a new layout for system settings, with animated icons.

The next major Windows 11 update is expected to arrive at the end of the month. The final name is not yet specified, but could simply be Windows 11 2022 Update. Microsoft could even create a surprise by announcing in the process a pack of new functions, as part of its new “moments” development cycle. The first pack could arrive as early as October and allow the publisher to offer functions that it has not had time to finalize for the 2022 update of Windows 11. Thus, the system will be able to receive new functions apart from major updates, which are now annual.

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