Microsoft’s Windows 11 is supposed to support all kinds of personal computers, including desktops, laptops, hybrids, and tablets. In an effort to provide a better experience on tablets, Microsoft introduced its new taskbar this week that automatically folds down to save screen space. Additionally, the company has introduced a revised Widgets board which brings together widgets and news feeds.
Tablets and 2-in-1s tend to have smaller screens than laptops, so saving space on the previous screen when working in tablet mode is crucial for a good experience and efficient work. Meanwhile, when working with multiple windows in laptop mode, you want to have as many control options as possible. With Windows 11 Insider Preview build 22563, Microsoft introduces its tablet-optimized taskbar that has two states: minimized and expanded.
Collapsed state is essentially the absence of a taskbar: instead, the operating system only shows a thin line with critical status icons and a lever that brings back the full taskbar. This mode activates automatically when the system is used as a tablet (for example, the keyboard is disconnected or folded). The extended state is essentially a full touch-optimized taskbar. The tablet-optimized taskbar is currently only available on certain systems.
“We’re starting to roll out this feature, so it’s not available to all Insiders just yet, as we plan to monitor feedback and see how it lands before rolling it out to everyone,” a Microsoft statement read.
With its tablet-optimized taskbar, Microsoft essentially takes a page from Apple’s iPadOS that also removes the taskbar when one of the apps goes full-screen. While this saves screen space, it also makes switching between programs more difficult, even when used with a hardware keyboard in laptop mode.
Originally introduced with Windows Vista, widgets are very popular on traditional PCs (i.e. desktops and laptops) because they allow you to have a quick overview of multiple data sources. information without having to navigate through multiple windows. Perhaps widgets are even more useful in tablet mode for the same reason.
The new Insider Preview introduces a revised Widgets board that brings together widgets and news feeds as a dynamic mixed feed containing both widgets and news content, which again mimics the iPadOS approach of ‘Apple when it comes to widgets, but Microsoft seems to use screen real estate much more efficiently.
No more Windows Update pop-ups for groups
One of the annoying things about Windows are Windows Update notifications which tend to pop up at inconvenient times. With Windows 11 Insider Preview build 22563, it is now possible for education administrators to enforce a new group policy that prevents Windows Update notifications from appearing during class.
Windows 11 Insider Preview build 22563 brings a number of other changes, including a revamped Quick Access app that can now search not only Local System, but also One Drive; Windows Edge tabs for frequently used windows; new emoji characters and some other improvements.