How to customize Taskbar on Windows 11

Here are seven easy ways to personalize the Taskbar experience on Windows 11.

Windows 11 Taskbar customization
Windows 11 Taskbar customization
  • To customize the Taskbar on Windows 11, right-click the “Taskbar” and select “Taskbar settings,” change the settings for “Taskbar items,” “System tray icons,” “Other system tray icons,” and “Taskbar behaviors.”

Windows 11 has a new Taskbar experience, which may look similar to the one on Windows 10, but it’s not as functional anymore. For starters, items are now aligned to the center instead of the left, and the search box has been replaced with a button. 

Also, the Taskbar is now locked permanently at the bottom, and you cannot place it on either side of the screen or on top. The experience only supports the button view, and showing apps with labels is no longer an option. In addition, you can not make the icons smaller or bigger, nor can you adjust the experience’s height.

Furthermore, you can no longer drag and drop files on top of the running app to open the file in a specific app. You can’t hide the time and date or any of the system icons, and it’s no longer possible to show the clock in all the Taskbars across multiple monitors.

However, despite the limitations, it’s still possible to customize various aspects of the experience. You can change the icon’s alignment, decide which apps appear in the Taskbar, change the system tray’s appearance, tweak the settings on multi-monitor setups, and more.

In this guide, you will learn the best customization options to get the most out of the Taskbar on Windows 11.

Customize Taskbar on Windows 11

On Windows 11, you can customize various aspects of the Taskbar. For example, you change the alignment of the items, remove system items, and turn off notifications. You can also configure the experience to hide the Taskbar automatically when it’s not in focus. It’s possible to show seconds to the System Tray. You can pin your favorite apps and more. Here’s how.

1. Change Taskbar alignment to the left

To move the Taskbar icons and Start button to the left, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings on Windows 11.

  2. Click on Personalization.

  3. Click the Taskbar page on the right side.

  4. Click the “Taskbar behaviors” setting.

  5. Use the “Taskbar alignment” setting and select the Left option.

    Windows 11 Taskbar left alignment

Once you complete the steps, the Start button and other icons will align to the left, like in previous versions of Windows.

2. Remove apps from Taskbar

Windows 11 comes with four new apps in the Taskbar, including Search, Task View, Widgets, and Chat, and if you don’t use these features,  you can quickly remove them to make more space for other apps.

To remove apps from the Taskbar, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.

  2. Click on Personalization.

  3. Click the Taskbar page on the right side.

  4. Click the Taskbar items setting.

  5. Choose the Hide option for the “Search” setting.

  6. Turn off the toggle switch for the items (Task View, Widgets, or Chat).

    Taskbar remove items

After you complete the steps, the Taskbar will only show the items you need. However, the features won’t be disabled. You can still access the Search from the Start menu or using the “Windows key + S” keyboard shortcut. Task View is always accessible using the “Windows key + Tab” keyboard shortcut. You can continue to open Widgets with the “Windows key + W” shortcut and “Windows key + C” to open the Chat app (Microsoft plans to remove Chat with the Teams apps).

3. Customize System Tray

You can also customize various aspects of the system tray (bottom-right corner), including what app icons appear in this section and which should stay hidden in the corner overflow. You can also disable the show desktop button.

To customize the System Tray on Windows 11, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.

  2. Click on Personalization.

  3. Click the Taskbar page on the right side.

  4. Click the “Taskbar corner overflow” setting.

  5. Turn off the toggle switch for the items to hide in the corner overflow.

    Taskbar corner overflow

  6. (Optional) Turn on the “Hidden icon menu” toggle switch to disable the overflow menu in the System Tray.

    Quick note: When disabling this option, only the icons you turn on will appear in the Taskbar.
  7. Click the “Taskbar behaviors” setting.

  8. Clear the “Select the far corner of the taskbar to show the desktop” option to disable the option to show or hide the desktop (“Windows key + D” keyboard shortcut).

    Taskbar disable show desktop button

  9. (Optional) Click the “System tray icons” setting.

  10. Choose the icon for the touch-enabled devices feature you want to appear in the Taskbar, including the “Pen menu,” “Touch keyboard,” and “Virtual touchpad.”

    System Tracy icons for touch

Once you complete the steps, the system tray will reflect your customization changes.

4. Automatically hide Taskbar

To hide the Taskbar automatically when not in focus, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.

  2. Click on Personalization.

  3. Click the Taskbar page on the right side.

  4. Click the “Taskbar behaviors” setting.

  5. Check the “Automatically hide the taskbar” option.

    Taskbar auto hide option

After you complete the steps, the Taskbar will hide automatically as soon as you move the mouse pointer away from it. You can always move the mouse pointer to the bottom of the screen to show the Taskbar again.

5. Disable app badges in Taskbar

Windows 11 can also show the number of unread messages for specific apps, but if the feature isn’t for you, there’s an option to disable it.

To stop seeing badges for unseen messages in the Windows 11 Taskbar, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.

  2. Click on Personalization.

  3. Click the Taskbar page on the right side.

  4. Click the “Taskbar behaviors” setting.

  5. Clear the “Show badges on taskbar apps” option.

    Taskbar disable badge counter

Once you complete the steps, apps in the Taskbar will no longer show badge counters for unread messages.

6. Disable app flashing in Taskbar

When an app requires your attention, the icon in the Taskbar will start flashing. If you don’t find this feature useful, it’s possible to disable it.

To stop apps flashing in the Taskbar, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.

  2. Click on Personalization.

  3. Click the Taskbar page on the right side.

  4. Click the “Taskbar behaviors” setting.

  5. Clear the “Show flashing on taskbar apps” option.

    Disable flashing on taskbar apps

After you complete the steps, apps in the Taskbar will no longer flash when attention is required.

7. Show Taskbar on all monitors

Although the Taskbar is not as customizable as in previous versions when it comes to multiple displays, you can still decide how the Taskbar should appear across monitors.

To show the taskbar on all the displays, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.

  2. Click on Personalization.

  3. Click the Taskbar page on the right side.

  4. Click the “Taskbar behaviors” setting.

  5. Check the “Show my taskbar on all taskbar” option.

    Taskbar multi-monitor settings

  6. (Optional) Use the “When using multiple displays, show my taskbar apps on” setting to decide how the Taskbar should appear on a multi-monitor setup. You can choose All taskbar,” “Main taskbar and taskbar where window is open,” or Taskbar where window is open.”

After you complete the steps, the Windows 11 Taskbar will appear across monitors according to your configuration.

8. Show seconds in System Tray clock

Windows 11 can also show seconds in the System Tray clock, but it’s important to note that this feature consumes more power, which could slightly affect battery life.

To add seconds to the System Tray clock on Windows 11, use these steps:

  1. Open Settings.

  2. Click on Personalization.

  3. Click the Taskbar page on the right side.

  4. Click the “Taskbar behaviors” setting.

  5. Check the “Show seconds in system tray clock” option.

    Show seconds in system tray clock

Once you complete the steps, the system clock will show seconds in the Taskbar.

9. Pin apps to Taskbar

To pin apps on the Taskbar on Windows 11, use these steps:

  1. Open Start.

  2. Search for an app to pin.

  3. Right-click the app and select the “Pin to taskbar” option.

    Taskbar pin app

Usually, you would search for the app to pin to the Taskbar, but you can technically right-click any app in the “Pinned,” “Recommended,” or “All apps” list to find the option.

If the app is running, right-click the app in the Taskbar and select the “Pin to taskbar” option.

Taskbar right-click pin option

If the icon is on the desktop, you can also right-click the items, select “Show more options,” and select the “Pin to taskbar” option to make it permanently available in the Taskbar.

Taskbar pin app from desktop

If you want to remove the app, right-click the app and select the “Unpin from taskbar” option.

In addition to these customization settings, it’s also possible to move the Taskbar to the top of the screen, or you can change the Taskbar size to make it bigger or smaller.

About the author

Mauro Huculak is a Windows How-To Expert who started Pureinfotech in 2010 as an independent online publication. He has also been a Windows Central contributor for nearly a decade. Mauro has over 14 years of experience writing comprehensive guides and creating professional videos about Windows and software, including Android and Linux. Before becoming a technology writer, he was an IT administrator for seven years. In total, Mauro has over 20 years of combined experience in technology. Throughout his career, he achieved different professional certifications from Microsoft (MSCA), Cisco (CCNP), VMware (VCP), and CompTIA (A+ and Network+), and he has been recognized as a Microsoft MVP for many years. You can follow him on X (Twitter), YouTube, LinkedIn and About.me. Email him at [email protected].