How to restore classic Taskbar on Windows 11

This is the best alternative for those who want to use the Taskbar from the top of the screen on Windows 11.

Windows 11 22H2 Taskbar (top)
Windows 11 22H2 Taskbar (top)
  • To restore the Windows 11 classic Taskbar, open ExplorerPatcher and select “Windows 10” for the “Taskbar style” setting.
  • Then, use the “Start button style” setting and choose the “Windows 11″ option.
  • Finally, use the “Start menu style” setting and select the “Windows 11” option.

UPDATED 7/19/2023: On Windows 11 22H2, it’s still possible to move the Taskbar to the top of the screen (or to the left or right side), but you will need to use a third-party tool, in this case, ExplorerPatcher.

When the new operating system version became available, it introduced a redesigned Taskbar that brought new visuals but removed many of the legacy capabilities, including the ability to move the bar to the top or either side of the screen, hide the clock, and more.

Up until version 21H2, you could edit the Registry to move the Taskbar around the screen (top, left, right, or bottom), but after the release of the Windows 11 2022 Update, that’s no longer possible. However, you can still use third-party applications (such as ExplorerPatcher) to change the location and bring back many other functionalities.

ExplorerPatcher is a free and open-source application that restores the classic Taskbar experience. Using this app, you can move the bar to any location, enable the never combine icons, bring back the classic Taskbar context menu, and more.

This guide will teach you the steps to enable the legacy Taskbar on Windows 11 to access all the classic functionalities, including the option to move the Taskbar to the top of the screen.

Warning: This is a third-party app. Although it works, there’s always a chance of something going wrong, even more so when an app changes system behavior. Use this app at your own risk. You have been warned.

Restore classic Taskbar on Windows 11

To restore the Windows 11 classic Taskbar, use these steps:

  1. Open ExplorerPatcher GitHub page.

  2. Under the “Assets” section, click the ep_setup.exe link to download the app.

    ExplorerPatche download

  3. Confirm you want to keep the file in the web browser (if applicable).

  4. Double-click the file to install the app (applying might take a while).

  5. Right-click the Taskbar and select the Properties option.

  6. Click on Taskbar.

  7. Use the “Taskbar style” setting and select the “Windows 10” option to restore the classic Taskbar.

  8. Use the “Primary taskbar location on screen” setting and select the “Top” option to move the Taskbar to the top of the screen. (You also have the option to move it to the left or right side.)

    Taskbar move top option

  9. (Optional) Use the “Start button style” setting and select the “Windows 11” option.

  10. (Optional) Use the “Combine taskbar icons on the primary taskbar” setting and select the Always combine option.

  11. Click on Start menu.

  12. Use the “Start menu style” setting and select the “Windows 11” option.

    Windows 11 Start menu style

  13. Click the “Restart File Explorer” option in the bottom-left corner (if you don’t see the changes).

Once you complete the steps, the Taskbar will move to the top of the screen with a design similar to the one on Windows 11.

Although this is not a perfect solution, it’s perhaps one of the best (free) alternatives for those used to using the Taskbar from the top of the screen. It’s important to note that you can only change the location of the Taskbar when using the “Windows 10” style option, not the “Windows 11” option.

The ExplorerPatcher app also includes tons of settings that you can customize. For instance, you can make the Taskbar smaller or larger, change the System Tray settings, bring back the Windows 10-styled Start menu with tiles, replace the modern context menu with the classic one, and more.

Update August 24, 2023: The developer of ExplorerPatcher an updated version of the tool that fixes a bug with the Start menu after installing the latest update of Windows 11.

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 Email him at [email protected].