Taskbar to get never combine apps and show labels option on Windows 11

Microsoft plans to bring back the "never combine" option for the Taskbar to ungroup apps and show labels again.

Windows 11 Taskbar with seconds and never combine
Windows 11 Taskbar with seconds and never combine
  • Windows 11 may bring back the option to ungroup and show labels in the Taskbar.
  • The references for group mode and labels already appear on build 25314.
  • It’s unclear when this and other legacy functionalities will be available to users.

The Taskbar for Windows 11 seems to be returning the ability never to combine buttons and show all running app instances with labels. This is according to some references found on build 25314 (via @XenoPanther), the first preview of Windows 11 in the Canary Channel.

Although the ability to show running apps with labels and without grouping them has been available as part of the Taskbar experience in a previous version of the operating system, on Windows 11, the development introduced a redesigned version of the Taskbar that didn’t include many of the legacy features, including the ability never to combine buttons or show labels.

However, the software giant has been working to bring back some of the legacy features to the Taskbar, such as seconds for the clock in the System Tray, an interface optimized for touch, and quick access to Task Manager from the Taskbar context menu. And now, the company is making progress in bringing back the “Never combine” option that shows to allow showing all the app instances separately in the Taskbar instead of in a group like in older versions of Windows.

This is a functionality that was spotted in earlier builds, but now it is back in the first preview of the operating system in the Canary Channel.

In addition, according to a Tweet from @PhantomOcean3 (someone who has been uncovering many hidden features inside preview builds of Windows 11) claims that references found on build 25300 suggest that the Taskbar will also receive an option to hide the time and date from the System Tray.

While it may appear that the company initially introduced a simplified version of the Taskbar that removed many of the legacy features, it’s important to note that the new version of the operating system includes a completely rebuilt experience of the Taskbar. Since this is a complex process, bringing the same level of functionality takes a long time. However, this doesn’t necessarily mean that every legacy feature will eventually return to the Taskbar. Microsoft is expected only to bring back some of the legacy features. Other features are not likely to be part of the experience again, such as the ability to move the Taskbar to the top or side of the screen since the company has different plans for the desktop.

It’s still unclear when the new functionalities will arrive to users. However, seeing that the references are available in the Canary Channel, this and other legacy features may not come until the release of Windows 12, expected rollout in 2024.

Updated May 16, 2023: You can now use a third-party tool to enable the Show Taskbar labels feature on the latest preview of Windows 11.

About the author

Mauro Huculak is a Windows expert and the Editor-in-Chief who started Pureinfotech in 2010 as an independent online publication. He is also been a Windows Central contributor for nearly a decade. Mauro has over 12 years of experience writing comprehensive guides and creating professional videos about Windows, software, and related technologies, 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.