The taskbar in Windows 11 has undergone some significant changes compared to previous Windows versions. Most notably, Microsoft has moved the taskbar icons including the Start button to the center and removed the ability to move the taskbar to other edges of the screen.
If you prefer having the taskbar on the left, right, or top, here are some methods to reposition the taskbar icons in Windows 11.
Table of Contents
Reposition Taskbar Icons to the Left or Right
You can align the taskbar icons to the left or right using the built-in settings:
- Right-click on an empty area of the taskbar and select Taskbar Settings.
- Under Taskbar behaviors, click on Taskbar alignment.
- Choose Left or Right from the dropdown menu.
- Click Apply. This will move all the system tray icons and pinned app icons to the preferred side.
Pro Tip: Use keyboard shortcuts Windows + Ctrl + Left arrow or Windows + Ctrl + Right arrow to quickly change the taskbar alignment.
Move the Taskbar to the Top of the Screen
Unlike Windows 10, you cannot drag and dock the Windows 11 taskbar along the edges of the desktop. However, it is possible to move it to the top by editing the Registry (use caution when editing the Registry):
- Press Windows + R to open the Run command box.
regeditand press Enter to launch Registry Editor.
- Navigate to
- Double click on the Settings binary value on the right pane.
- In the Edit Binary Value dialog, change the hexadecimal code
03in the second row to
01and click OK.
- Close Registry Editor and restart the File Explorer process from Task Manager.
This will now display the taskbar at the top of your desktop.
Customize Pinned Icons
You can customize pinned icons on the Windows 11 taskbar to launch only your preferred apps:
- To pin a new app, open the app first and then right-click its icon on the taskbar and select Pin to taskbar.
- To unpin an existing icon, right-click on it and choose Unpin from taskbar.
- Use drag & drop to rearrange the order of pinned app icons on the taskbar.
Additionally, you can hide some of the default system icons like Search, Widgets, or Chat if you don’t need quick access to those. This helps declutter the taskbar and focus it around your productive apps.
Resize Taskbar Icons
By default, the taskbar icon size in Windows 11 is set to medium. You can make them smaller or larger:
- Right-click the taskbar and select Taskbar settings.
- Scroll down and click on Taskbar behaviors.
- Under the Taskbar alignment section, adjust the slider under Taskbar icon size as per your preference.
- Click Apply.
Setting a smaller icon size is useful when you have pinned many apps to the taskbar.
Auto-Hide the Taskbar
You can set the taskbar to auto-hide when not in use. It will slide out of view and only appear when you hover the mouse pointer over the bottom edge of the screen.
To enable this feature:
- Right-click an empty area of the taskbar and choose Taskbar settings.
- Turn on the toggle for Automatically hide the taskbar in desktop mode under Taskbar behaviors.
The taskbar will now automatically hide itself and free up space on your desktop.
Use Third-Party Tools for Further Customization
While Windows 11 offers basic taskbar customization features, advanced users may be left wanting more flexibility. This is where third-party tools can help enhance the taskbar functionality:
- ExplorerPatcher – Adds ability to move taskbar anywhere, customize Start menu layouts, and boots straight to desktop.
- StartAllBack – Brings back the Windows 10 Start menu while letting you customize the taskbar as well. Has a free trial.
- Start11 – Similar to StartAllBack, with a customizable Start menu and enhanced taskbar options.
Be sure to evaluate different software to find the one that best matches your needs for taskbar modifications. Some may offer better customizations but have a learning curve.
The Windows 11 taskbar is different than previous versions, with its centered alignment and fewer native personalization capabilities. However, by using the built-in settings as well as the Registry hacks covered in this guide, you can reposition, resize, hide the taskbar and pin your preferred app icons for efficiency.
For maximum flexibility over the taskbar UI and functions beyond what Windows 11 allows, third-party tools like StartAllBack or ExplorerPatcher are worth checking out.
Hopefully these tips will help you tailor the Windows 11 taskbar layout to boost your productivity and enjoyment of the OS. Let me know in the comments if you have any other customization questions!