Microsoft is finally updating Window 11's taskbar — along with other handy features

Microsoft Surface Laptop Studio
(Image credit: Laptop Mag/Phillip Tracy)

Windows 11 is set to receive a bundle of new features thanks to a sneak peek at a recent Insider Preview Build, including a reintroduction of taskbar overflow, improved nearby sharing to rival Apple's AirDrop, and easily sharing local files to OneDrive.

Now available in the Dev Channel, the Windows 11 Insider Preview Build 25163 showcases a new taskbar experience that power users will appreciate. If there are too many apps taking up space on the taskbar, Windows will automatically transition into an "overflow state" showing a three-dot menu containing overflowed apps. Clicking on it allows users to view all the apps that are currently active, which makes everything feel a bit more organized. 

(Image credit: Microsoft)

The overflow menu will still have the usual taskbar behaviors, such as supporting pinned apps, jump list, and extended UI. What's more, it can easily be dismissed if users click outside of it or start using another app.

It's a welcome update, but since it's a feature in the Insider Preview Build, it isn't certain if it will be released to general users. Still, with the big Sun Valley 2 update expected to arrive this fall, there's reason to believe it will arrive then.

That's not the only update, as Windows 11 also made improvements to nearby sharing. The built-in Windows share window uses user datagram protocol (UDP) and Bluetooth to discover nearby devices, allowing users to discover and share to more devices including desktop PCs.

(Image credit: Microsoft)

Users can also choose OneDrive as a target to directly upload a file to OneDrive and share it further along with access control options — all using the built-in Windows share window. It can also be done by sharing local files in File Explorer without any context switches or opening the OneDrive app.

There are also a bunch of fixes in the Preview Build, from an explorer.exe crash when dragging tabs around to closed tabs appearing again in File Explorer.

Many updates seen in the Preview Build may be tweaked before making it to the general public, and we're sure to see a few more when Sun Valley 2 arrives. Apparently, it may not be too much longer before we see Windows 12, which may arrive in 2024 thanks to Microsoft's renewed update schedule

Darragh Murphy

Darragh Murphy is fascinated by all things bizarre, which usually leads to assorted coverage varying from washing machines designed for AirPods to the mischievous world of cyberattacks. Whether it's connecting Scar from The Lion King to two-factor authentication or turning his love for gadgets into a fabricated rap battle from 8 Mile, he believes there’s always a quirky spin to be made. With a Master’s degree in Magazine Journalism from The University of Sheffield, along with short stints at Kerrang! and Exposed Magazine, Darragh started his career writing about the tech industry at Time Out Dubai and ShortList Dubai, covering everything from the latest iPhone models and Huawei laptops to massive Esports events in the Middle East. Now, he can be found proudly diving into gaming, gadgets, and letting readers know the joys of docking stations for Laptop Mag.