How to Customize Your Windows 11 Taskbar

Move taskbar icons to the left, pin your own programs, hide Widgets and Search, and more ways to change the Windows 11 taskbar

What to Know

  • Most of the available options are in Settings > Personalization > Taskbar. Others are in the registry.
  • Customizations include left-aligning the icons and hiding the Widgets button.

This article explains how to customize your Windows 11 taskbar to adjust where the icons are positioned, change how big the taskbar buttons are, and more.

Move Start Button & Icons to the Left

Windows 11 is the first version of Windows that places the Start menu and other icons in the center of the taskbar instead of the left. But it doesn't have to stay that way.

This is a super easy change that you can make through Settings > Personalization > Taskbar > Taskbar behaviors.

The setting to change Windows 11 taskbar to left alignment.

Change Pinned Icons

The Start button is the only thing that has to exist on the taskbar. Everything else can be modified, meaning you can drag icons to rearrange them, hide Widgets and other default icons, and pin new icons to the taskbar.

How to Hide Default Taskbar Icons

Follow these steps to hide any of the following taskbar buttons: Search, Task view, Widgets, or Chat.

  1. Open Settings.

    You can do this from the Power User Menu (right-click the Start button) or through a search for Settings.

  2. Select Taskbar.

  3. From the Taskbar items section at the top, select the toggle button next to any button you want to hide, like Task view or Chat.

    The Show/Hide settings for Windows 11 Taskbar buttons.

How to Pin Programs to the Taskbar

You can add items to the Windows 11 taskbar for quick access to your favorite apps. But unlike older Windows versions, you can't drag and drop items to the taskbar to pin them.

Instead, there are a few other ways to do it:

  • Open the program, right-click its button in the taskbar, and select Pin to taskbar.
  • Find the program in the Start menu, right-click it, and choose Pin to taskbar.
  • Locate the program shortcut in File Explorer (like on the desktop), right-click it, and go to Show more options > Pin to taskbar.
The Windows 11 Pin to taskbar setting.

To unpin a non-default taskbar item, right-click it and select Unpin from taskbar.

Auto-Hide the Taskbar

Windows 11 lets you hide the taskbar when you don't need it. It'll remain collapsed into the bottom of the screen until you focus on it with the mouse or trigger it open with the Windows key.

This option is called Automatically hide the taskbar. It's accessible in the taskbar settings.

The Autohide settings of the Windows 11 Taskbar.

Change the Taskbar Size & Color

The size of the whole taskbar can be changed, but, unfortunately, there isn't a regular, click-here-to-change option in Settings to do it. Instead, you need to go into the Windows Registry to make the change.

The taskbar color, on the other hand, is much easier to change:

  1. Open Settings, and select Personalization from the left panel.

  2. Choose Colors from the right.

  3. Select Custom from the menu next to Choose your mode.

  4. Select Dark from the menu next to Choose your default Windows mode.

    The Dark Windows default mode setting in Windows 11.
  5. Scroll down and toggle Show accent color on Start and taskbar on.

  6. Pick a color from the Accent color area.

    The Windows 11 accent color options.

Show or Hide System Tray Icons

System tray icons are located by the clock on the far right side of the taskbar. You can edit this part of the taskbar if there are items visible down there that you'd rather not see, or if some icons are hidden that you do want quick access to.

There are two ways:

  • Drag-and-drop icons in and out of the overflow menu.
  • Go to Settings > Personalization > Taskbar. Expand Other system tray icons, and select the button next to any item to toggle its visibility on or off.
The System tray icon toggles for the Windows 11 taskbar.

You can't hide the network or volume icon in Windows 11.

Something else you can do related to these taskbar icons is force them to always show, but the option to do that isn't available in Settings. Instead, open the Run dialog box (Win+R), enter the below command, and check the box next to Always show all icons and notifications on the taskbar.

The notification area icons settings for Windows 11.

Disable 'Show Desktop' Button

This is a small button at the very far right side of the taskbar called Show desktop. If you've ever clicked it by accident, and all your open windows minimized, you might find it more of an inconvenience than a helpful feature.

Fortunately, it's super easy to disable:

  1. Open the taskbar settings by right-clicking an empty area of the taskbar, and choosing Taskbar settings.

  2. Expand Taskbar behaviors at the bottom of the page.

  3. Uncheck the box next to Select the far corner of the taskbar to show the desktop.

    The Windows 11 Taskbar behavior settings.

Combine Taskbar Buttons

You can disable taskbar button grouping in Windows, but only up through Windows 10, since there aren't any settings within Windows 11 that let you do this. Instead, you can ungroup taskbar icons with a third-party program.

StartAllBack is one such program that includes this option. To ungroup taskbar buttons in Windows 11 with this program, open its Taskbar menu and change the Combine taskbar buttons option to Never. The change will take effect immediately.

Startallback taskbar configuration for Windows 11.

This program has tons of other customizations you can apply to Windows 11. For example, you can move the taskbar to the top or side of the screen, make the icons extra large, and customize Start menu items.

  • How do I add weather to the taskbar in Windows 11?

    Weather is one of several Widgets you can add to the Windows 11 desktop. To add it, press Win + W to open the Widgets window, and then click the plus sign next to the weather one to add it.

  • How do I remove Widgets from the taskbar in Windows 11?

    You can remove Widgets by first opening the Widgets window (Win + W), and then clicking the X next to the one you want to remove. This option is different from hiding the Widgets button in the taskbar, which you do through Settings.

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