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Windows 11's tablet-friendly taskbar pulled from Insider builds

If only Microsoft listened to feedback before the release of Windows 8

Microsoft has pulled the "tablet-optimized" taskbar from Windows Insider builds, citing "feedback" as the cause.

Few will forget how the company made major OS tweaks for the sake of tablet users in Windows 8, no matter how much Microsoft might wish they did. The company has since gradually distanced itself from such exploits, despite producing what is ostensibly a tablet with the Surface Pro line of devices.

With Windows 11, Microsoft appeared to be looking more favorably on tablets.

The (recently killed) expanded taskbar was rolled out in late February 2022, at the time hailed as "specifically designed to make you feel more confident and comfortable using your device as a tablet."

This took the form of Windows noting when the keyboard was pulled from a 2-in-1 device. The taskbar could then either be collapsed to make more space on the desktop or swiped up to be expanded and easier to prod, with a thickening up of the taskbar along with some added (large) icons of frequently used programs for the fat of finger.

The company asked for feedback on the feature from those Insiders lucky enough to get it and... it looks like "tablet optimization" is on the back burner for now. Just because something shows up in the Beta or Dev Windows Insider channels doesn't mean it will ever see the light of day.

If only Microsoft similarly listened to feedback back when it sought to push a touch-first operating system at customers.

As well as the departure – for now – of the tablet-friendly taskbar, build 22610 also removed the build watermark from the desktop. This is a hint that Microsoft might be nearing the finish line for the next version of Windows 11, although the team insisted "this doesn't mean we're done."

Also based on feedback is the return of TKIP and WEP connections, no longer allowed in build 22557. Both are deprecated security standards as far as Microsoft is concerned so their reprieve is only temporary. Removal is promised in a later release.

Finally, among a raft of tweaks and updates, there are new mobile device management and group policies for administrators, battery indicator fixes, and changes to task manager that will make the app pay attention to a user's accent colors. ®

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