Is it possible to ungroup taskbar icons on Windows 11 operating system? Unfortunately, there is no user configurable setting on Windows 11 operating system that will allow the taskbar icons to be ungrouped. User feedback has been clamoring for Microsoft to allow the discretion to ungroup taskbar icons on Windows 11. As of November 2021 and 22000.504 build, the taskbar icons on Windows 11 cannot be ungrouped.
What does grouping of taskbar icons means?
Taskbar icons have been grouped by Microsoft in Windows 11. Grouped icons can be seen in the form of a common icon for the wifi icon, battery indicator and the speaker icon. Making simple modifications on the go take a higher number of clicks now. For instance, if you were to mute the speaker on a Windows 10 computer, it will take you a single click. Doing a similar operation on Windows 11 will take a couple of clicks. One to open the shared or grouped icon set, and the other to mute the speaker.
On a similar note, you could choose to disconnect from a WIFI network in a single mouse click on Windows 10. But, on Windows 11 based computers, this simple exercise will take you a couple of clicks. From a user perspective, simple operations take more clicks to accomplish the tasks. User feedback has been shared with Microsoft by a countless number of people. For sure, Microsoft is aware of the change, and it is also aware of the user opinion about this change.
From a neutral point of view, the grouping of taskbar icons seems to be related to performance gains that Windows 11 aspires to gain. Memory address space conservation could be one of the reasons behind the altered setup of the taskbar. But, internal working details of the operating system can be known by the development team of Microsoft. So, we will leave the speculation at rest.
For now, it is clear that the grouping of taskbar icons is an option that should be left to the Windows 11 users. User discretion should not be taken away, and we hope that the Microsoft development team and the user experience team do take a note of it. Performance without user perception and experience may not yield the desired benefits for Microsoft.
Can I ungroup taskbar icons?
We offer a couple of third party options that will allow you to ungroup taskbar icons on Windows 11 computer. Both apps have a decent feedback from the user community. And, both apps work as promised and resolve the taskbar issues without problem.
Within the operating system of Windows 11, you cannot ungroup taskbar icons. However, there is a third party software patch that may help you in ungrouping the taskbar icons. Explorer Patch is available for free on the GitHub website. It offers you an ability to ungroup taskbar icons. For people who believe in productivity loss due to the recent changes on Windows 11 taskbar, Explorer Patch provides the necessary workaround. Consider this as a stop gap arrangement though, because we believe that the user discretion for ungrouping taskbar icons will be restored by Microsoft in one of the updates.
You can download the Explorer Patch from the GitHub page. Explorer patch is an executable file. Once downloaded, you will need to execute the file with administrative privileges. Post installation of the executable file, you will get an option to restore the taskbar to Windows 10. Restoring the taskbar to Windows 10 type taskbar will allow you to ungroup taskbar icons and treat it just like individual icons on the taskbar.
We would like to state a simple caveat though. Installing third party scripts or apps for achieving basic functionality on Windows 11 may lead to unforeseen complications. Some of these may include an inability to apply updates on the computer and even a degraded system performance. Windows 11 is a new operating system. Third party scripts and their impact on the new operating system stack is untested and the effects are unpredictable, at best. So, if you can live with that additional click to mute the speaker or disable the WIFI network, live with it until Microsoft has resolved the issue through one of the feature updates.
StartAllBack is another third party app that will allow you to ungroup taskbar icons. It is a paid alternative app that seeks to offer modified Start menu and considerable options for the customization on taskbar. You can ungroup the taskbar icons with StartAllBack on Windows 11. The third party app costs $4.99 at the time of writing this. Beyond ungrouping taskbar icons, you can also change the Start menu on Windows 11 computer to the Windows 10 style of start menu.
StartAllBack is used by quite a few people, and it has a positive feedback for the impact it makes on productivity gains.
Once again, I will mention that choose any third party app with a bit of alarming curiosity. And, if possible, try to stay with the standard Windows 11 features.
Taskbar icons cannot be ungrouped on Windows 11. Third party apps allow you to ungroup the taskbar icons. We believe that Microsoft will, eventually, fix the taskbar on Windows 11. This includes the ability to ungroup taskbar icons.
You may also like to read the following related content for Windows 11:
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- Restore Windows 11 taskbar and Start to Windows 10 type
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- Windows 11 compatibility check with WhyNotWin11
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Helen is a geeky nerd who seeks to find and fix tech gaps in the latest gadgets. She is always on the lookout for resolving technical queries of users, and is an avid writer on technical subjects.