Microsoft is adding a new feature to Windows 11’s taskbar – but it’s probably not the one you were hoping for. While many of us have hoped that drag and drop, and the ability to resize and move, would be added to Windows 11’s rather basic taskbar, instead, Microsoft is set to add a Windows 10-like search bar.
As Windows Latest reports (opens in new tab), a screenshot has appeared that shows a new ‘Search’ box
That sits on the left-hand side of the taskbar. It’s smaller than the Windows 10 search box, and better fits in with Windows 11’s overall look, but we expect it to work in pretty much the same way.
So, you could use it to search for an app or document on your computer, or for a website or term on the internet. According to Windows Latest, the search bar is being tested internally, and there’s no current indication of when we could expect to see it in Windows 11.
Analysis: Who actually wants this?
The fact that instead of addressing people’s complaints about the restricted taskbar in Windows 11, it seems Microsoft is instead messing around with unwanted new features, is frustrating for a number of reasons.
For a start, the Windows 11 taskbar lacks several features found in previous versions, such as the ability to drag and drop files onto a pinned app to open them up. You also can’t resize the taskbar, or move it to the side of your screen. These are features that people have been asking for since the launch of Windows 11.
What people haven’t been asking for, however, is a search box. The search box in Windows 10 wasn’t very popular, and many people found that it would often try to give you online results, when all you were trying to do was search for a document saved on your PC.
The fact that the search box would also push you into using Microsoft’s Bing search engine, as well as its Edge web browser, no matter what your default settings were, also didn’t go down well with people.
Adding a search box to Windows 11’s taskbar also feels unnecessary, because there’s already a search icon. Clicking that will open up Windows 11 search, alongside a search box. You can also search from Windows 11’s Start menu.
So, yet another way to search from the taskbar isn’t really necessary. It also risks cluttering up the taskbar with more unwanted icons.
Why would Microsoft add this, then? Well, for a start, remember that this is an early test, and it may never see the light of day. If it does appear, Microsoft may remove some of the other ways to search from the taskbar, which will avoid filling it up with redundant search tools.
Sadly, I also feel that this is a feature that will benefit Microsoft more than Windows 11 users. It will likely still force people to use Bing and Edge, inflating user numbers for those two Microsoft products.
This isn’t the first time Microsoft has added a feature that benefits Microsoft, not its customers, and that never works out well.