Windows 11 finally gets a ‘never combine taskbar buttons’ mode

Microsoft has released a new Windows 11 development build that adds a long-awaited feature that allows users to ensure that all windows are displayed as individual items on the taskbar.

The option, known as “Never Shared Mode,” is rolling out with Windows 11 Insider Preview Build build 23466 to the restarted Dev Channel Flighting Series 23000.

“We’re excited to bring you an early release of one of the most requested features of Windows 11, which has never been integrated,” said Microsoft’s Amanda Langowski and Brandon LeBlanc.

In never combined mode, you’ll be able to see each window of your apps on the taskbar individually, along with their corresponding labels.

Redmond says the feature is still in early development, but it will allow users to set the taskbar to display individually categorized app icons.

The new unbundled mode is rolling out to Windows Insider users in the Dev channel, so it may take a while to get to all registered devices.

Once available, you can enable the feature by going to Settings > Personalization > Taskbar > Taskbar Behaviors and setting “Merge taskbar buttons and hide labels” to Never.

Microsoft also introduced a new setting called “Merge taskbar buttons and hide labels on other taskbars” that allows you to configure whether buttons should be merged into other displays.

Taskbar ungroup settings (BleepingComputer)
Grouped and ungrouped taskbar items (BleepingComputer)

According to an entry in the Microsoft Feedback Center, the option to never merge app icons into the taskbar was one of the most requested Windows 11 features, with over 17,000 upvotes and over 2,100 comments.

Another reason not to upgrade away

Many Windows 10 users, including some of us at BleepingComputer, have refused to upgrade to Windows 11 due to the lack of this feature.

Other Windows users seem to have the same concerns based on feedback on the Windows 11 Feedback Hub regarding this missing feature.

“I know my company won’t upgrade to Windows 11 until this feature is added again,” said a Windows customer before Microsoft announced the feature’s re-adding.

“Oh my God! It’s been so long since I’ve been anxiously waiting for a Windows patch. But today is that day… finally”, another added after this preview build was released.

This week’s Dev Preview also added a new Dev Drive feature shipped with Windows 11 22H2 “Moment 3” update, a ReFS storage volume designed to improve the performance of developer workloads.

Microsoft is also testing additional Windows 11 backup and restore capabilities to make it easier to transfer your most important apps and files when you switch PCs via a new Windows Backup app.

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