Windows 11 taskbar gets extra app space for people who can't get their act together

Windows 11 with taskbar overflow
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Insiders are now able to test out a brand new taskbar overflow feature in Windows 11 that allows users to stack app shortcuts beyond the potentially measly limits of the desktop.

A small change can make a big difference to your workflow on Windows, which is lucky because Microsoft seems intent on drip feeding actually useful Windows 11 features to us over months and years. Still, I do like the look of this taskbar overflow feature, if only because it feels like a feature that should've been in the OS all along.

If you stack too many app shortcuts along the now centre-aligned taskbar in Windows 11, the new overflow menu will show up. It even has much of the same functionality as the regular taskbar.

"The overflow menu will contain many of the current taskbar behaviors users are familiar with, such as supporting pinned apps, jump list, and extended UI," a Windows blog (opens in new tab) says. "After invoking overflow, the menu will quietly dismiss once you click outside of it or navigate to an application."

Now the only way to overflow your taskbar is to fill it up with apps; easier said than done if you're nowhere near the limit already. I spent five minutes dragging nearly every app on my PC into the taskbar and only managed to hit overflow capacity at the 50 app mark.

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But I'm on a large 4K screen—the real estate you have available to you will be determined by your screen size and Windows scaling. I adjusted scaling on my PC from 150% to 300% and then it only takes 21 apps to reach overflow. On compact laptops and smaller screens, I can see it coming in handy.

But what happens when you fill up the overflow? Surprisingly the world does not end. Some tiny arrows just pop up that let you slide between excess apps.

There's no word on when this feature will make it into the shipping version of Windows 11, though it could be sooner than the next major update to the OS as Microsoft is no longer limiting itself to those packaged updates alone.

Jacob Ridley
Senior Hardware Editor

Jacob earned his first byline writing for his own tech blog from his hometown in Wales in 2017. From there, he graduated to professionally breaking things as hardware writer at PCGamesN, where he would later win command of the kit cupboard as hardware editor. Nowadays, as senior hardware editor at PC Gamer, he spends his days reporting on the latest developments in the technology and gaming industry. When he's not writing about GPUs and CPUs, however, you'll find him trying to get as far away from the modern world as possible by wild camping.