Solved Expanding Icons on Taskbar


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Using both 10 and 11 and haven't noticed any difference in performance at this stage. I know beauty is in the...... but my one annoyance with 11 is unlike 10, the taskbar icons do not expand when a program is running in the background. I know there's a 'faint' line below a running program but it's just not, in my opinion, as convenient.

Is there a setting that I'm missing somewhere or a quick regedit that can be done to get those icons to expand.
 
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That's one of the differences in 11, the taskbar is the main visual difference along with the context menu. there are a few tweaks about to change their behaviour.
 

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That's one of the differences in 11, the taskbar is the main visual difference along with the context menu. there are a few tweaks about to change their behaviour.
No problem here with the context menu. If/when I have FF open then the taskbar icon is highlighted but nothing else which may be running in the background. Why other programs that are running cannot remain highlighted I suppose is just down the the UI design and MS of course know best.
 

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The new style taskbar was one of the big selling points of Win 11
 

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I'm not sure exactly what you are wanting but maybe it's taskview. You can enable it by right clicking on taskbar-taskbar settings. If that's not what you are trying to accomplish, just toggle it back off.
 

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Thanks for your input. What I'm looking for is an at a glance what programs are already open as per Win10 which automatically expands the icon as per my original jpg posted. That facility is not available as far as I can tell in taskbar settings.

Currently only FF is highlighted in the taskbar but running in the background is Thunderbird, Task Manager and HW Monitor. In Win10 these icons would be elongated but in 11 only the program on the screen is highlighted which rather defeats any purpose especially as it's right in front of you.

It's probably not a deal breaker to bomb me back to 10 but more of an annoyance. But as many have remarked, a UI, any UI is all personal preference.

Maybe a third party program like WinAero may offer the facility in the future but I prefer not to introduce others to the party.
 

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On my taskbar I have 4 programs open- File explorer, Cmd, and Firefox, snipping tool. Snipping Tool was my active window. It has a colored line in under it. The other three have smaller lines in under it of a lighter color. Screenshot 2021-11-29 165526.png
 

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It may be because your taskbar settings do NOT include "show badges". Taskbar settings- taskbar behavior-toggle show badges
If that's not it, you might try making a new user account. Name it TEST or Something. If the active lines show under the new user, then it narrows it down to either one of the taskbar settings or a corrupted user account.
 
Last edited:

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Reporting in - managed to get the expanding icons on the taskbar for programs running in the background compliments of Winaero plus a small addition via regedit. This moved the icons to the left so like Win10.

After this 'exercise', the Snippet tool no longer works as intended. So I'll either go back to the standard 11 UI or revert to 10.
 

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Thanks for your input. What I'm looking for is an at a glance what programs are already open as per Win10 which automatically expands the icon as per my original jpg posted. That facility is not available as far as I can tell in taskbar settings.

Currently only FF is highlighted in the taskbar but running in the background is Thunderbird, Task Manager and HW Monitor. In Win10 these icons would be elongated but in 11 only the program on the screen is highlighted which rather defeats any purpose especially as it's right in front of you.

It's probably not a deal breaker to bomb me back to 10 but more of an annoyance. But as many have remarked, a UI, any UI is all personal preference.

Maybe a third party program like WinAero may offer the facility in the future but I prefer not to introduce others to the party.
With windows 10 I always had task bar setting " do not combine" and disabled "task view." I missed seeing all the icons on open programs in Win 11 I enabled task view and this is a good substitute for seeing multiple icons in the task bar.

The attached image is task view in action!
 

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Expanded icons convolute the taskbar when there are many, so I never used that option. But I do 100% agree that the lines below the icons are inadequate when the goal is to be able to see at a glance which icons are the ones that represent (an) open window(s). If you have like 15-20 icons pinned to taskbar, you get "icon chaos", or unnecessary stress from not being able to stay focussed during those moments when more than 5 icons have a line under them, as the Window Switcher or Task View is an extra step that switches your view to it, always, i.e., even in situations when there should be no reason for this in any way whatsoever. So, what I ended up doing was I decided not to pin anything to my taskbar excepting only File Explorer. To still be able to launch shortcuts from the taskbar with just a single mouseclick, I use the taskbar feature known as Taskbar Toolbars. But this feature is gone in Windows 11, so this is one of several reasons why I required (!) the old taskbar from Windows 10 back, and why I use ExplorerPatcher from GitHub. Personal preferences have got nothing to do with it. There's good UI design and there's bad. A counterproductive UI is the worst kind, and so it doesn't factually matter what everybody else thinks. Companies like Microsoft should understand the simple fact that time is money, and should do so without needing to draw them a picture. The sad part is, you could draw them 100 pictures and then they STILL won't figure it out... which I can prove.
 

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Expanded icons convolute the taskbar when there are many, so I never used that option. But I do 100% agree that the lines below the icons are inadequate when the goal is to be able to see at a glance which icons are the ones that represent (an) open window(s). If you have like 15-20 icons pinned to taskbar, you get "icon chaos", or unnecessary stress from not being able to stay focussed during those moments when more than 5 icons have a line under them, as the Window Switcher or Task View is an extra step that switches your view to it, always, i.e., even in situations when there should be no reason for this in any way whatsoever. So, what I ended up doing was I decided not to pin anything to my taskbar excepting only File Explorer. To still be able to launch shortcuts from the taskbar with just a single mouseclick, I use the taskbar feature known as Taskbar Toolbars. But this feature is gone in Windows 11, so this is one of several reasons why I required (!) the old taskbar from Windows 10 back, and why I use ExplorerPatcher from GitHub. Personal preferences have got nothing to do with it. There's good UI design and there's bad. A counterproductive UI is the worst kind, and so it doesn't factually matter what everybody else thinks. Companies like Microsoft should understand the simple fact that time is money, and should do so without needing to draw them a picture. The sad part is, you could draw them 100 pictures and then they STILL won't figure it out... which I can prove.
I do not have many icons pinned on the taskbar as prefer not to have clutter - plus with OpenShell not necessary in my case. So unpinned Edge, Mail, Store, etc. I would though prefer to see an elongated icon for running programs. Not sure why MS decided on the line rather than allow the whole icon to be dimmed/illuminated when a program is running in the background. I don't really see the point of only the FF icon 'highlighted' when I'm using that program to bash out a reply and it's right in front of me full screen.

Winaero did semi work but the registry hack suggestion broke something else so possibly in their next release...... or maybe MS will allow the facility in their next update.

Anyway. decided to go back to 10 for now with my main rig and allow 11 to remain on the laptop. All depends on what you use your PC/Laptop/Tablet for but in my case, at the moment I find 10 to be more productive. No increases (or decreases) in performance so really no point in keeping 11 for now. I'll keep an eye on the updates to see if/when the UI gradually evolves but I'm not holding my breath.

As an aside - it appears I'm not a line voice in this. On the techcommunity.microsoft.com forum, others are asking for the 'never combine toolbars' function to be reinstated and 11 is a deal breaker for many based on this alone. Link here
 
Last edited:

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Not sure why MS decided on the line rather than allow the whole icon to be dimmed/illuminated when a program is running in the background.
Ubuntu has a line next to open programs. I do get an impression that there are many ideas from Linux in the new Windows 11 interface.
 

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    Antec- VSK4000E-U3 Mid Tower
    Internet Speed
    40 MPS download and 3.5 MPS upload. The condo building is nor wired with Fibe yet
    Browser
    Firefox, Microsoft Edge
    Antivirus
    Defender
@6391mb
I have a very strong doubt that Winearo tweaker will do that in a foreseeable future, and, what's the point of waiting on Winaero when 1/ you can already do that RIGHT NOW with the free ExplorerPatcher or 2/ you can just stick to Windows 10 and forget about Windows 11 for now, but either way you still don't have any guarantees that Microsoft will fix Windows 11 annoyances and shortcomings. Or maybe they might fix it in such a way that the result will still be a bit of a letdown. If ExplorerPatcher breaks, it breaks. I only hope that it won't. I mean, I don't usually tend to complain about the quality of the lifeboat when, clearly, the ship is sinking. That's my main philosophy. I don't play games, but in some areas at least, Windows 11 has more than 10% better performance than Windows 10. I can still go back to Windows 10 if ExplorerPatcher breaks before someone has a better solution. Until then, it's just not worth fretting over. It's a solution that works, for now it does, which is still a whole lot better than waiting for another solution that either might work or might not work. Excepting of course if Windows 11 truly adds nothing for you. For me, it does. (If only just a little bit.)
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    11 Home
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Asus TUF Gaming F16 (2024)
    CPU
    i7 13650HX
    Memory
    16GB DDR5
    Graphics Card(s)
    GeForce RTX 4060 Mobile
    Sound Card
    Eastern Electric MiniMax DAC Supreme; Emotiva UMC-200; Astell & Kern AK240
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Sony Bravia XR-55X90J
    Screen Resolution
    3840×2160
    Hard Drives
    512GB SSD internal
    37TB external
    PSU
    Li-ion
    Cooling
    2× Arc Flow Fans, 4× exhaust vents, 5× heatpipes
    Keyboard
    Logitech K800
    Mouse
    Logitech G402
    Internet Speed
    20Mbit/s up, 250Mbit/s down
    Browser
    FF
  • Operating System
    11 Home
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Medion S15450
    CPU
    i5 1135G7
    Memory
    16GB DDR4
    Graphics card(s)
    Intel Iris Xe
    Sound Card
    Eastern Electric MiniMax DAC Supreme; Emotiva UMC-200; Astell & Kern AK240
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Sony Bravia XR-55X90J
    Screen Resolution
    3840×2160
    Hard Drives
    2TB SSD internal
    37TB external
    PSU
    Li-ion
    Mouse
    Logitech G402
    Keyboard
    Logitech K800
    Internet Speed
    20Mbit/s up, 250Mbit/s down
    Browser
    FF
I'm with @hdmi on this. ExplorerPatcher take care of missing stuff on Taskbar, plus get back calendar with agenda. I don't mess with Explorer toolbar or context menus.., although EP can bring back the Win 10 behavior

 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Windows 10 Pro, Windows 11 Dev
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Homebuilt
    CPU
    Intel I3 10100
    Motherboard
    ASUS B460M
    Memory
    16 GB DDR4 Crucial
    Graphics Card(s)
    Intel on chip
    Sound Card
    Realtek onboard
    Monitor(s) Displays
    ASUS 24, LG 24
    Screen Resolution
    Full HD x 2
    Hard Drives
    kingston A2000 NVMe PCIe 500 GB
    PSU
    LC Power 650W
    Case
    Noname
    Cooling
    Air 2x 120mm
    Keyboard
    Cherry G-81
    Mouse
    Logitech M500
    Internet Speed
    100/20
    Browser
    Firefox, Vivaldi
    Antivirus
    MS Defender
  • Operating System
    Windows 10 Home
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    ASUS/Vivobook Flip 14
    CPU
    Ryzen 7 4700u
    Memory
    8 GB DDR4
    Graphics card(s)
    AMD Vega
    Sound Card
    Realtek onboard
    Monitor(s) Displays
    14"
    Screen Resolution
    FullHD
    Hard Drives
    512 Samsung NVMe PCIe
    PSU
    -
    Case
    Laptop
    Mouse
    Touchpad, Touchscreen
    Internet Speed
    100/20
    Browser
    Firefox, Vivaldi
    Antivirus
    MS Defender
Reporting back in (again) - tried ExplorerPatcher and it works fine. So my thanks to @hdmi for the suggestion.

It's at times like this I'd like to look (although maybe not) into the minds of the developers that in their infinite wisdom decided to remove this option from 11. Hmmmmm...............
 

My Computers

System One System Two

  • OS
    Win11 Pro
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    Manufacturer/Model
    Lenovo M90q
    CPU
    i5 12500
    Motherboard
    Lenovo
    Memory
    32GB
    Graphics Card(s)
    Intel CPU integrated
    Sound Card
    Intel MB intergrated
    Monitor(s) Displays
    Dell 4k IPS
    Screen Resolution
    3840 x 2160
    Hard Drives
    500GB NVMe Samsung 980 Pro
    1 TB NVMe Samsung 990 Pro
    1 TB Crucial MX500
    PSU
    Lenovo
    Case
    Lenovo
    Cooling
    Air
    Keyboard
    Logitech BT
    Mouse
    Logitech BT
    Internet Speed
    FTTP
    Browser
    Firefox
    Antivirus
    MS Defender and Malwarebytes
  • Operating System
    Win 11 Pro
    Computer type
    Laptop
    Manufacturer/Model
    HP Envy X360
    CPU
    AMD Ryzen 7 4700U
    Motherboard
    HP
    Memory
    16GB
    Graphics card(s)
    AMD Radeon
    Sound Card
    ATI/AMD Renoir
    Monitor(s) Displays
    UHD
    Screen Resolution
    1920 x 1080
    Hard Drives
    1TB NVMe
    PSU
    HP
    Case
    Dell
    Cooling
    Air
    Mouse
    Touchpad
    Keyboard
    Built In
    Internet Speed
    FTTP
    Browser
    Firefox
    Antivirus
    MS Defender and Malwarebytes
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