Microsoft adds second Windows 11 taskbar without fixing what we all hate about the first

Unhappy laptop user
(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Microsoft has brought in the ability to detach the Edge browser’s sidebar, allowing it to be placed at the side of the Windows 11 (or 10) desktop permanently, although this change is just in testing right now.

The move to allow for the detaching of the sidebar was made with the Canary version of Edge as Neowin (opens in new tab) spotted.

In case you’re not familiar with the sidebar, it’s a panel on the side of the browser window that facilitates quick access to pinned websites and various tools (like the new Dall-E image creator for example).

So, what this means is that with the sidebar unlatched from the browser itself, you can have it as a kind of second (Edge-specific) taskbar on your desktop.

If this feature ever comes to release, that is, bearing in mind that it has only just arrived in the very earliest testing channel for Edge (Canary). It’s a long road from there to later test builds and through to release, of course, so we’ll just have to keep an eye on the progress of this feature.

Analysis: Adding insult to injury for some?

Microsoft is driving really hard with Edge, and recently we’ve seen a whole bunch of stuff being bolted onto the browser (such as the aforementioned image creator). Not to mention a fair few of what we’d classify as major moves, like the introduction of an integrated VPN, and this ability to detach the sidebar is something that could have a major impact on not just Microsoft’s browser, but the overall Windows interface.

Of course, not everyone will be happy with the idea of the sidebar invading the desktop. However, even if you feel that this is a case of Microsoft overstepping the bounds of what a browser should do, the good thing is that you can disable this option. Furthermore, it’s off by default.

Still, there’s another way that this potential change might well annoy Windows 11 users, given that they don’t have the ability to move the taskbar, which remains glued to the bottom of the desktop. (Unlike in Windows 10, where it can be shifted to the sides, or top, as the user prefers).

When it comes to folks who are still cut up about that ditching of the ability to move the taskbar, presenting them with an option to have a bar on the side – not the taskbar, just an Edge bar – well, that’s kind of rubbing salt in the wound in a way. Or at least that’s how it could be perceived (as in “it’s too challenging to have the taskbar movable in Windows 11, but hey, we’ll get the Edge sidebar on the desktop if it kills us”).

That said, we recently caught a glimpse of a suggestion that Microsoft might be adding the ability to reposition the taskbar in Windows 11, or at least the groundwork seems to be present, hidden in test builds. However, it’s still very, very early days for this right now.

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).