My overdue introduction to Windows 11 hasn’t allowed me enough time to develop too many informed judgments about this operating system as a whole. But three weeks have left me pretty confident that I made the right choices in editing the default taskbar settings in this release.
Fortunately, all these preferences live in the same window, under the Taskbar category of the Personalization pane of the Settings app:
- Task view: Off (because I’ve yet to use multiple desktops in Windows or even macOS, so this shortcut was only clutter to me)
- Widgets: Off (because, as Andrew Cunnigham noted in his lengthy review at Ars Technica, these don’t even feature Win 11’s built-in calendar app and can’t be extended by third-party programs)
- Chat: Off (I only use Microsoft Teams when an event host requires it; besides, why do I need such an obvious reminder of all the time I’ve spent staring into a webcam over the last two years?)
- Taskbar alignment: Left (I understand how Microsoft felt that moving the Start menu button to the center would reduce cursor travel on giant monitors, but my laptop’s display spans less than 14 inches, so I would rather not disrupt my muscle memory of where the Start menu lives).
I’ve also pinned a handful of core apps, starting with Settings itself, to the taskbar. And I’m sure I’ll continue twiddling with the interface settings of Win 11 as I get accustomed to this release–which, to be clear, continues to grow on me as I soak in less-obvious edits like a right-click menu that finally tries to respect my time.
I, too, moved the taskbar to the left and turned off all of the icons you mentioned except for Task View. I began exploring multiple desktops when I began using Windows 11 and have found them quite useful for organizing my activities.