Your Windows 11 taskbar is getting a new 'overflow' section

Windows 11's taskbar will automatically create an overflow tray when the taskbar has too many apps in it.
Written by Liam Tung, Contributing Writer
Getty Images/Nitat Termmee

The latest preview of Windows 11 revamps a taskbar feature called 'overflow', which offers a space for open apps that don't fit in the taskbar, but still offers a taskbar shortcut to them.   

Taskbar overflow was in the mainstream Windows 11 release, giving users an overflow area to place extra apps after they've picked which apps they want to appear in the taskbar. 

Microsoft says it is now "reintroducing" taskbar overflow with a new experience to give users faster and smoother app switching and app launching. It avoids the taskbar becoming cluttered. 

SEE: Microsoft Teams is getting all these new hybrid work features

The new taskbar overflow automatically creates a set of "overflowed" apps that sit behind a button to the right of the taskbar. Taskbar automatically transitions to this state after the taskbar is full. 

Also, the overflow menu has taskbar capabilities like the ability to pin apps, a jump list and an extended user interface. Clicking on the three-dot icon invokes the overflow menu, while clicking anywhere outside of it or picking an app in the menu makes it vanish. 

"We're reintroducing taskbar overflow, with a newly designed experience for Windows 11. This taskbar experience has been thoughtfully crafted to offer you a more productive switching and launching experience when space is constrained," Microsoft says in a blogpost

Microsoft is also improving devices discovery on Nearby Sharing, its take on Apple's AirDrop. Microsoft has been working on Nearby Sharing for several years as a means for sharing files with other devices connected by Bluetooth or Wi-Fi from the Windows "share" window.   

The enhancement to Nearby Sharing on Windows 11 is the use of "UDP" to broaden the discovery of devices to share files with. That's in addition to Bluetooth. UDP stands for User Datagram Protocol, a key networking protocol for sharing files on the Internet.  Microsoft notes that the "network needs to be set to private" and that the addition of UDP will allow users to "discover and share to more devices including desktop PCs."  

The improved Nearby Sharing is available for sharing a local file from the desktop, File Explorer, Photos, Snipping Tool, Xbox, and other apps that use the built-in Windows share window. 

Another file-sharing improvement to the share window is the ability to select OneDrive as the target when sharing a local file. This cuts out the need to switch contexts or open the OneDrive app. 

Microsoft notes this feature does not support Azure Active Directory (AAD) and is only available for users signed in to a Microsoft account. 

"A user will need to switch to their Microsoft account via the top right profile icon in the share window if logged in via AAD. AAD support will be added in a future update," Microsoft notes. 

Microsoft also has a good set of fixes for issues in File Explorer, Taskbar, Settings, and other features. 

Editorial standards