‘Never Combine’ Icons Feature for Windows 11 Remains a Pipe Dream as You Still Can’t Ungroup Icons

July 21, 2021: A registry hack is now available that lets you ungroup icons on Windows 11’s taskbar, but it does come with a compromise or two. But check it out here if you really want to have the ‘never combine’ feature back: Ungroup icons on Windows 11 taskbar.


Windows, an OS known for its productivity and compatibility features more than aesthetics, took a very different turn in its evolution from Windows 10 to Windows 11. Rather unwelcoming, wanted one!

Many of us have grown up with Windows, and we have been grown to love its “Never combine” feature in taskbar settings that lets us keep the windows from an app ungrouped. It’s a major boost to productivity — as is easily one of those great features that you truly miss a lot when it is absent. A feature you long assumed will live with you forever.

But no, Microsoft doesn’t think so.

We were quite disappointed to see the feature absent in the leaked build, but secretly, we had hoped that this would change with any official release, be that the Dev Channel build that was released today. As it turns out, there is no option to ungroup the icons on the taskbar in the Dev build either. Worse, the tweaking software that worked wonderfully up to Windows 10 in letting you change taskbar setting to your will are not of any help anymore either.

We gave a very popular software utility called Taskbar Tweaker a run too, but both its stable and beta versions fell short. We do hope the support for Windows 11 is added soon in software like Taskbar Tweaker but for now, you can’t ungroup icons on Windows 11 taskbar by any method or trick.

And what a shame that is for an OS known to give its users plenty of features, mostly to build productivity.

The improvements in Windows 11 are quite exciting, so much that the OS finally feels like 2021, but until Microsoft allows us to use the taskbar — the centerpiece of everything you do on Windows — as we want, not only by ungrouping app icons but also being able to move the taskbar to the top, left and right sides of the monitor, it will be tough to fully appreciate the shine (literally!) Windows 11 comes flaunting with.

What are your thoughts about ungrouping icons on the taskbar on Windows, and its omission from Windows 11?

RELATED


> The article was updated to remove the guide about ungrouping the icons on Windows 11 taskbar using Taskbar Tweaker app as the software is not working on Windows 11 (at least for now, that is June 29, 2021). We are very sorry for the inconvenience this may have caused!

Posted by
Sushan

A mediocre engineer hoping to do something extraordinary with his pen (well, keyboard). Loves Pink Floyd, lives football, and is always up for a cup of Americano.

27 Comments

  1. OMG, this is the one thing preventing me from clicking that download button now to try out Win11 as I CANNOT imagine using my machine without being able to ungroup taskbar buttons and see every WINDOW, unlike a Mac

  2. LOL, this was literally my first Google after 5min after booting up the DEV version of Win11. I guess there will be allot of feedback about the missing of this option so it will eventually return.

  3. I have Windows 11 on my main PC and I *hate* the fact that app windows are always auto-grouped on the taskbar and that there’s no name shown. I don’t want to have to mouse over an app to find the window I want. I also don’t want to have to memorize what little icon is which app on the taskbar because they want it to look Maclike.

  4. First thing I googled after getting Windows 11. Can’t believe they haven’t given us the “never combine” option…

  5. Please add your concern in the MS Feedback hub as well!! or upvote existing ones to get more attention. or use uservoice…

    I have the same problem, can’t live without the ungrouping!!

  6. This is a major flaw in the new version. Why shouldn’t we have the option to choose.

    #neverEVERcombine

  7. If you have multiple Monitors with multiple open programms of the same kind (multiple words/excels, VisualStudios) you want to focus to this windows with one click, by cliking the ungrouped taskbar button (that shows the window title) in the Taskbar of the monitor the window is on…

    In Windows 11 you have to hover over the grouped icon, and then guess from the thumbnail which is the right window, thats abysmally bad.
    @Windows: if you want users to like MacOS then ask apple if they allow it to install it on PC
    Windows Users want Taskbar items with window titles.

  8. Its an appalling feature; really backwards!

    What should have taken me 5 minutes yesterday, took nearer an hour; the simple PRODUCTIVE drag and drop of files onto an open email is now impossible.

    Needs remedying – and promptly!!!

  9. Same issue.
    Everyone, be sure to voice your complaint using Microsoft’s Feedback Hub app.

  10. I wish Microsoft would say that it’s impossible to never combine taskbar items. If they did, some enterprising genius would show you how to do it in about 5 minutes! 🙂 Sadly, that ain’t me.

    Jim

  11. It’s the second reason why I rolled back to Windows 10. The first reason dragging files to an open application no longer works. I love the look and feel of Windows 11, but these two things killed my productivity, so for now back to the old. I have added it to the feedback hub, seriously this would keep me from ever getting it, so hopefully it will just be added later.

  12. This is the first thing I tried configuring after installing Windows as it started grouping icons. Microsoft will have to provide this feature as it is one of the most used productivity feature.

  13. god damn, this is dumb. time to rollback

  14. I’m a little disappointed as well about some features especially the taskbar, but in general windows 11 looks fine. I think as it’s on the dev stage we will still see improvements in the future.

  15. Hi guys, I’ve thought to replace the new taskbar with the “Winstep Nexus Bar” and already uninstalled it, but I will go back and install it again, because you also can’t add any folders to the taskbar… So a workaround would be to set the taskbar size to “0” small via registry and also hide it, while using the winstep nexus bar. 😉

  16. These all appear as sacrifices in favour of the centering idea.
    The start button keeps moving! Basic UX mistake.
    They couldn’t allow title or ungrouping because that doesn’t go well with the centering idea.

    The grouping if any should be according to work and not to type of app which makes no sense, and like everyone here said it kills productivity and makes everything confusing, ungrouping should have been the default also in 10! Instead I see users everyday that don’t even know how much time they are wasting switching back and forth.
    The task bar is the main reason I think Mac Os is non productive, together with the global menu which is a ridiculous idea. We want Windows!
    At least let us see the titles if we move the buttons to the left…

  17. Centering taskbar is the dumbest thing I’ve ever seen in windows!

  18. This is CRAZY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! They have to fix it!

  19. Without Never Combine???? Microsoft are you crazy?

  20. Always combining icons is an awful decision and we need a way out of it. My productivity is improved when I can quickly and easily see what windows I have open and click on the one I want.

  21. After downloading Windows 11, I had to roll back to 10 because I could not ungroup several excel files that I hold open!

  22. Hahahahaa stupid Microsoft!!!. Windows 11 is useless, now.

  23. Has this BUG been fixed yet? Am waiting to upgrade.

  24. Last night I downloaded and installed Windows 11 but what a disappointment.
    I was shocked to find that the icons are grouped together and I cannot see at a glance which files are open. My productivity is greatly effected negatively.

    This may be a game changer for me and I’m considering rolling back to Windows 10.

  25. I installed win 11 yesterday. I can’t believe what they have done. I’m sorry no one told me this. I can not work.

  26. The biggest design fail in Windows history! Productivity ruined.

  27. I’m really bothered about this. Having the ability to see and navigate to all my open documents is important for my productivity. Not only can you not have Windows taskbar not combine, but you also can’t resize the taskbar. I work at MSFT and uninstalled Win 11 the moment I saw this egregious miss, but have since been forced to re-install. I hate it!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *