This post explains how to enable Never Combine Taskbar buttons with Labels in Windows 11. By default, Windows 11 maximizes space on the taskbar by displaying icons and grouping windows from the same application. When an application has numerous active windows and you want to access a particular one, you can hover over the program’s icon on the taskbar and choose the window.
Microsoft has begun rolling out Windows 11 version 22H2 that brings several long-awaited features to the Windows operating system, including the legacy never combined mode for the taskbar. This feature enables users to display application windows as individual items on the taskbar rather than combining icons from the same application in one group.
The feature was previously available in Windows 10, but Microsoft removed it in Windows 11. After seeing it as the ‘most-requested feature’, the tech giant decided to bring it back to the users via a cumulative update that’s being rolled out to all Windows 11 devices slowly.
What if you wanted each window to have its unique Taskbar button with a name or label? This makes it simple to identify and launch the program window. When using a widescreen display or many monitors, for instance, or when you have many versions of the same application open, displaying each window separately on the taskbar can be helpful.
How to Never Combine Taskbar Buttons on Windows 11
Given below are three methods you can use never to combine taskbar buttons on your Windows PC:
- Windows Settings
- Registry Editor
- Group Policy
You will need admin permission for some of these, and we also suggest using System Restore before changing anything in the registry.
1] Windows Settings
You can set the taskbar never to combine button via Windows Settings. Here is how to do it:
- Open Settings and click on the Personalization option from the left pane.
- Next, click on the Taskbar option on the right.
- Click on the Taskbar behaviors and then Combine taskbar buttons and hide labels. You will see the following options:
- When taskbar is full
- Select Never.
This will enable Never Combine Taskbar Buttons on Windows 11.
The options mean the following
- Always: This option will automatically group icons from the same application and hide their labels. When you hover your mouse over the grouped icon, the previews of individual windows will be shown. You may click on a preview to switch to that window or click on the cross icon on the right side to close a window.
- When taskbar is full: This option will group icons from the same application only when the taskbar is full (you have too many applications open). When the taskbar is not full, the icons will not combine and be shown with their corresponding labels.
- Never: This option will never combine taskbar icons no matter how many windows are open at the same time. The windows will appear as individual items with labels. When they take up all the taskbar space, a three-dot icon will appear on the right side. This icon, when clicked, opens a Taskbar overflow menu that holds the extra icons that keep adding to the taskbar.
2] Registry Editor
You can turn on the taskbar’s never combine setting using the Registry Editor. How? Read on.
Open Registry Editor and copy and paste the following path:
Right-click on the Advanced folder and choose the New > DWORD (32-bit) Value option from the context menu. Next, rename the value to TaskbarGlomLevel. (If a value with this name already exists, skip this step and move on to the next one.)
Right-click the TaskbarGlomLevel option on the right and click on the Modify option from the context menu.
Change the Value data field from 0 to 2, and click OK.
After saving the changes, close the Registry Editor and restart your PC for the changes to take effect, and the taskbar never combines buttons.
3] Group Policy
Group Policy is applicable when you need to change this setting on a remote PC or want to apply it on multiple PCs across your network.
Open Group Policy Editor on your PC
Navigate to the following path:
User Configuration -> Administrative Templates -> Start Menu and Taskbar
Locate the policy with the name Prevent grouping of taskbar items.
Enable and apply the changes.
Once done, you can restart your PC and check if the icons appear separately for the open apps and browsers.
So, these are the three simplest methods in Windows 11 for ungrouping Taskbar icons and setting them never to combine. The most recent Windows 11 release does not support ungrouping of Taskbar icons. So, you can set your taskbar to Never Combine Taskbar Buttons on Windows 11 via Windows Settings, Registry Editor, or Group Policy.
How do I never combine Taskbar labels in Windows 11?
If you want to never combine Taskbar labels, you can set the ‘Combine taskbar buttons and hide labels’ option to ‘Never’ in the Taskbar behavior settings. You will only be able to view this option after installing the KB5030310 cumulative update for Windows 11 version 22H2.