Windows 11’s taskbar drag and drop support is probably coming back

  • General

Windows 11 has a redesigned Start menu and it’s placed in the center of the taskbar, perfect for those with large monitors and touch screens. In addition to a new Start menu, Microsoft has also created a new taskbar for Windows 11 and it’s based on XAML modern code.

Recently, users discovered that they cannot drag and drop files into app icons like File Explorer on the taskbar. This was possible in Windows 10 and other versions of Windows, and it’s a handy way to open files in certain apps or pin shortcuts to the taskbar.

In Windows 11, if you drag a file or folder to the taskbar, an alert icon appears preventing users from performing the task. Users hoped that Microsoft would “fix” it ahead of October 2021, but as we anticipated, this change isn’t a bug and it won’t be fixed in the first version of Windows 11.

Taskbar drop and drop blocked in Windows 11 21H2

The new taskbar is a deliberate design choice by Microsoft and it does offer a modern experience (compatibility with new system tray), but there are several limitations. In a Feedback Hub post, Microsoft officials have confirmed that “dragging a file onto an app in the taskbar to open it in that app” is not a supported scenario.

However, Microsoft is listening to the feedback and we’re expecting the return of the functionality in Windows 11 version 22H2 (October 2022 Update).

In Build 22458, Microsoft is experimenting with a new feature that will allow users to drag and drop files/folders onto an app like Registry editor in the taskbar. In our tests, we were able to drag and drop a folder onto the taskbar and pin it to the File Explorer’s jump list, as shown in the below screenshot.

Taskbar limitations
Taskbar drag and drop works partially after modifying registry

Similarly, users can soon drag and drop folders onto an app in the taskbar and open it in that app. This is currently not supported in Windows 11 21H2 builds.

This gives us hope that the taskbar drag and drop feature could be reinstated later on as Windows 11 development advances.

It’s not yet clear when a full-fledged taskbar will be enabled for users and there are other taskbar features being dropped in favour of a modern Windows 11 taskbar. For instance, it’s no longer possible to display clock seconds in the taskbar. Likewise, the taskbar is now locked to the bottom of the screen, so you cannot move the taskbar either.

Windows 11 will be shipping with these limitations on October 5. Remember that it would be an optional upgrade and you’ll be able to restore the classic taskbar with third-party paid apps or open-source tools.

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