Windows 11 broke my taskbar, and so I had to go back to Windows 10.
Almost timely for Halloween, my update to Windows 11 last night, brought a nasty surprise: the taskbar options “Never combine buttons” and “with labels” were removed, and what was my central productivity dashboard was replaced by something like the stale Mac dock.
Furthermore, hovering over the task button of a minimized window wouldn’t restore and foreground that window anymore. (If you never used this feature, see this short video scene here at t=87.)
Of course, telemetry analytics might have evidenced that fewer users use such powerful options. Of course, as users are being ever more patronized and stultified by restricted operating controls in the browsers or touch devices, fewer users even expect more powerful controls, and the feedback effects suggest that users want dumb controls. So they drifted away from powerful OS controls towards patronizing ‘sovereign posture’ apps and ended up with the miserable browser tabs mess long ago.
(How do I avoid too many open tabs, you may ask? Well, if in doubt, I drag the page’s icon from the address bar and drop it onto the desktop, which is specifically designed for temporary stuff like this that may be filed or trashed soon after.)
Combined task buttons, by contrast, destroy the affordance of the direct manipulation principle, adding an annoying intermediate step of hierarchical selection among the grouped items.
For good measure, scroll bars became so narrow that hitting them is a pain, and get broader only after hitting them. This behavior seems to be fashionable since a while on unusable websites.
I wonder if there is a pattern to be recognized from all these behaviors that might skew the ‘usability’ testing: Scroll bars that react to hitting by getting broader, links that react by changing their color only when hovering, an autohiding task bar that reappears only when approaching its hideout, or task buttons that react by offering their annoying alternatives — all this might appear obliging and responsive for the consuming users and please their craving for fidgeting and unrest and fighting boredom, but for actually working with IT, it is just the intrusive app pushing itself in between the user and her workpiece.
So I ended the spook. I did not just run away, but filed a complaint in their Feedbacks, and twittered about the problem. Perhaps you can do that, too, to show them that Windows users are not the sheep that other OSs expect.