Mobile-Focused Windows 11 Leaves Taskbar Stuck Along The Bottom

Yeah, I’ll admit it: I’m a Windows person. Two years ago this summer, I traded in an overworked Windows 7 laptop that was literally screaming in pain for a SFF Windows 10 box as my main machine. But 10 might mean the end for this scribe, who has used Windows since the late 1980s. Admittedly, it’s for a fairly petty reason — Microsoft have gotten rid of alternate-location taskbar support in Windows 11. As in, you can have the taskbar anywhere you want, as long as it’s the bottom of the screen.

Years ago, I switched my taskbar to the top for various reasons. For one, it just made more sense to me to have everything at the top, and nothing at the bottom to interrupt visual flow while reading a web page or a document. Plenty of people move it to one of the sides or hide it when not in use for the same reason. More importantly, I thought moving the taskbar to the top would help with my neck/shoulder strain issues, and I believe that it has. So oddly enough, this one little thing may be the dealbreaker that gets me to switch after thirty-something years to Linux, where top-aligned taskbars are more or less the norm.

I’m not alone in my fierce defense of a relocatable taskbar — a post about the issue on the Microsoft Feedback Hub has received over 17,000 votes of support, as it is one of the most requested features. However, in a recent Reddit AMA where a user asked about moving the taskbar to the sides, Microsoft basically said that the UI reflow is difficult to implement there and is not worth it, so they removed the feature. What? Yeah, you read that right. That ‘really small’ set of users who took the time to take to the feedback hub? Screw them, I guess, and legions more who took to other Internet outlets to complain and commiserate.

(And) when you look at the data, while we know there is a set of people that love it that way and, like, really appreciate it, we also recognize that this set of users is really small compared to the set of other folks that are asking for other features. So at the moment we are continuing to focus on things that I hear more pain around.

— Tali Roth, Microsoft’s Head of Product, via Neowin

What I don’t get is this: if they’ve already implemented it on the previous versions, what’s so hard about doing it again? Did they completely rewrite the codebase for Windows 11 or something and didn’t want to do that part this time?

It seems as though the problem is that way back when, they implemented the standard case of the taskbar being at the bottom, and treated the top and side locations as exceptions and coded them thusly. That’s obvious enough.

So probably they’re tired of that work-around now, and, whether they rewrote the codebase for Windows 11 or not, they probably recognize that the whole taskbar object ought to be built from the ground up in such a way that it supports any of the four locations, and just don’t want to bother in favor of implementing or tweaking other features.

Of course, this is all wild speculation. I’m not even sure this box of mine will run Windows 11. So feel free to pick up where I’ve left off in the comments. And I guess I’ll take your Linux distro recommendations as well, because I figure some of you will do it anyway. I’m thinking KDE Neon or something.

On the other hand, there are a few upsides to Windows 11:ย it has an OS-wide dark mode, and they brought back the idea of the startup sound. Remember reassigning the startup sound to some mp3 you got off of Napster ripped from a CD? Those were the days.


Images via Microsoft

96 thoughts on “Mobile-Focused Windows 11 Leaves Taskbar Stuck Along The Bottom

  1. I prefer my taskbar on the bottom. That said, M$ should give those people still on Windows the option to move the taskbar where-ever they want. Even multiple taskbars if that is to your liking. We all have are ‘preferences’ and work flows … A desktop should make allowances for that. I am Windows free (at home), so I can pick and choose which Desktop Environment works best for me … as it should be. I can get updates on my schedule, reboot on my schedule, no accounts to create, etc. Linux works for me.

    1. What DE works for me is KDE. Pick your flavor of Linux. Mine is Ubuntu LTS 20.04 – KUbuntu to be exact. Has been solid distro choice over the years. I liked RedHat/Fedora, but got tired of installing it every so often on multiple machines, so went with an LTS as I just wanted an OS to ‘use’, not install all the time.

      1. If you do a lot of reading (such as the Hackaday blog), try it on the left or right. Screens are wider than longer, and having it on the side gives more vertical space for reading.

    2. Windows is done. In the days of XP, it was an efficient tool you could use to get things done and adjust as you saw fit. It was direct and controllable, but also comprehensible to non-power users.

      Since then Windows has suffered a depressing and rapid decline into flailing incompetence. It’s a mess from its disorganized, crippled, and straight-up defective UI to its removal of useful applications and features. Then there’s the ever-more offensive hounding to do everything with a “Microsoft account.”

      Dear Microsoft: Nobody wants your stupid account. We all have enough accounts. Piss off. Redesign and rewrite Windows from the ground up or just GTFO.

      1. Anyone would think you don’t like tiled application menus that seem to reconfigure themselves arbitrarily on a whim, with said menus interspersed with advertisements for random applications, and menus deciding which applications you might want to choose from, rather than having everything installed easily navigated with muscle memory.

        1. Quite some years ago somebody gave me a PC that started up with those blue tiles of death.
          That lasted about 5 minutes.
          That was enough to get Linux on an USB stick.
          After that I never used windoze again.

        1. XP search dialog? You mean that “wizard or dog animation”? Blech. That was almost as bad as clippy.

          Windows 10 has a little text box at the top-left of explorer windows. Type your search string there.

          1. I still have the same search with the little doggie. Of course I have 3 computers with Windows XP I which I will not upgrade because XP is better than any of the newer Windows versions.

      2. I fully agree. It used to be everybody’s darling because everybody could configure it to their liking. More and more of these personal settings keep disappearing whereas the overall footprint of a Windows installation keeps growing to incredible tons of wasted drive space. I suppose that all the compatibility layers and even the desktop renderers from Windows 3.0 until today are still somewhere in there but made inaccessible. Seems that backwards compatibility for software is something they pat themselves on the back about but being backwards compatible for user settings is undesired.
        The only way Microsoft will understand is if enough people step away from Windows environments wherever possible. Statistics must prove that Windows market share is sinking before they act. However, there is tons of vintage software out there that would not run in any other place than Windows, a lot of it is so bad it runs just barely, but it runs. There is too much laziness in the developers, and many think they don’t have to learn how to do it right because it “works on my machine” and C:\ is always the system drive, right? The overall software quality of Windows and the products based on it is probably the worst in the galaxy, compared to any other software environment.
        Despite constant quality issues, Windows appears to be a structural necessity in organizational software though, of all things, such as patient and hospital management, state-side bureaucracy, finance, law, lots of server software, too. Next thing is drivers. Even though Microsoft is crippling even that (manufacturer lobbyists involved?), they have made Windows *the* platform where for just any device you would find a driver to run it, mostly without even to install any driver because it’s already there. Linux is still far away from that, but getting better day by day. That is because manufacturers won’t publish Linux drivers in many cases so the brains need to reverse-engineer what they find. The results never cease to amaze me. Open-source drivers created by the Linux community appear so much better than the Windows crap. It can only be answered by consumers in the form of avoidance. Well, except for gamers because game publishers are also too lazy to make their stuff portable.
        Aside from businesses where Windows might be a need, most people (gamers excluded) use their private PC just for web browsing, writing e-mails, maybe writing a document once in a while. Those wouldn’t miss anything in a free Linux. Still most are very uncomfortable about a change, the less experience the worse the resistance. Just because it looks different (even if it is more beautiful). I do what I can to persuade everybody into giving it a try at least but it’s hard. People get very irrational and emotional about change which beats me over and over. Fear of learning something new, maybe not understanding it right away, and refusing to depend on people like me to help when needed. I even had an argument where the other side claimed that Windows is also free so that’s no plus for Linux. It’s the feeling they get when you can use an XP activation code and use it to activate a more modern Windows, and get a pre-installed Windows with every new PC. It’s an evil strategy to bind people and always has been.
        This golden cage appears to me almost as bad as Apple.

  2. I have it on the side because monitors have been squished and stretched sideways way too much. 4:3 monitors are gone the way of the dodo and 16:10 are quickly disappearing from the market with only older panels available that max out at 1920×1200 resolution. 16:9 and even wider monitors are now the thing, and they’re not even useful as portrait monitors because they’re too tall and narrow when tipped over.

    With all sorts of horizontal ribbons and toolbar objects taking even more vertical space, it’s just gotten to the point that you’re looking at any document through a mail slot or zoomed out so small that there’s not enough resolution to be readable.

    I’m kinda tempted to buy one of those square Eizo monitors, but the panel is kinda dated as well and it costs too much.

    1. Back when 4:3 monitors were a thing, your browser would have about 10 toolbars anyway. I think the effective page viewing aspect ratio has stayed the same, but we’ve gotten significantly more pixels.

      1. Not really. Back when 4:3 monitors were a thing, I had a 21″ 1600×1200 Trinitron CRT and then a 20″ 1600×1200 IPS LCD, and now I have 1920×1200 IPS LCD. These are all the same physical picture size and the same 100 PPI pixel density within 5% – the last one is just wider. The old 4:3 monitor now serves as a portrait screen in want of a replacement – it’s got burn-in and panel bleeding at the edges.

        Of course it used to be that people spent their money on top of the line parts that cost twice the money for 20% more performance, and then skimped on the monitor because they ran out of budget. I did the opposite. I always bought mid-market parts and a good monitor.

        1. I use TV’s as monitors as there cheaper for larger higher resolution.

          The last one was a Toshiba 32″ that went up to 1920×1080, this one is also a Toshiba that has the same max res but I am using it at 1360-768 which is the same as the 1024×768 but wider.

          I have the tack bar at the right side.

          This PC wont upgrade to win 11 because it has no TPM, just an empty socket and I am happy with that – relieved even.

          1. I was looking at the only new 16:10 monitors I could find, but they’re all 30″ and that won’t fit my table – and the pixel density is still just 100 PPI because of the larger physical size even though it’s 2K.

            To improve on the visual sharpness of the monitor beyond what I currently own, I would need to cut a hole in the wall to push the monitor back. Otherwise there’s no advantage.

      1. Every LG I’ve touched feels like chinesium with a paint job to try and emulate a Samsung/Sony. I did however buy a Monoprice Korean IPS 1440p a few years ago, used of course. Still quite nice. I agree with 80% performance target. I’ve had 6 core i5 where I could have had 2 or 3 i7. My overall performance under the curve is likely higher, while being only slightly lower on the peaks. Save that money and upgrade sooner.

        1. I’m more of a HP or Dell guy. The only thing HP still does reasonably well is monitors. I steer away from Samsung and Sony etc. because of random quality issues and stupid attempts at market segmentation. The usual supermarket “gamer” stuff like Acer, Asus, LG… don’t bother. TN/VA panels or “eIPS” isn’t worth the money even when it’s cheap.

    2. I really don’t much care where it is, and have been known to set auto-hide or just ditch a visible taskbar entirely – if the keyboard has a key to open the menu, and your Alt-Tab system makes finding the right window easy I don’t always miss it. Play around often, find different layouts seem better for different things, but nothing quite yells I AM THE ONE.

      I do however agree the ever wider monitor does change the useful positions for such GUI elements heaps – I have a big fancy PIP monitor to let me plug in laptops/Pi/whatever PC foisted on me to fix, in effect it can pretend to be 4 22″ ish monitors with no bezel or one giant one, and in giant mode I find 3-5 vertical column of windows with the taskbar at the bottom is my preference, for much the reason describe as it keeps each windows text at that sort of A4 paper shape all PDF are formated with, and most websites actually render nicely in (I still have pretty sharp eyes and this monitor has good DPI so it stays readable even if its rather small with 5 vertical windows).

      1. I wouldn’t mind ultra-wide monitors as long as you have enough vertical pixels to render stuff in sufficient detail – but when you pick a monitor physically tall enough for a normal viewing distance, it gets so wide that it knocks my stereo speakers off the table.

        If you want to get to the really nice resolutions, the monitor sizes blow up to 30″ and above, because the dot pitch is still the same .20 mm as it was 20 years ago. It really hasn’t improved for consumer desktop monitors.

        1. There are a few monitors out there with finer pitch – but really there isn’t much point, a computer monitor is viewed from only so close, no point making the spot size so damn small you can glue it to your eyeball and still not tell there are pixels in that case…

          Yeah I’m lucky in that long long ago I went to dual 20 something inch diagonal wide screen monitors, which means everything long ago got put in places super wide screen space doesn’t matter – I just couldn’t ever go back. (My current screen is actually a little too big really for the normal viewing distance – rather fills the FOV, at least when used as a single monitor screen, but its great for monitoring many windows/PC’s and is also my ‘TV’ so being bigger there is great…)

          1. There’s two schools to that. I fall in the camp of, the monitor should be sharper than my eyes so I’m looking at the picture and not the pixels.

            Assuming I have average vision, and my viewing distance is 70 cm, then the pixel pitch that I’m still able to see is 0.7m x tan(1/60 deg) = 0.203 mm which is 125 PPI. This is still seeing individual pixels, which means that any anti-aliasing or re-sampling of images will blur and drop the actual visual resolution of the picture below my eyes’ resolving power.

            Line resolution, which is the ability to draw distinct separate lines, is measured in contrasting line pairs. For a rectangular mosaic grid, the line resolution depends on orientation: you get artifacts. Generally speaking, these artifacts more or less vanish when the line width is greter than sqrt(2) times the pixel pitch, which means the “real” resolving power of the monitor is about 0.7 times its resolution. This is also known as the Kell factor, although the actual Kell factor varies depending on content and intent.

            So, in summary, to achieve my goals, the monitor should have a resolution of about 175 pixels per inch or greater. Beyond that point I should be unable to see artifacts caused by the monitor itself.

          2. I’d agree the monitor should be sharp enough at the viewing distance you don’t see the pixels, and my point is the PC monitors generally default to that sort of pixel density – as the viewing distance is always going to be something in the 50-110cm range on a PC there isn’t much need for the stupidly high pixel density you might get on some portable devices (and the pixel counts on them don’t really make sense anymore either).

            Heck its not all that uncommon now to get 8K monitors in the 20 something inch sizes, which is entirely stupid, just way too many pixels for a sane viewing distance. Around 200dpi monitors are pretty damn common, and the 125 your .2mm pitch gives is fine if you sit just a little further back, its still in that sweetspot range for invisible at normal viewing distances, just not so hot on the shorter end of the normal distance range…

            Trying to measure my distance to my screen myself is tricky, but I’m definitely sat around 80cm (probably actually further away as operating the measure at the same time changes how you sit somewhat) from the closest point on my screen, which means by your own math 0.2mm pitch would be about right for me in this setup. Which is why monitors come clustered around the 0.15-0.22mm (ish) pixel pitch I would say on average (from a brief skim of all the monitors for sale at one of my usual suppliers), but they do have much finer available, just why bother its more cost for no gain for most folks…

          3. >my point is the PC monitors generally default to that sort of pixel density

            I just showed you by calculation that they don’t. Especially not at 50 cm.

            24″ WQHD – pixel pitch of 0.2058 mm (123 PPI).
            27″ 4K UHD pixel pitch 0.1554 mm (163 PPI)
            30″ WQXGA pixel pitch 0.2505 mm (101.4 PPI)

            That’s the common options, and only one of those comes close to being actually sharp, but not sharp enough for 50 cm.

            > 8K monitors in the 20 something inch sizes

            Those are mad expensive special purpose stuff (medical xrays etc.). Smaller than 24″ you can’t find high resolutions anymore and everything defaults to 1080p until you get to laptop panels under 17″.

          4. Love to know where you are looking, as while my usual supplier does have 1080p panels, even a few of them in larger sizes, most everything is “2K” or higher.

            With the wonders of variation in what such things mean and the vast array of interesting screen ratio etc its not exactly cut and dry but the common ones are all substantially better than 1080p when over 20″…

            Perhaps look at ‘TV’ panels with suitable inputs instead around your way – those come in smaller sizes and high pixel counts too and may be more readily available, and functionally are rarely any different when used as a monitor.

            If you really want sharper than than 0.15mm ish pixel pitch because you do sit that close its pay up time round here, as it gets rare after that (except as inbuilt into laptops – many of those are sharper, though obviously not all models or anything close)

          5. > because you do sit that close

            The perfect pixel pitch for 70+ cm would be 0.145 mm. That’s far enough that you can’t reach the monitor with your hand.

            >its pay up time round here

            That’s the problem. Too pricy, nobody buys them, nobody stocks any, shipping costs extra, warranties and returns are difficult… and the television panels don’t adhere to sRGB or AdobeRGB but their own color standards.

          6. The TV likely will work exactly the same as a monitor, as they are often the same panel, with largely the same electronics, but if you really are sort to care so very much about perfect colour and supreme pixel density of course you are going to have to pay for it, as 99% of folks don’t give a monkeys as long as the image is sharp and bright enough to view in the light conditions it will be in, contrasting enough the blacks are not stupidly light grey and with colour that isn’t clearly awful… (Add in fast pixel response times for the more serious gamer). All of which can be had even from pretty damn close viewing positions from every monitor I’ve looked through that isn’t so cheap I wonder why you are buying new, when old second hand will almost certainly have much better specs at that price or even less…

            What you seem to be demanding is a professional artists monitor, which most of us don’t need, and won’t really notice the improvement over a good normal monitor (at least without back to back comparison and a torture test designed to highlight whatever weakness your panel tech has)…

            There are at least round here endless supplies of damn good monitors that are pretty affordable, but when you are demanding something so high end just pay your damn apple tax and get their retina displays, or one of the barely any cheaper “pro” arty type monitors, as it seems to be about the only thing you will actually accept…

            (Also short arms there buddy… Mine are easily able to touch the something at 70cm (But I am reasonably tall, so longer arms are to be expected.))

          7. >The TV likely will work exactly the same as a monitor, as they are often the same panel

            Television color definition standards are different – they have a wider gamut than sRGB. More than not, they’re different panels made specifically for televisions, and while you can set them into “sRGB” mode, that’s done simply by mapping the input to a smaller bit-depth.

            >What you seem to be demanding is a professional artists monitor, which most of us donโ€™t need

            No, not at all. Perfectly average priced consumer monitors come with 99% sRGB or better. The point is just to avoid the weird color casts and other artifacts in the cheaper TN/VA panels. A “professional artist monitor” would have extra features like 10 bit gamma correction and full factory calibration etc. etc.

          8. One point about having close to 100% sRGB is that you can more easily color match two different monitors. If you throw in something that’s supposed to be a small television, you’re never going to get them to agree.

          9. Unless you are pro calibrating your dispays dude even 95%+ of whichever colour system you are using won’t be the same thing – even panels of the same make and model off the production line will usually in the more consumer grade have differences when you put two of them right next to each other, even though they will check out as inside the RGB spec given…

            I can agree its nice to have great colour calibration, but ultimately almost everyone is happy with just having colours that look something close enough to how they should that the graph/movie/picture they are rendering doesn’t look wrong, and any panel at all should do that just fine. Expecting the cheap panels to all match that well, especially if you inisist you must have pixel density far higher than the norm for monitors, as most folks apparently sit further away, however…

        2. I found my ‘perfect size’ monitor… 32″ with 2560×1440 resolution. Enough room for apps and easy on the eyes. And budget friendly. And of course Linux allows you switch between multiple desktops as needed too. I found 4 desktops are more than enough for me. So plenty of room….

          I have a 28″ 4K monitior and while ‘crisp’ the applications are so small, it makes the eyes tired. Proper size for a 4K monitor should be in the 40″ range I suspect which is way to big for a desktop monitor (in my opinion).

          1. You can override the reported “physical size” provided to the computer over HDMI by the screen, and thereby get a saner DPI for rendering stuff on screen.

            I had to do this recently for a monitor which incorrectly claimed to be physically quite large over HDMI, making rendered fonts absolutely tiny by default.

            Some /etc/ text config fu required.

    1. Never used it, but logically Linux Mint, is a very good option, very large number of Linux Mint users to look to for support and since it is based on Ubuntu, you have everyone there to look for solutions to problems you may or may not encounter and since Ubuntu is based on Debian, you have all the Debian based distributions to look towards for answers.

      Me personally I choose Devuan simply because my hatred of systemd is so strong. If it did one thing and that one thing well I would have no issue with it. But systemd is like the borg, someday systemd will assimilate the kernel and at the rate it is chomping through things that will not be very long.

    2. Been an on and off linux user for many years up untill about 10 years ago, started to daily mint on an old chromebook, and started my business, decided to use only linux there too for obv cost reasons and have not looked back, I still keep some laptops and quite a few windows VM’s about for proprietary applications. but honestly the switch to linux has been painless. to a point I bought a windows 11 laptop last week as I had a new windows program I had to run on bare metal .. first hurdle setting it up without a Microsoft account(thanks youtube;), then all the pestering popups and alerts, after a few hours use I was craving linux. And no doubt in 2 weeks time a windows update will screw something up. so yeah, mint is a really good choice if your deciding to jump ship.

      1. Run thisiswindows11 utility to debloat/win10-i-fy your distro. Win11 is not for primetime yet. But that helps.

        Actually just download win10 its a lot less crappy to start with and will auto-activate fine on your new machine (at least it did on my HP)

    3. I second this – I’ve been dailying Mint for about a decade now on my own machines, and even felt safe enough from tech support hell to install it on my partner’s PC and my mum’s PC which saved both of them from an expensive hardware upgrade and having to pay M$ for a new and inevitably worse OS.

      Since both of them basically just do web + office the default install combo of mint + Firefox + Thunderbird + LibreOffice has proven to be pretty much perfect out of the box.

      Almost everything has been way better than the Windows experience (I have to use Windows at work so have a daily comparison) – most stuff “just works” and does so with *less* pratting about than modern Windows installs, and with zero bloatware / spyware that just seems to be an accepted part of Windows software these days.

      I’m sure if I was trying to use bleeding-edge gaming graphics cards it might be less than seamless but for everything I do it works brilliantly – for development it’s great because USB-RS232 adapters don’t cause a COM port apocalypse.

      If I need windows SW I run it in a bare windows Virtualbox.

  3. A heads up for those that are considering leaving Windows: Try MATE!

    Gnome is by far the most popular desktop in the Linux world, but it feels and behaves differently than “traditional” desktops.

    KDE is another option, but it is so feature-packed it can be overwhelming. Xfce IMO feel rough and development isn’t very active.

    MATE is a nice middle ground in that it is familiar, customizable without being overwhelming and overall a nice balance between simplicity and functionality. Plus it is also actively maintained.

  4. Trust me, there are a lot more reasons to not go to Windows 11 but this one is pretty bad as well. From them trying their best to force you to log on using a Live account, to the times they “accidentally” left an OS supported pop up ad in a release and then the whole trying to force you to use Edge by making it as hard as possible to associate webpage files with another browser (another monopoly lawsuit incoming???) and forcing internal searches to Edge and Bing and thwarting any attempt to redirect to your preferred browser (actively patching any workarounds).

    I finally made the jump to Linux as my main OS and am going to leave any Windows machines I have currently at 10 until it no longer makes sense and then switch those over as well. Heck, at this point, even MacOS is starting to look appealing and that just makes me sad.

  5. With widescreen monitors the extra pixels on the bottom is valuable screen space, and the sides are worth sacrificing. I have mine on the right, ungrouped, and wide with text labels. Windows default was annoying and fatiguing to click on an icon and another click to select the document or folder I have in mind. My browser hosts some 50+ tabs along the top, and my taskbar runs some 16+ items down the right. I move the most active taskbar items and browser tabs towards the top right. Less chance to under/overshoot when I need to use the window/file menu on top left.

    Also great having a taskbar on the sides, running 5 remote desktops it is nice to differentiate the main host when the clients have the bottom bars (running just a few tasks each)

  6. “Yeah, Iโ€™ll admit it: Iโ€™m a Windows person.” Well stop it!

    There are a lot of Linux options. I use it about half the time, especially with VM’s and firmware development, etc. There are stability issues with most of them and plenty of arcane maintenance and “fixes”. The sudden crashes and occasional self-destruction are a pain and dictate a backup strategy. Fortunately Linux also makes it easy to turn a Pi or similar into an NAS.

    I use a dedicated Windows box for only two things. Shipping software from UPS, FedEx, DHL, and USPS. And secure websites that require the latest MS browsers in order for DoD contractors to file purchases secure orders and make payments (rare, but you have to have the right stuff). Exostar is an example for those in the know.

    I use Macs the rest of the time. A big iMac with 5K Retina is so easy on the eyes and just plain ease of use, strain free point-ability of the mouse, NEVER crashing, non-intrusive updates, no pop-ups, etc. Today if I needed one I would get a new Mac with the Apple silicon. For the laptops the battery life and low power (no heat to speak of) and amazing performance have rocked the industry. For desktop the Mac Mini sized boxes have great reviews and again very low power and high performance. The UI is dreamy, though they have changed a few very minor things to copy the worst of the iPhone ideas.

    Anyway, the Macs will run the various VM stuff and all that and the OS is real UNIX and a lot of the popular Linux software runs. I use LibreOffice and Gimp and Inkscape, etc. Anything academics are doing in AI, big data, Jupyter and such is done first on Macs, so there is that as well.

  7. Take a look at Manjaro. It’s a rolling release based on Arch Linux. I think it’s great for beginners who want to be able to grow and the arch user repository (aur) makes things so much easier than the PPAs of debian / Ubuntu. Also you don’t have to keep reinstalling which gets old after a few years. I use Arch now (btw) but Manjaro was the closest to just working that I have ever gotten with all my windows and Linux computing adventures. Also make a separate home partition to keep your data and system separate.

    1. Eh, Manjaro is known for system-breaking package management and remarkably bad security decisions. I love arch-based distros, but I think Mint really is the way to go for a Windows user that just wants something to work.

    2. I also use Manjaro, with the XFCE desktop environment. XfCE is easy to use and configure, reasonably feature-rich, while still feeling about as light-weight as winXP.

    3. Manjaro for me isn’t a first Linux of choice, its for the journeyman Linux user wishing for something that throws them under the bus every now and then as encouragement to get stuck in to the nitty gritty – its a bit too much Arch really.

      Mint is definitely the choice I’d always suggest, or if its older hardware perhaps the Raspbian x86 port (refuse to call it by its new ‘grown up’ boring name), as that is pretty noob to Linux friendly (at least on a Pi) and very good for low end hardware…

    4. Ive two computers which have been rolling updated on mint since mint 18 without a reinstall. And have had no issues with ppa’s but before I tried mint I ran debian so I guess a large part is the familiarity. This isnt a slate against arch, but you can absolutely run mint without reinstalling every big upgrade.

      1. I used Mint until I upgrade one of my boxes ‘at the time’ to a brand new Ryzen AM4 based motherboard. Mint did not support that, so went to ‘latest’ release of Ubuntu that did. After that, I just naturally stuck with Ubuntu and stopped upgrading when 20.04 LTS was released. Nary a problem upgrading through those releases either. Now it is about time to start looking at 22.04 I suppose…. :)

        My first choice when asked about replacing Windows, is still latest Mint with Cinnamon. It is the best thing for an easy ‘transition’ into the Linux world. KDE on Ubuntu isn’t bad either. I installed KUbuntu on my dad’s laptop and he (in his 80s) didn’t have any problem transitioning. I installed KUbuntu also because it is on all my systems now, so if he had problems, I was in familiar territory. Knock on wood, I’ve not had to help much at all, other than occasionally ‘apt update/upgrade’ now and then.

  8. I made the switch a little over a year ago now. I have made the switch in the past and have always reluctantly crawled back to windows after the OS just stopped booting due to some driver issue or just mysteriously deleting itself from GRUB. So I have been pleasantly surprised that every update has not rendered my OS unusable. I am now a very happy linux user, and I feel comfortable and don’t have any desires to ever switching back. I installed a windows VM, but the only thing I actually need it for is to run the old version of EagleCAD that I am comfortable with, but lately I have been teaching myself KiCAD and may be removing the windows VM once and for all. One caveat i have to say is i have a separate windows machine I use specifically for gaming and nothing else since all of the anticheats these days don’t let you play in a VM or natively on Linux, but I am optimistic of the future of Linux gaming now that the SteamDeck is out.

    1. Most booting issues come from dual booting with Windon’t – as M$ doesn’t care to try and play nice with others…

      Nice to hear you are getting on with Linux. And just incase you missed it most anticheats are now supporting Linux, as the steam deck has rather forced them into it. But it is often still down to the dev to tick the boxes to allow it to work still, so not everything will work (yet anyway).

      I too have run a windows VM, for something like 10 years with GPU passthough to game on windoze etc. But since the old workstation died the new gaming/workstation for when the Pi4 isn’t enough hasn’t been fouled by M$ even inside a VM, as I’ve not found a need for it, just one game I like holding out on EAC for proton support (last time I looked), and quite frankly I don’t care enough about that game to bother dealing with a VM (though ironically the Pi4 I do most of my day to day computing on actually does always have at least one VM running – 8gb with decent cooling and an overclock so it handles it really damn well).

  9. I left Windows back when I purchased a Gateway which came with WinME installed. Seriously, it felt like I was the only person in the world to receive that aweful release. Then I woke up the next day to realize that indeed I was, and everyone I knew was running XP. That soured me enough to go with a Mac as my next machine. And at first I hated it, but eventually Steve Jobs showed me the light at the end of the somewhat strange and quirky tunnel of Apple’s endless bag of tricks, and I just kinda began to like it. Then the day came when Apple released High Sierra iirc, along with its new and of course proprietary APFS file system. Apple felt compelled to completely convert and rewrite the entire contents of my platter hdd while the new release was installing itself. Almost felt as if I was being punished for that disparaging remark I had made many years earlier when I was in 3rd grade and our school had just received its very first Apple ][. I said wow, that thing sure is ugly! What is it, a big fancy calculator? Indeed, oh but with this stack of floppies you can play The Oregon Trail. No thanks I said, didnt look like much fun anyways. Ok, cue AndroidOS and enter stage left. My years spent using and believing that the time had come where I could finally dump my big home machine and perform my computing needs all from my smartphone. Lol, whew yeah… Maybe that could work if Google wasnt constantly spawning connections to their servers all over the world to do whatever it is they’re doing, and with priority over anything I wish to do at any given moment. And thank you Google for stealing my bandwidth each month that I do pay for. Ah, and here I am today bitter and jaded over the ridiculously disappointing direction that computer platforms along with their shotty and lackluster OS’s have taken. Meanwhile I watch the world become transfixed in anticipation over the next new release of Android, yet 11 doesnt look much different than 7 or even 6. Oh but wait it comes with this slightly useful new feature that it’s never had before. True, but likely it will vanish in 12… And so here we are, everyone with their slick badass and pocket-sized spybox, which is doing far more than anyone wishes to acknowledge. With our trusty home machine running some new lackluster OS, like Win8, 10, or even 11. I find myself asking, does it even matter anymore? For me, nope for Linux has stolen my heart! The end…

  10. I hate it when software designers force a certain non-standard design paradigm on you. E.g. the French Railways launched a new app in dark-only mode, claiming this saved battery life, with literally tens of thausands complaints about this and the claim being dubious (it only saves power on oled screens, and it doesn’t help much for an app that you’d normally use <2 min/day).
    Or I just got an Android update, which sohow gives me a notification for wifi-calling which I can't remove (so I disabled wifi-calling alltogether)…

  11. 100% a top start menu guy here and was terribly disappointed when I moved to 11. I had to get a third party app to put it back on top. Horrible decision to keep it on the bottom.

      1. Im using XP everyday online.
        No problems for 20 years.
        It runs rings around Win10/11 speed wise on current tech.

        All this hoohaa about ‘you’ll be hacked in under 5 mins’ is garbage. And if ever hacked/owned, so what. Dont keep sensitive stuff on said computer.
        And a reinstall on current tech is like 7 mins.
        Think the problem is majority of people have simply been brainwashed into believing XP is so insecure, and have never actually physically used it to know that it aint that bad.
        I mean, who the heck wants to hack into an old ancient O/S these days anyway?

        Anyway, doesnt openshell /classicshell allow or fix original taskbar problem in Win 11?

        1. So what you’re saying is that W10 (which isn’t awful) will be okay until 2042 at least and I’ll either be gone entirely or will have forgotten both who I am and most of my passwords, so it will work out about the same.

  12. For some years now, my contention has been that software has gotten to the point it is perfectly good and usable, and now changes are being made solely for the sake of change. The bigger problem is old features are getting tossed out along the way. My biggest gripe is Autopreview in Outlook. Prior to 2013, you could set it to do an Autopreview of three lines if the message was unread, and not do Autopreview for read messages. Starting with 2013, it is three lines or no lines, you have no choice. Screwed up my preferred method of working in Outlook that I’d used for years. I found lots of others complaining bitterly, but too bad, so sad says Microsoft.

    Not a fan of Windows 11 either, but for me it was the inability to not group taskbar buttons that sealed the deal. I’ll be running Windows 10 for as long as I can, hopefully they will come to their senses before 10 goes end of support…but not holding my breath. I would be inclined to give Linux a real try if it weren’t for all the Windows-only apps I routinely use.

    1. I think the same. Windows Vista/Seven (7 basically is Vista, but fixed and less pretty) was the pinnacle. Both aesthetically and technologically. Since then, things go down the hill, literally. Minimalism as a concept, I think, does away with anything plaiful or ambitious. It has no place for dreams and imagination. It also extends to removing tradition, roots and legacy. All this manifests in what we see now. Individualism nolonger is part of Windows. Instead, everything comes pre-defined, standardized. That’s why things like this taskbar restriction happen.

  13. I run a custom Debian 11 system that is beautiful and powerful, but at the other end of the spectrum is Windowsfx 11 which costs $35 but offers the most convenient migration for people that want a Windows like experience. The best way to move over to Linux is to use a second machine or a virtual machine to play with the different options until you are better able to make an informed choice as to if you want to jump in the deep end and have total control, or pay and have others hold your hand. One good mid point that others have suggested is Linux Mint.

    As for Microsoft’s way of doing things, that their code base could be such a monolithic pile of junk that can’t be customised says a lot about how backward their systems engineering is, and that should be a red flag even if them just being generally “evil” doesn’t bother you.

    1. All you guys switching to or using Linux are definitely not using any major mechanical CAD package. This and many other software and driver related stuff always made me cringe back to Windows…

  14. What I don’t like is how the mindnumbing Apple & Microsoft grade stupidity is leaking into projects like Gnome.
    Stuff like and essentially hard-forcing a theme with Libadwaita.
    People tend to gravitate towards *nix to escape the “we know better than you” design mentality, not to experience it all over again.

  15. Wait, people still run Windows on bare metal?

    I guess “convenience” (read: unwillingness to commit to anything that’s actually easier to use, because reasons) trumps reliability, safety and security. Paying Microsoft for the right to rent your computer from them, while they’re harvesting your data? No thanks.

    VFIO/IOMMU passthrough master race.

    1. How is running Windows in a VM any safer than running Windows on separate boot device? As long as you’re using Windows at all you’re “Paying Microsoft for the right to rent your computer from them, while theyโ€™re harvesting your data.”

      Running in a VM doesn’t magically prevent telemetry, unless the VM is isolated from the Internet in which case you’re probably not doing anything that won’t work with WINE.

      1. I suppose he/she/they means that in a VM, you can freeze/pause Windows, at least. For the time you don’t need it.

        The real host OS or another VM can then be used to do web browsing, writing e-mails, video chats etc.

        That way, Windows 1x won’t get in touch with any private information or personal files, such as family pictures, address book, browser history.
        – Apple does such things already, by the way.
        Poor people who have innocent baby pics of their kids on HDD..

        If Windows was in charge as the host OS, it would still snoop network traffic, analyze user behavior, hand writing, record human voice via the microphone or your headphones (just think of Cortana for example, possibly by soft-switching MIC-In/Speaker jacks) etc.

        Linux is certainly not the cure for everything, but it’s not THAT worse yet.
        There are so many distributions out there, so that there’s no single owner/company in charge.

  16. There’s a tool called Explorer Patcher which can do what most people would want to do with their taskbar:

    – Disable Windows 11 context menu and command bar in File Explorer..
    – Open Start to All apps by default, choose number of frequent apps to show, display on active monitor…
    – Choose between the Windows 11, Windows 10 and Windows NT Alt-Tab window switcher with customization.
    – Quality of life improvements for the shell, like: Skin tray menus to match Windows style, make them behave like flyouts and center them relative to the icon.
    – Choose action when left and/or right clicking the network icon.
    – Revert to the Windows 7 search box in File Explorer, or disable Windows Search altogether.
    – Disable immersive menus and use mitigations that help you run the real classic theme without glitches.

  17. MS is so out of touch.

    Pushing garbage software on you with windows crap date, forcing you to install updates before shutting down, twisting your arm real hard to use their MS account stuff… I’m literally buying a Mac as we speak, sicj of being treated like this tbh.

  18. One of the best distro out there
    Zorin OS 16
    Based on Ubuntu 20.04.3
    GNOME and XCFE versions available
    They have said that Zorin OS 17, based on Ubuntu 22.04 will be released in somewhere around mid 2023

  19. I only use Win10 on one laptop because of AutoDesk Inventor and NI Dashboard. I put the taskbar on the right hand side, out of the way, and leave the whole screen for applications.

    My older laptop is a Dell with a 4K UHD running Win 8. It will be updated to linux soon as I am no longer using it for Inventor. My taskbar is on the right where it belongs.

    My Office computer is running PopOS. Its a Ubuntu based OS with built in support for Radeon Graphic Cards. Taskbar defaults to the top but I’m using a 48″ 4K HDTV equivalent to four 1080P screens. Just move and size the application you are using to wherever you like it. I find I’m using the Win Key more as moving the mouse across a 4K screen to select something on the taskbar is a waste of time.

    My family room computer is also running PopOS. Keeping the version of linux I’m using the same.

    My oldest laptop is on the same version of PopOS. But it only has a 720P display and will be used to run GCodeSender to drive a CNC.

    I do not use cloud services on any of these computers. We log in locally, and store locally, and share files between them.

  20. I’ve had the taskbar on the left side of the screen for years and years. Have not upgraded to W11 for this single reason. It is a complete deal breaker for me. Should not have to use a 3rd party application for functionality as basic as this.

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