After two years, Windows 11's taskbar finally has new thumbnails and animations

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After two long years, Microsoft finally addressed one of the biggest complaints about the update: the lackluster taskbar thumbnails. The latest preview build, 26052, packed with new features like the new ‘Experience’ with Copilot in Windows, brings much-needed improvements, including smooth animations and enhanced File Explorer titles.

Hovering over your app icons will now reveal a delightful animation, adding a touch of modernity to the taskbar experience. However, there’s a catch: this feature is currently hidden and requires the ViVeTool app for activation, a third-party, open-source command-line utility used to interact with Windows Feature Management APIs.

Moreover, the update enhances File Explorer titles by displaying the number of open tabs alongside the folder name. So, instead of just seeing “Downloads,” you’ll now see “Downloads and 5 more tabs.”

While these improvements are welcome, it’s important to remember they’re still under development. Microsoft hasn’t officially announced them, and some bugs are lurking around, like thumbnails appearing in light mode despite dark mode being enabled.

To enable taskbar thumbnail improvements in Windows 11 build 26040, you can follow these steps as reported by Taras Buria:

  1. Download ViveTool from GitHub and unpack it in a convenient location.
  2. Open an elevated Command Prompt (run as Administrator).
  3. Use the CD command to navigate to the folder containing the ViveTool files. For example, type “CD C:\Vive”.
  4. Type “vivetool /enable /id:29532725” and press Enter.
  5. Restart your computer.

More about the topics: windows 11