Skip to main content

Windows 11 has the killer multitasking feature we’ve always wanted

Windows 11 is coming soon, and there’s a lot that I like about it. After trying out a “preview” of Windows 11, I mentioned 11 things that excite me the most, including the new Start Menu and the centered Taskbar.

Yet there’s one killer feature that is the highlight of them all. The feature seems to be known as window grouping in its current state, and it makes me pumped for what’s next for Windows.

Related Videos

A journey from an app

The Microsoft Power Toys Fancy Zones App open on Windows 11

Multitasking in Windows has always been a feature that sets it apart from MacOS and Chrome OS. A feature known as “snap assist” lets you snap your apps side by side with a keyboard combination, or hovering the window to a specific side of the screen. Basically, hit Windows key and left, and the app moves to the left. Windows key and right, and it goes right. Or, hover and hold the window right to move that window right and see a suggestion for a window on the left.

That already worked great as it is, and MacOS lacks such a native feature.  However, Microsoft took that further with the free Power Toys app in Windows 10, which lets you set “Fancy Zones” for your apps to make multitasking easier. You can create your own zones and grid of apps, set a canvas of apps, adjust the spacing around the grid of apps, and more. It was multitasking on steroids.

Windows 11 builds on that with some new window grouping controls, now native to the operating system, without the need for any apps.

Enter window grouping

Window grouping in Windows 11 is a real killer feature. It’s not as complete as Power Toys, but it is inspired by that app’s ability to tile windows easier. How do you use it? Well, it’s as simple as hovering over the maximize button. No more need to use a keyboard shortcut or even drag your window around. No need to download Power Toys, even.

Once you hover, with any other open apps in the background you’ll see one of six ways that you can tile the window. You can either tile side by size at an even length, side by side with one side bigger, straight down the middle with each being a vertical column, straight down the middle with the middle one being bigger, and other choices. You even can group the windows in a four-square grid, just like the Microsoft Logo.

The new Windows 11 window grouping features.

Why is this so useful and exciting? Well, it’s because a lot of displays on laptops are getting bigger. With manufacturers moving away from 16:9 to the 3:2 aspect ratio, and the 16:10 aspect ratio, which has more room for multitasking, this lets you fit more on your screen at once. Especially for ultra-wide monitors. It’s now even easier to stay in your multitasking workflow.

Makes your taskbar easier to understand

At the moment it looks like this Windows 11 feature is still a bit limited, but it does help clean up the Taskbar a bit.  In Windows 11, the Taskbar remembers any windows you’ve snapped through window groups and puts them together as one. This helps clean things up, keeping the bottom area of the screen clean, as it often is in MacOS and even ChromeOS.

Plus, it makes getting back to the apps you care about most easier. Yes, you’ll still see the app individually in the Taskbar as it is in Windows 10 if you hover the mouse. However, now you’ll also see the group it is paired with, allowing you to pull it up with the click of a mouse.  It’s a really good change, and shows that next-generation windows will be a productivity powerhouse.

Editors' Recommendations

4 Windows 11 accessibility features that make it easier for everyone to use
Person using Windows 11 laptop on their lap by the window.

Windows 11 feature some big updates for Microsoft's storied operating system visually, but it has made big strides in accessibility as well. Live Captions, updates to the Narrator, and even full voice access might make Windows 11 the most accessible OS Microsoft has ever released.

Regardless of it you need accessibility features to navigate Windows 11 or if you just want to make getting around a little easier, we tried out a slew of features to bring you our favorites. If you want to browse the full list, you can find it by opening the Settings app in Windows 11 and selecting the Accessibility tab.
Live captions

Read more
PC gamers are flocking to Windows 11, new Steam survey says
Shadow of the Tomb Raider on the Alienware 34 QD-OLED.

According to the latest Steam Hardware and Software Survey, more PC gamers are switching to using Windows 11. Although Windows 10 continues to top the charts, it's slowly losing users to Microsoft's newer operating system, as Windows 11 now compromises over a third of all operating systems in Steam's monthly survey.

It's happy news for Microsoft as Windows 11 continues to inch forward in the Steam Hardware Survey. While the survey doesn't include the software and hardware utilized by each and every gamer on the platform, it still shows us some significant averages. Microsoft has continued to push Windows 11 for new PCs, and the latest survey from Steam suggests that the effort is working.

Read more
5 Windows 11 settings to change right now
Person sitting and using a Windows Surface computer with Windows 11.

Windows 11 is great -- it's worth upgrading to from Windows 10. But as with every version of Windows, it's at its best when you make some tweaks to it. Beyond making Windows 11 look like Windows 10, or customizing the Windows 11 taskbar, there are a few changes anyone can make to Windows 11, and they're changes that everyone should make. In my humble opinion, at least.

So, if you're looking for an upgraded, augmented, and altogether better Windows 11 experience, here are the top five changes you should make to it right now.
Disable tracking and personalization
If, like me, you aren't a fan of deep personalization or data collection on you in general, then like me, you'll be looking for the least-tracked version of Windows you can find. While Windows 11 does collect more data on you than previous versions, you can disable some of it, and restrict the way the operating system automatically personalizes your experience.

Read more