Windows 10 taskbar change could be a problem for those who haven’t activated the OS

Windows 10
(Image credit: Microsoft)

Windows 10 has witnessed a taskbar change which, if it stays in place – at the moment it’s just in testing – could have an impact on those who haven’t paid for their copy of the operating system, and haven’t yet activated it.

The plan is to take some of the options currently available when you right-click the taskbar, and move them into the taskbar category under the Settings app (in personalization).

As Windows Latest reports, in fresh preview builds of Windows 10, Microsoft is experimenting with moving some options to the Settings app, including the ability to show or hide various buttons (such as Task View, or Windows Ink Workspace), plus options for the Search box in the taskbar (including the ability to hide that).

This would further centralize the various taskbar options under Settings, and perhaps hints at a future for Windows 10 where some of these options don’t appear when right-clicking the taskbar – although that’s far from certain, and it wouldn’t exactly be convenient either.

Activation stations

Another point to bear in mind is that it’ll be a bit more of a blow to the convenience of users who haven’t activated Windows 10, too, seeing as if the OS isn’t activated, then it’s not possible to access personalization options. That already forbids doing things like automatically hiding the taskbar, but it could potentially see the removal of more abilities for these users, like the aforementioned search box and button options.

Of course, it’s unlikely that you haven’t activated Windows 10, but there are some users out there who keep using Microsoft’s operating system in this manner.

In fact, it’s perfectly possible to keep on trucking with Windows 10 without needing to activate it, although you do forfeit any ability to personalize the desktop as mentioned, and there are other restrictions including a watermark being present at all times. Otherwise, the core functions of the OS run fine in this manner – although there’s no guarantee that this will remain the case, and it could change as soon as tomorrow (or more abilities could be stripped away).

In other words, inactivated users are still (and always will be) running at their own risk, although perhaps Microsoft is happy to have the added Windows 10 user numbers – at least for the time being – and maybe these folks are still spending elsewhere in the Microsoft ecosystem via Windows 10.

Darren is a freelancer writing news and features for TechRadar (and occasionally T3) across a broad range of computing topics including CPUs, GPUs, various other hardware, VPNs, antivirus and more. He has written about tech for the best part of three decades, and writes books in his spare time (his debut novel - 'I Know What You Did Last Supper' - was published by Hachette UK in 2013).