By default on Windows 10, whenever you open a new instance of the same app, program, file or folder a new icon for that particular instance will stack behind the first instance on the system taskbar. If you’d rather this didn’t happen and would like to see all instances side by side, this guide will show you how to change the setting on Windows 10.


Windows 10 has come a long way since its original launch, with several major updates being released to add new features and address original shortcomings. Although most Windows users are very fond of the current taskbar icon stacking system, some find it frustrating. The good news is that if you would prefer items on the taskbar to stack in the old-fashioned Windows XP style (side by side) Windows 10 still allows you to do so. Below are the three options available that you can choose from.

  • Always, Hide Labels - This is the standard format that Windows 10 comes set to. Each taskbar item only has one icon without a text label. If multiple windows for an item are open, a small stack like icon will replace the original icon.

how to change taskbar icon stacking

  • When Taskbar is Full - This option adds text labels to taskbar icons and shows each item individually until the taskbar becomes full. Once the taskbar is full of open items, any instances of the same item will be combined into a single stacked icon. (the same as the default style)

how to change icon stacking on windows 10 taskbar

  • Never - Windows will show each running icon as an individual item with a text label, even if the taskbar is full. As the taskbar gains more items, they will remain grouped with the amount space allocated to each icon shrinking.


How to Disable Taskbar Button Combining (Stacking) on Windows 10.

Good news, unlike a lot of other things on Windows 10, this change is nice and simple to perform and won’t require you to make any changes in the registry or use Powershell and Command Prompt. Instead, all you need is access to the Settings menu. To begin, open Settings, go to Personalization, then click on Taskbar at the bottom of the list.

Next, pick the option that suits you under the Combine Taskbar Buttons heading. Always, Hide Labels, When Taskbar is Full or Never. If you have programs, folders or apps open in the taskbar, you will see the change take effect immediately. Once you have set the option you like, simply close the Settings window and the new format will be locked in. If at any stage you wish to change things back, just return to the same location.

If you are looking to make some more changes to your Windows 10 user experience, check out two of the below articles.

How to Get a Mac-like Icon Dock on Windows 10.

How to Add or Remove Any Icon From the Windows 10 Taskbar.