Customize the Windows 7 Taskbar!

December 21, 2010, By Christian Cawley

The Windows 7 taskbar can be manipulated and configured to display favourite applications, resized as required and even repositioned to meet your preferences.

It might just look, like a strip of colour with a few applications docked into it, but the taskbar can prove extremely useful in finding out a great deal of information – as well as saving you from pressing the reset switch on your PC when you run into trouble!

Even more interesting is the way in which you can easily create shortcuts to your favourite applications along the taskbar, as well as enable and disable thumbnails to currently open software…

Customize Windows 7 taskbar propertiesWindows 7 Taskbar Properties

You can access the Taskbar settings by right-clicking your mouse and selecting Properties. On the Taskbar tab you can Lock the taskbar to prevent it from being moved, Auto-hide the taskbar to allow the taskbar to slip out of view when it is not being used, and Use small icons to save space.

From this tab you can also access the Notification area and Aero Peek settings.

The taskbar location can be changed by dragging the item around your desktop, but it can also be repositioned using the Taskbar location on screen: option.

Meanwhile, you might like to resize or lock the taskbar – you can change how much of the screen it takes up by hovering your mouse over the edge of the taskbar, waiting for the two-headed arrow to appear and then left-clicking and dragging the taskbar’s edge to where you want it. Also by right-clicking the taskbar you can Lock the taskbar to retain its current settings.

In addition to accessing properties, by right-clicking you can also Start Task Manager, a great way to access the vital tool for closing programs that don’t run correctly.

Enable and Disable Windows 7 Taskbar Thumbnail Previews

You will probably notice how running applications will have a small icon on the taskbar, and for regularly used software you can ensure that these icons stay where they are. This is done by right-clicking the taskbar icon for the application when running and selecting Pin this program to taskbar, which effectively docks the software.

Docked applications can also be previewed by hovering your mouse over them, prompting a small window to appear detailing the current contents of that application. If you were running a video clip in Windows Media Player you would see a smaller representation of the clip.

If you don’t want these previews to appear, you can disable them! Go to Start and right-click Computer to access the Properties. Here, select Advanced system settings > Advanced Performance > Settings and find Enable desktop composition. Clear the checkbox and hit Apply – your display will alter slightly, and the previews will be disabled! (Note that Aero will also be disabled.)

With all of these Windows 7 taskbar settings and features at your command you should be able to configure it to suit your own needs. My own preference is to have as slim a taskbar as possible on the left side of the desktop with auto-hide active in order to maximise my desktop display.

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