The Taskbar is a fundamental part of Windows. It runs along the bottom of the screen and provides a way to launch applications or access those programs already running. The Taskbar is also home to the Start button, as well as the Notification Area, where Windows displays a clock and various status and control icons.
Despite its importance, the Taskbar straddles a fine line between being available and inconspicuous. It doesn’t always get this balance right, of course, but is possible to customise it in various ways.
In this article we’ll look at the essentials of Taskbar use and ways it can be tailored for your personal use.
We will focus on the taskbar as it appears in Windows Vista and XP. In Windows 7 issues of the taskbar have fundamentally changed, so that one-size-fits-all statements that are not practicable. , Differences in detail are left in the “Windows 7 Taskbar” at the end of this article however.
The geography of the taskbar in Windows XP and Vista is essentially the same, perhaps the most important property sits at the other – the Start button. In XP is green and specifically as ‘ start. With Vista but Microsoft turned on the button start into a ball flag decorated with Windows. But both the path to almost every part is access to the start menu, Windows.
To start a program, click Start with the left mouse button, point to all programs, and then find the appropriate program entries in the submenu that appears. The start menu is a stepping stone to other important Windows functions such as control panel and Windows Explorer (click on “My computer” in XP or computer in Vista). Simply with the objects to discover left mouse button.
The task area
By default, the room directly to the right of the button is start task area. This shows a button for each application started. So, start Microsoft Word and Word button appears area on the taskbar.
The program window (practically for free space on the Windows desktop) minimizes ongoing to switch between applications, incidentally with the left mouse button of the appropriate button in a second click. Although there is no limit to how many this task buttons can appear taskbar on the constraints such as physical space, this practically exist. With more than half a dozen buttons on the standard output system tray is the things can be difficult. But as we later explain taskbar is simple to increase space.
It’s worth, also know that a right click on a task Open button to a menu with options to minimize, maximize or move or close the program window.
The right-hand side of the Taskbar is occupied by the Notification Area (often referred to as the System Tray). As well as a digital clock, this is a place where – in Windows Vista and XP at least – applications are free to place a small icon that can serve various purposes.
Windows itself, for example, places a master volume control here. Left-click the speaker icon for instant access to a volume slider control. Similarly, the Microsoft Security Center uses the Notification Area to display a warning badge that pops up security alert messages.
Right-clicking on an icon in the Notification Area will generally display a pop-up menu, with the specific options dictated by the relevant application or process. Hovering the mouse pointer over an icon here may also display useful information.
The Notification Area can quickly become overrun with such icons, which is why both Windows 7 and Vista introduced more control over this space.
Tweaking the Taskbar
Previously we talked about the taskbar, a thin strip as it appears on a new Windows PC – permanently displayed at the bottom of the screen. However, it and position can be whether the taskbar remains in many ways, including the size also visible.
To try this out, first with the right mouse button on an empty area on the taskbar and in the pop up menu left remove the check mark from taskbar freeze. This enables the taskbar for optimizations.
To it bigger, for example, drag the top of the mouse pointer over until the pointer becomes a double arrow now click and hold the left mouse button while you on. Release the mouse button to set the new size.
Try repositioning the taskbar by clicking and holding the left mouse button on a empty part and then to the right, left or top of the screen. New toolbars of the taskbar that are added to can also.
There is one called finished quick launch, for example. Enable this application to start and icons can be dragged from their position in the start menu in the Quick Launch area, so that they either directly in the system tray. To right-click an empty area of the taskbar, point to toolbars, and with the left mouse button on the quick launch tick.
Make it your own
With the Windows task bar soon becomes second nature we is, but demand touched on some of the customization opportunities here to explore. Adding the Quick Launch bar, for example, you have access to a button show desktop that minimizes all open Windows – a fantastically useful feature.
Also explore the taskbar’s “Properties” for more tweaking right click on a blank area dialog box and choose Properties. See too much else here also options, to speed up taskbar system tray hiding after a few seconds and in Vista, a notification area tab, more control over these annoying warnings allows.
The Windows 7 Taskbar
Microsoft reinvented the Taskbar with Windows 7. Though the Start button and menu look and work in much the same way, the Taskbar and Notification Area are quite different.
For its part the Taskbar now acts more as a ‘dock’, where running applications sit side by side with application icons than have been ‘pinned’ to the Taskbar for quick access.
Running applications are distinguished on the Taskbar by square highlights. The Notification Area, meanwhile, has been reined in, with the user able to dictate exactly which programs have access to this space.