Saturday, November 21, 2009

Windows 7 Taskbar

The one thing that I cannot get used to about 7 is the new Taskbar.  First, Windows 7 replaces the old fashioned task “buttons” with just an icon. 

original taskbar1

Fixing the buttons is easy enough.  Just right click in an open space on the Taskbar, and select Properties.  Check the box labeled “Use small icons”, and change the Taskbar buttons to "Combine when taskbar is full”.  Click OK.

configure taskbar

I could probably get used to just that change, but then they went one step further and removed the Quick Launch too.  For those of you who don’t know, the Quick Launch is that area next to the “Start” button/Orb with all of the tiny icons.  Out of the box, Windows 7 has the ability to “pin” an icon to the Taskbar, but my opinion is that it just gets in the way of your real “tasks”. 

original taskbar

Here you can see I have UltraEdit (UE), FileZilla (FZ), and my KeePass icons pinned to the taskbar, but because Firefox was already open, it pushed those three icons off to the right.  Basically, it’s messy and you never know quite where you’ll find your icons to launch a program.

Getting the Quick Launch back isn’t difficult, but you do have to know what you’re looking for because it’s not just a simple checkbox (that I could find anyway).

Start by right-clicking the Taskbar in an empty spot, go to Toolbars, select New Toolbar…  When the dialog box pops up, type the following in to the Folder field:

%UserProfile%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch


When done, click the Select Folder button.

That’s all that’s required to get the Quick Launch folder back, but you’ll want to change a couple of things to get it back to “normal”.  Right now it probably looks something like this, with huge chunks of text wasting space.

task with ql

To fix that, right-click in some of the empty expanse taken up by the Quick Launch, and uncheck the two boxes “Show Text” and “Show title”.

turning off labels

That will pretty much get things back to normal, however if you’re like me, you probably have a number of icons already pinned to the Taskbar.  For each icon that’s pinned, right-click on it, and select “Unpin this program from the Taskbar”.

Unpinning icons

That’s it!  Your Taskbar should be back to “normal”.normal task-bar

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