One of the most innovative features in Windows 7 is its new much improved taskbar, the bar usually at the bottom of your desktop with Windows Start Menu icon at the left and date and time at the right, and used to be a home in the previous versions (XP and Vista) for all launched programs and the famous quick launch toobar that usually hosts numbers of program shortcuts for easy access. In Windows 7, the taskbar is a place where basically you can
- pin any program so it’s always there waiting for being launched.
- re-arrange the icons just by clicking and dragging.
- preview programs that are running by just hovering over them. More, hovering over the thumbnail in the program will give you a full-screen preview of that window.
A typical taskbar with single running program, idling program, active window, and multiple running program in it looks like this one below:
Besides the 3 basic tips explained above, here are 7 more you may find useful:
Tip 1: New settings in Taskbar Properties
From the taskbar properties in 7, you can make the icon smaller, define the location of the taskbar, and taskbar icons combine options. To do this, right-click the empty space in taskbar, then go to properties.
Tip 2: Enable the Quick Launch Toolbar
For people like me who loves the Quick Launch Toolbar so much, you can still do so in Windows 7. However, it won’t look exactly the same as before. To do so, right-click the empty space in taskbar, go to Toolbar and New Toolbar and browse or type “%userprofile%\appdata\roaming\microsoft\internet explorer\quick launch” into the folder box, and then click Select Folder.
Tip 3: Pin a Folder You use the most
Before, we do that by creating a shortcut either on the desktop or the Quick Launch Toolbar. Now, with pin concept in new taskbar, you can completely forget about the crappy shortcut. I never liked it. To do that, simply hold your mouse over the folder you want to pin up, right click, and drag it onto the taskbar. Windows 7 then automatically pins itself to the Explorer Jump List. To open the folder, right click the Explorer icon and click the folder you want.
Tip 4: Double-up Your Windows
When working within an application, sometimes you just want more of a good thing. To open another window of the same application (assuming the app can run more than one instance), simply hold Shift and click the taskbar icon. You can also middle-click your third mouse button for the same result.
Tip 5: Using Windows Key to Quick Launch the Program
Tip 6: Navigating the Taskbar without Mouse
Yes, it’s true that you can navigate through the taskbar, even full-screen preview the window, without using a mouse. How? Let’s start with a +T which shift your attention to the taskbar and makes is as your active screen. And then you can use the left and right arrow keys to select the application, and up/down arrow keys to preview the window. Just hitEnter to select or launch it. To exit, simply press Esc, the key usually at the left up corner of your keyboard.
Tip 7: Knowing the Jump Lists
Jump Lists is a new feature in Windows 7 that provides a handy way to quickly reach the files you have been working with, aka Recent Files. Most of the Microsoft applications, including Windows Explorer, IE, and Office, have the feature already built-in. Right-click these icons on the taskbar will show you the most recent accessed, opened files. And as tip 3 states, if there are other files you want to keep handy, you can just pin them to the Jump List so they’ll always appear.
Enjoy, and if you have any tips that we haven’t covered, show them in the comments please.