Changing the look of the Windows 7 taskbar

By default the Windows 7 taskbar combines all open applications within its taskbar icon, like this:


The only way to tell whether an application is open or not is to notice that its icon is subtly highlighted.

Icons and titles

A few weeks ago, however, I stumbled upon a setting in Windows 7’s Taskbar and Start Menu Properties dialog that did this to my taskbar:

Windows 7 taskbar

The open applications have now expanded and include something of its title. And I have to say that I rather like it. In my opinion it combines the best of both the Windows XP taskbar and Windows 7 taskbar.

What to do…

  1. Right-click the Start orb.
  2. Click on Properties.
  3. A dialog window will appear. Click on the Taskbar tab.
  4. The “Taskbar buttons” drop-down has three options. The default is the first one, choose the second or third depending on whether you ever want just the icons.
  1. Always combine, hide labels.
  2. Combine when taskbar is full.
  3. Never combine.
  • Click OK.

And that’s it.

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