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Customize the Vista Taskbar

The Windows Vista taskbar gives you quick access to all open windows and can be customized to enhance your efficiency. Learn, in this guide, how to move, resize, hide, and even add toolbars to the taskbar.

This guide is included as part of the Windows Guides Customize Vista Desktop and Start Menu Series. Please visit the main page if you would like to learn why this guide may be useful.

Please Note: This guide involves working with the Windows Registry. If this is your first time editing the registry, please read this guide to get you started. Learn how to backup and restore your registry here.

Moving the Taskbar

By default, the taskbar resides at the bottom of your screen. You can move the taskbar to any side of the screen or even to another screen if you use more than one monitor. To move the taskbar, do the following:
1. Right click the taskbar and ensure ‘Lock the Taskbar’ is unchecked

Customize the Windows Taskbar 1

2. Point to a blank spot on the taskbar and drag the taskbar to the side of the Desktop where you want it
Customize the Windows Taskbar 2

Resizing the Taskbar

By default, the taskbar is one ‘row’ wide. You can resize the taskbar to any size you want. To resize the taskbar, do the following:
1. Right click the taskbar and ensure ‘Lock the Taskbar’ is unchecked

Customize the Windows Taskbar 1

2. Place the mouse pointer on the outer edge of the taskbar until the pointer turns into a two-headed arrow

Customize the Windows Taskbar 3

3. Drag the border to change the size of the taskbar

Controlling Taskbar Grouping

Grouping common items on the taskbar can reduce clutter. If you have five instances of internet explorer running, the grouping option will display them as one button the taskbar. Clicking the internet explorer button will bring up a list of all active Internet Explorer windows.

Disabling Grouping

Grouping isn’t for everyone (including me). To disable grouping, do the following:
1. Right-click the Start button
2. Select ‘Properties’

Customize the Windows Taskbar 04

3. Select the ‘Taskbar’ pane in the ‘Taskbar And Start Menu’
4. Uncheck the ‘Group Similar Taskbar Buttons’ checkbox

Customize the Windows Taskbar 5

Setting Grouping Limitations

To change the number of similar windows that need to be open to ‘kick in’ grouping, do the following:

1. Press the Start button
2. Type in regedit and hit enter

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3. Navigate to HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced
4. Create a new DWORD value named TaskbarGroupSize

Customize the Windows Taskbar 7

In the value field, specify the minimum number of similar windows that need to be open to enable grouping. A setting of 2 groups related items as soon as you open a second window, even if there’s plenty of room on the taskbar; 3 enables grouping as soon as you have three or more similar windows; and so on.
Now log off and log back in to put your new settings into effect.

Auto-hiding the Taskbar

You may find the taskbar gets in the way when you are using a program, or even when you are on your desktop. You can auto-hide the taskbar in two different ways. The first way is to have the taskbar auto-hide when it is not in focus. The other way is to have the taskbar in the background when you maximize a window or move a window over it.

Auto-hiding the Taskbar All the Time

To autohide the taskbar, do the following:
1. Press the Start button
2. Type taskb in the Search box
3. click ‘Taskbar And Start Menu’

Customize the Windows Taskbar 8

The Taskbar and Start Menu Properties dialog box will now display.
4. Check ‘Auto-Hide The Taskbar’

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To access the taskbar, simply move your mouse to the side of the screen the taskbar is located on and it will appear.

Hiding the Taskbar Behind Active Windows

To hide the taskbar behind active windows, do the following:
1. Press the Start button
2. Type taskb in the Search box
3. click ‘Taskbar And Start Menu’

Customize the Windows Taskbar 8

The Taskbar and Start Menu Properties dialog box will now display.
4. Uncheck ‘Keep The Taskbar On Top Of Other Windows’

Customize the Windows Taskbar 10

This guide comes from the ‘Windows Vista – Customization Manual’ [Download a copy now]. The customization manual runs over the basics of customizing your Windows Vista machine to make it more personal. This guide is free of charge to all mintywhite.com readers.



About Rich

Rich is the owner and creator of Windows Guides; he spends his time breaking things on his PC so he can write how-to guides to fix the problems he creates.

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Comments

  • amrita@web Site designdubai

    hi
    thanks for having such intrested knowledge of its

  • hi
    thanks for having such intrested knowledge of its

  • hi
    thanks for having such intrested knowledge of its

  • kelv

    how do i get the desktop to go 3d from the taskbar

  • kelv

    how do i get the desktop to go 3d from the taskbar

  • kelv

    how do i get the desktop to go 3d from the taskbar

  • Asif

    its great. i mean very happy.

  • its great. i mean very happy.

  • its great. i mean very happy.


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