Customize Windows Task Bar and Start Menu

Chances are that you have been using Windows 7 for years.  However, did you know that you can change how the Start Menu and taskbar look and act?

Why Tweak the Taskbar and Start Menu?

So why would you want to change the taskbar that you have come to love(or hate)?  Efficiency and usability are the main reasons.  When my PC at work was upgraded from Windows XP to Windows 7 I found my entire workflow and how I organized my tasks needed to change.  This was to allow it to flow better with the user interface changes of Windows 7.  Or did this need to change?  The answer is mostly no as I was able to get about 90% of the same usability and readability that I was use to back into Windows 7.

Examples Of Possible Changes

So knowing now that you can change up the taskbar, how drastically can you change it?  There are some pretty large changes you can make and each one can have a subtle or large impact on how you work.

Some of the changes you can make are the following:

Disable Grouping  – Disables the grouping of taskbar buttons or window icons to a single button/icon when the taskbar is full.  This will keep each application window separate and show the window title so you can more quickly find what you need.

Unlocked Taskbar – Allows you to change the size and position of the taskbar by clicking and dragging.  This can allow more space to show open programs and windows or move the taskbar to the sides or top of the screen.  Once your changes are made you can lock it again to ensure stray clicks/drags do not change your set up.

Small Icons – This can reduce the size of the taskbar back to a Vista and earlier style row height, or allow you to fit two rows of icons/buttons if used in conjunction with unlocking the taskbar and doubling its size.

Pinned Applications – You can pin applications to both the Start Menu and the taskbar to have them always show for easy access to programs and folders.

Number of Start Menu Items – Under the start menu you can decrease or increase the number of icons that show up in the most used application area.

Notification Area Display Settings – You can select rules for all applications that use it.  Pick from never show anything, show only when there is a notification or always show the icon in the tray.

Looking for more examples or how to get to these options?  Check out the gallery  to look at an overview of what is available.  I have not covered everything so feel free to explore the other options you see that I have not covered.


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