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Windows provides a plethora of customizations to the taskbar. You can change the position of the taskbar, customize how the items should look on the taskbar, change its size, change its display status, etc. All these customizations are provided by this Control Panel applet.

How to Launch It

  • Open the traditional Control Panel through the Start Screen or using the Run Windows command “control”.
  • Select “Category” view for Control Panel.
  • Select “Appearance and Personalization” category. This opens a new page containing the subcategories.
  • Select “Taskbar”. This will launch the applet as a small, 3-tabbed window.

The applet provides its functionalities through 3 tabs. The following customizations are available.

Taskbar Tab

This tab lets you customize the properties of the taskbar itself. The following customizations are available.

  • Lock the taskbar – This will lock the taskbar to its current size, and will prohibit any further resizing of the taskbar.
  • Auto-hide the taskbar – If enabled, this will hide the taskbar from the display, until the focus comes back on it, usually through mouse or keyboard shortcuts.
  • Use small taskbar buttons – If checked, the icons of the taskbar becomes smaller in size. This is ideal for smaller screens.
  • Taskbar location on screen – You can position the taskbar along any of the top, bottom, left and right edges of the screen.
  • Taskbar buttons – This specified how each taskbar item should be displayed.
    • o Always combine, hide labels – This will collect all the windows of the same application under one icon. Also, only the icon can be seen; not the name of the application. This is the default view on the taskbar.
    • o Combine when taskbar is full – This will keep the windows of the same application separate, until there is no space left on the taskbar. The name of the application is visible in this setting.
    • o Never Combine – The windows will always be shown separated, under their own icons. Also, the name of each window is visible.

The above picture combines several customizations of the taskbar – small icons, combine items only when taskbar is full, and taskbar positioned at the top edge of the screen.

Peek Preview

This option lets you “peek” at the desktop anytime. Move your cursor to the right end of the taskbar. This will make all the existing windows transparent, and you will be able to see the desktop through all the windows.

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Customize Notifications area (or system tray)

You can customize which notification icons to show on the system tray, and when to show them. Click on “Customize…” button on the Taskbar tab, which will launch the window to customize system tray.

Jump Lists Tab

This tab provides options to customize the contents of the Jump Lists that each taskbar icon can show.

You can specify

  • The number of items that a Jump List can show
  • Whether a Jump List can show recently opened programs
  • Whether a Jump List can show items recently opened by an application

Toolbars Tab

The taskbar can include certain utility toolbars. This tab lets you specify which toolbars to include in the taskbar.

The tab lists 4 toolbars.

  • Address toolbar – Type in any address. If it is a local address like “Control Panel” or “D:Installers”, Windows Explorer will open to that location. If it is a web URL like “www.google.com”, Internet Explorer will launch with that webpage.
  • Links toolbar – This toolbar gives you a quick access to all the web addresses that you have favorite in Internet Explorer.
  • Touch Keyboard – This toolbar launches an on-screen touch-optimized keyboard.
  • Desktop – This toolbar contains links to all the places of your system – My Documents, Libraries, Control Panel, System Drive, other drives, etc.
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About the Author

Onuora Amobi is the Founder and VP of Digital Marketing at Learn About The Web Inc. Onuora has more than a decade of information security, project management and management consulting experience. He has specialized in the management and deployment of large scale ERP client/server systems.

In addition to being a former Microsoft MVP and the founder and editor of EyeOnWindows.com, he is the CEO of a Pasadena based online marketing education startup - Learn About The Web Inc. (www.learnabouttheweb.com) and The Redmond Cloud (https://www.theredmondcloud.com).

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One Comment
  1. Nice info. Wondering how to reach it(below) under dos-box?
    Control PanelAppearance and PersonalizationPersonalizationDesktop Background

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