The Windows taskbar is a handy place for storing frequently used apps as well as apps that you currently have open. But you can tweak it to make it work the way you want. Move the taskbar to other sides of the screen, automatically hide it when you don’t need it, or change the size of the icons. And you can select which icons appears on the taskbar by default. Let’s check out how.
Move the Taskbar
By default, the taskbar appears at the bottom of the screen. But you can move it to the top or either side of the screen. To do this manually, click on any empty area of the taskbar and drag it to your preferred location.
If you’d rather let Windows do the moving for you, right-click on any empty area of the taskbar and click on Taskbar settings from the pop-up menu. Scroll down the Taskbar settings screen to the entry for “Taskbar location on screen.” Click the drop-down box and set the location for left, top, right, or bottom.
Don’t leave the Taskbar settings screen just yet; there are several more tweaks we can make here.
Hide the Taskbar
Let’s say you want the taskbar to remain hidden unless you move your mouse to its location. If you’re using your Windows PC or other device in desktop mode, turn on the option at the top of the screen that says: “Automatically hide the taskbar in desktop mode.”
If you’re using a tablet or other device in tablet mode, turn on the option that says: “Automatically hide the taskbar in tablet mode.” Your taskbar will vanish and only reappear when you move your mouse cursor to the location of the bar.
Adjust Icon Size
Now let’s say you want to be able to squeeze more icons onto the taskbar. Turn on the option for “Show small taskbar buttons,” and the existing icons shrink in size. Too small? Turn off the same option to return them to their larger size.
Peek at the Desktop
Do you want to be able to sneak a peek at your desktop without closing or minimizing all your open windows? Turn on the option for “Use Peek to preview the desktop when you move your mouse to the Show desktop button at the end of the taskbar.” Now move your mouse to the lower right corner of the screen, and your desktop should appear. Move your mouse cursor away from that spot, and your desktop goes back into hiding.
Okay, now let’s say you have so many icons nestled on the taskbar that there’s barely room for them on a single row.
You can resize the taskbar to make it grow taller. Just grab the top border of the taskbar and drag it up until it takes up two rows.
If you decide to get rid of most of the icons, you can reduce the height of the taskbar back to a single row by dragging down the top border. Depending on how you resize the toolbar, you can also take precautions so you don’t accidentally resize it. At the Taskbar settings screen, turn on the option to “Lock the taskbar.” Now you won’t be able to resize it unless you turn off the option to lock it.
Here’s another way to set how icons fit on the taskbar. Scroll down the Taskbar settings screen until you see the section for “Combine taskbar buttons.” Click on the drop-down box beneath, and you’ll see three options: “Always, hide labels,” “When taskbar is full,” and “Never.”
“Always, hide labels” means Windows will always combine multiple open files from a single application, like browser tabs, into one taskbar button. Hover over the button for such an application to see a preview of what files are open.
“When taskbar is full” normally displays a separate button for each file you’ve opened. But when the taskbar gets full, those three separate buttons will be condensed into one. And “Never” means the taskbar buttons never get combined, no matter how full the taskbar gets.
Customize the System Tray
Finally, you can choose which icons appears in the System Tray at the right corner of the screen (clock, Wi-Fi, volume, etc.).
First, scroll down the Taskbar settings screen to the section for “Notification Area.” Click on the link for “Select which icons appear on the taskbar.”
At the “Select which icons appear on the taskbar” screen, turn on the icons that you wish to see in the System Tray and turn off the ones you want to stay hidden.
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Once you narrow it down, you can turn icons on or off easily on the Taskbar settings screen under “Turn system icons on or off.”
At the “Turn system icons on or off” screen, turn on the system icons you wish to see in the System Tray and turn off the ones you don’t need to see.