Though the taskbar has been modified slightly with the upgrade to Windows 10, its basic functionalities remain largely the same. In other words, it remains as useful as ever, but there are ways you can make the user experience even better! In this post we explain to you exactly how to do that.
1. How to hide the taskbar
The taskbar might be distracting at times, so it’s good to know you can hide it if you really want to. To do that, just right click on it and select Properties, then check Auto-hide the taskbar and click OK. Now, the taskbar will disappear and only show up when you move the cursor to the bottom of your screen.
Also note that, if you switch from desktop and tablet modes, the taskbar will be auto-hidden in both cases. To bring the taskbar back into view while in tablet mode, just swipe up.
2. How to relocate the taskbar
We’re all used to seeing the taskbar at the bottom of the screen, but this doesn’t mean you can’t have things otherwise if you so choose to. It might look a bit strange, sure, but, you can actually move the taskbar against any side of the screen you want.
All you have to do is right-click it and make sure Lock the taskbar is disabled. Then, left click and hold over an empty spot on the task bar and drag it to wherever you want.
If you want to keep it there on a permanent basis, just right click the taskbar again and enable Lock the taskbar.
3. How to use jump lists
A jump list is a sort of content-sensitive menu which offers something different depending on the program. To access one just right click on an open program or a pinned icon on your taskbar. Firefox’s jump list includes the websites you’ve accessed the most, as well as tasks like opening a new window. Steam, on the other hand, will have something which lets you quickly access your Library or Big Picture mode.
Something most programs` jump lists have in common is the ability to pin shortcuts to the top. To do that, access the lump list and hover over what you want to pin. Then, simply left click the pin icon on the right and will be permanently placed at the top.
4. How to add toolbars and Quick Launch
By putting toolbars on your taskbar you not only keep shortcuts conveniently close at all times, but you also have access to minimized versions of particular programs. There are loads of different toolbars you can add, significantly streamlining your user experience.
To add a toolbar, right click on the taskbar and head over to Toolbars. There you’ll find some of the default options, like Desktop (which is a shortcut to all items located there) and Links (which provides quick access to your favorite online spots). Some programs, like iTunes, have their very own toolbars.
If you also want the old Quick Launch toolbar from Windows 95 to XP, you can bring it back in this version of Windows as well. To do that, right click the taskbar, then go to Toolbars and select New toolbar… . Finally, input the following line into Folder and hit Enter:
%userprofile%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch
After you’ve done that, right click your taskbar again and deselect Lock the taskbar. If you want Quick Launch to appear just as icons, right click on it on your taskbar and deselect Show text and Show title. Also, you can click and drag the slider to choose how much space is reserved for it.
In order to customize which icons appears, press Win + R, input the folder path given earlier, and hit Enter. Now you can place the shortcuts and folders you want to see appear on the taskbar.
5. How to change the search engine
One of the most remarkable features of Microsoft’s latest operating system is the introduction of the personal assistant Cortana, which can be found in the new search box that occupies your taskbar.
This search bar is a great, allowing you to comb through both your system and the web, however it uses Bing as the search engine, which might be a bit of a letdown if you prefer a certain other, more popular tool for this.
One way to change this is by going to Firefox, typing about:preferences in the URL bar, then hitting Enter and navigating to Search in the left-hand menu. Once on that screen, you can choose the search engine you prefer from the dropdown menu and the tick Use this search engine for searches from Windows.
If you use Chrome, there’s the Chrometana app, which allows you to choose between Google, Yahoo, and DuckDuckGo.
6. How to use the 7+ Taskbar Tweaker
While the 7+ Taskbar Tweaker is definitely not new, it only recently got updated to also support Windows 10. This handy tool extends the functionality of the taskbar beyond anything you could hope to accomplish using the standard features offered by the operating system.
To start using it, you’ll have to first go to the official website and download it, then install it following some simple instructions.
Some of the options you can tinker with include: changing what happens when you clock in an empty space; changing how various programs are grouped together; controlling the volume using you mouse scroll wheel when hovering over a notification area. There’s a lot you can explore on your own, and we encourage you to do just that!