Customize the Windows Taskbar

Microsoft Windows comes with a taskbar that runs across the bottom of your screen. This taskbar is useful because you can add to it your own icons and, in this way, make programs that you use a lot much easier to launch. You can also, if desired, remove any icons from the taskbar that you never or seldom use.

Sometimes you will find the taskbar contains icons for programs you never or seldom use. If desired, you can remove an icon from the taskbar by right clicking the icon and click Unpin this program from taskbar. This removes the program’s icon from the taskbar but remember that you can still launch the program from the Start menu.

It is handy to add icons for programs that you use regularly to the taskbar so you can start them more easily. To add a program’s icon to the taskbar first locate the program in the Start menu by clicking the Start button and type its name. When the program’s name appears, right click it and click the Pin to taskbar option. The program’s icon will now appear on the taskbar and you can click it to launch the program. The icon will remain on the taskbar even if you restart your computer.

You can also control whether the taskbar can be moved or not and you can set it to disappear when it is not in use. To do this, right click an empty area of the taskbar and click Properties and then the Taskbar tab. To lock the taskbar so it cannot be moved click Lock the taskbar. If you click Auto-hide the taskbar then the taskbar will disappear when it’s not in use and reappear when you hover your mouse over the bottom the screen.

If you want your taskbar to appear at the side or top of the screen rather than across the bottom of it, select the desired location from the Taskbar location on screen dropdown list. Choose Bottom, Left, Right or Top of the screen.

The Notification Area is the area at the far right of the taskbar and it shows icons for various programs and utilities. If you click the Customize button and disable the Always show all icons and notifications on the taskbar checkbox you can select the icons that you see here and the circumstances in which they appear. Choose Show icon and notifications to ensure the icon always appears in the taskbar – this is a good choice for the Volume icon, for example. Choose Hide icon and notifications to hide the icon and any notifications relevant to it – do this for any utility you aren’t interested in knowing about. Choose Only show notifications to hide the icon itself but to make sure you see any notifications relating to that utility – this is a good choice for utilities such as virus scanners. When you’re done, click Ok.

When you have finished working with the Taskbar and Start Menu properties dialog click Ok to close it. Any changes you have made will be applied to the taskbar at this time. You can, of course, return to this dialog at any time to make further changes, if desired.