Make the Windows 7 taskbar look like Windows XP or Windows Vista
The Windows 7 taskbar has been radically redesigned, and may throw you off at first; if you cannot seem to get used to it, it is possible to make the Windows 7 taskbar look just like the taskbar in Windows XP or Windows Vista. This tutorial explains how customize the new taskbar, and gives you a few tips to get the most of both the old taskbar appearance, and new functionality Microsoft introduced in the Windows 7 taskbar, like jump lists, thumbnails, and moving taskbar buttons.
Use a Windows XP / Windows Vista style taskbar in Windows 7
Follow these steps to customize the Windows 7 taskbar to look like earlier versions of Windows:
- Right-click on an empty area of the taskbar, and choose "Properties"
- Windows 7 will open the "Taskbar and Start Menu Properties" window
- If needed, select the "Taskbar" tab
- Check the "Use small icons" checkbox (which is unchecked by default) - this tells Windows 7 to use regular height taskbar buttons and icons, as was the case in Windows XP and Windows Vista.
- Under "Taskbar buttons", pick "Combine when taskbar is full" or "Never combine" - this setting forces Windows 7 to use wide buttons that show the titles of the windows currently opened, as label.
The "Never combine" option makes the Windows 7 taskbar behave like versions of Windows before XP (which introduced the notion of combining taskbar buttons).
- Click Apply to preview your changes: your taskbar should now look very familiar!
- Only thing missing: Quick Launch - please refer to a separate tutorial to see how to enable / show Quick Launch in Windows 7. Before you read that tutorial, a final tip below.
Tip: in earlier versions of Windows, you could right-click on taskbar buttons to get a simple menu that allowed you to maximize, minimize, restore, move, size, or close the selected window. Despite the new context menu in taskbar buttons, you can still get the old menu: hold down the Shift key while right-clicking on a taskbar button to get the classic menu:
By customizing your Windows 7 taskbar to look like XP or Vista, you get the best of both worlds: not only are you using a more familiar taskbar, but you still get the new right-click menu functionality, and the ability to move around taskbar buttons, which was not possible before Windows 7. Just drag the taskbar button left or right, and drop it when you reach the position where you want it moved: