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The taskbar has seen some minor changes in Windows 10, but in its essence it hasn’t changed; it remains the familiar tool we all know and love. This doesn’t mean it can’t be tweaked for a better experience. We’ve rounded up some of the customizations possible in Windows 10.

Whether you want to hide your taskbar in desktop and not in tablet mode, move it to the top of the screen, or change the search engine, we’ve got you covered.

Please don’t forget to drop by the comments section afterwards to let us know which of these tweaks you’ve used and to add your own.

Relocate the Taskbar

The standard location for the taskbar is at the bottom of the screen, but you don’t have to be constrained by the default. You can move it to any side of your monitor, though it might take a bit of getting used to. To move the taskbar, you first need to right click it and ensure Lock the taskbar is not checked; un-check it if it is. Now, left click and hold an empty spot on the taskbar and drag it into position.

taskbar-left

If you don’t want the taskbar to move again, simply right click the taskbar and check Lock the taskbar. You might find positioning at the taskbar quite useful when browsing the Internet on tabs, since you can then switch between tabs and programs all from the same space on your screen. Personally, though, I still think that bottom is king.

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Hide the Taskbar

Is your screen real estate limited? You might want to hide your taskbar in order to maximize the space you do have available. To do so, right click the taskbar and select Properties. Now tick Auto-hide the taskbar and click OK. Your taskbar will now vanish and will only slide up into view when you move your cursor towards the bottom of the screen.

taskbar hide

If you’re a user who switches between desktop and tablet modes Continuum: Switch Between Windows 10 Desktop & Tablet Mode Continuum: Switch Between Windows 10 Desktop & Tablet Mode Windows 10 recognizes your hardware and instantly chooses the best display mode. When you connect your Windows 10 Mobile to a larger screen, you'll get a PC-like experience. That's the smoothness of Continuum. Read More , you’ll find your taskbar will be auto hidden on both modes. Swiping up on a tablet will bring the taskbar back into view. If you want to alter the taskbar hide option dependent on device, check out an app called Auto-Hide Taskbar from Nibbler Apps. The only downside is that this app comes attached with a $1.35 price tag.

Add Toolbars & Quick Launch

Putting toolbars on your taskbar can help you keep shortcuts a click away, along with also providing minimized versions of some programs. There are many different toolbars 7 Useful Toolbars You Can Add To Your Windows Taskbar 7 Useful Toolbars You Can Add To Your Windows Taskbar The Windows desktop can be a super productive work space. Native toolbars can help you make it even more efficient by placing shortcuts and information at your fingertips. Let's have a closer look. Read More you can add to the taskbar. To add a toolbar, right click on the taskbar and go to Toolbars. Default choices include Desktop, which shortcuts all items placed there, and Links, which is quick access to your Internet favorites. You’ll also find that some programs have their own toolbars; for example, iTunes has one which places a mini-player in your taskbar when the program is minimized.

taskbar toolbars

For those still missing the Quick Launch toolbar from Windows 95 to XP, you’ll be pleased to hear that you can still bring it back in Windows 10. To do so, right click the taskbar, go to Toolbars, and then select New toolbar…. Input the following into Folder and press return:

%userprofile%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch

Now right click your taskbar and untick Lock the taskbar. To get Quick Launch to appear as only icons, right click it on your taskbar and untick Show Text and Show title in turn. You can click and drag the slider to dedicate more space to it. To customize the icons that appear, press Win + R, input the folder path given above and press return. You can then place shortcuts and folders within here to have them appear on the taskbar.

Use Jump Lists

Jump lists are context-sensitive menus that will offer something a little bit different for each program. To access one, simply right click on an open program or pinned icon on your taskbar. For example, Firefox’s jump list contains frequently accessed pages and tasks like opening a new window. Something like Steam will let you dive straight into your Library or Big Picture mode.

jump lists

A common feature of many program’s jump lists is the ability to pin shortcuts to the top. On those that support it, access the jump list and then hover over what you want to pin. Then all you need to do is left click the pin icon on the right-hand side and it’ll be permanently at the top. Not all jump lists support this feature, however, and some programs, like Spotify, don’t actually have any shortcuts available, despite jump lists not being a new feature to Windows 10.

Change Search Engine

A big new feature of Windows 10 is Cortana, the personal assistant How to Set Up Cortana & Remove Her in Windows 10 How to Set Up Cortana & Remove Her in Windows 10 Cortana is Microsoft's greatest productivity tool since Office. We'll show you how to get started with Windows 10's digital assistant or how to turn Cortana off for improved privacy. Read More . By default, Cortana will be stored in the new search box that occupies your taskbar. The search bar itself is a nifty feature because it means you can simultaneously search your system and the Web. The only problem with this is that it uses Bing as the online search engine, which isn’t great for those who would prefer to use another search service.

firefox search

Currently, the simplest way to change it is within Firefox. Launch the browser, and return about:preferences in the URL bar. Then navigate to Search on the left-hand menu. On this screen, you should select your preferred search engine from the dropdown and then tick Use this search engine for searches from Windows. If you’re a Chrome user, check out the Chrometana application to choose between Google, Yahoo, and DuckDuckGo (though the Firefox method will give you a wider choice)

7+ Taskbar Tweaker

7+ Taskbar Tweaker has been around for a while, but it recently got updated to officially support Windows 10. This program extends the functionality of the taskbar beyond what’s offered by the operating system. First, head to the official website and download the program. Walk through the installation wizard and you’ll be good to go. This is a lightweight program, so you won’t notice any system impact.

taskbar tweaker

Some of the options available include changing the behavior of clicking in an empty space, altering how programs are grouped together, and bringing back the standard right-click window menu. My favorite option is the ability to turn your mousewheel into a volume control by simply hovering over the notification area. Check out our Taskbar Tweaker guide Get More Out Of The Windows Taskbar with 7+ Taskbar Tweaker Get More Out Of The Windows Taskbar with 7+ Taskbar Tweaker Could the Windows Taskbar be more useful? You can quickly add features and keep things simple with 7+ Taskbar Tweaker. Customize your Taskbar to your needs - without the fluff. Read More for in-depth coverage.

Time to Tweak

The taskbar and the system tray Spice Up The Windows System Tray With These 9 Clever Features Spice Up The Windows System Tray With These 9 Clever Features The system tray is perhaps one of the most undervalued features of the Windows taskbar. The icons represent running programs or system functions you can manipulate. We'll show you additional options you can add. Read More  are a Windows staple and one of the great things about the taskbar is that you can customize it to your liking, though you might need to employ third-party software.

If you’re interested in altering the visual appearance of your taskbar, be sure to check out our top taskbar customization tips 7 Tips for Customizing the Windows 10 Taskbar 7 Tips for Customizing the Windows 10 Taskbar The taskbar remains a staple feature in Windows 10. It's been given a fresh look and new features, including Cortana. We show you all the tweaks to make the taskbar your own. Read More to find out how to change the taskbar color, edit the notification area, bring back some Windows 7 style, and much more.

Which of these tweaks have you found useful? Do you have your own to share with us?

  1. Ray Herring
    September 13, 2015 at 2:22 am

    As per what Kai said, but, to take it that bit further, with the exception of jump lists, everything else you have been able to do since the start menu first made its appearance in Windows 95 many moons ago.

    The locations for doing all these things has also been in those exact same menu spots too.

    You could have talked about say setting secondary taskbars to only show what is open in those monitors, but that has been available since Windows 8.

  2. Nikolaj Knudsen
    September 10, 2015 at 7:33 am

    I agree with Kai.

  3. Kai McKenna
    September 10, 2015 at 12:30 am

    I didn't see anything i haven't done in windows 7, most of it i'd done in win VISTA.
    none of this was ever hidden or hard to access either, it look like they've just carried through now standard features.

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