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One of Windows 7’s most exciting new features was the redesigned task bar. Apart from bigger icons, open windows were now grouped per program, and sometimes expanded in so-called preview tabs upon mouse-over.

By now, this feature has been added to all major browsers. There’s but one catch. Not everyone enjoys it.

Whether it’s due to hardware restrictions, or simply because they’re used to a different user interface, “Try to keep up”, and “you’ll get used to it” aren’t valid solutions. In software, too, the customer is king. Below is how you can disable the feature in Firefox 4, Google Chrome, Opera and Internet Explorer 8.

In Google Chrome

The feature was only added to Google Chrome a couple of months ago. Since you can’t disable it in the preferences, here’s a nifty little workaround.

First, browse to C:\Users\username\AppData\Local\Google\Chrome\Application\ – where ‘C’ is the drive of your Windows 7 install. Right-click on chrome.exe and open the properties pane.


In the compatibility tab, check the box next to ‘Run this program in compatibility mode for:‘, and select Windows Vista (Service Pack 2) from the drop-down menu. Click OK.

Google Chrome will now run like it would on Windows Vista. That is, without those preview tabs. Alternatively, you can also append these changes in the properties pane of a Google Chrome shortcut. If you ever want to re-enable the preview tabs, simply turn compatibility mode off.

In Mozilla Firefox

Open up Firefox, type “about:config” in the address bar (without quotation marks), and hit enter. This will open a screen with advanced settings. Please refrain from changing anything else that you don’t understand. In the filter field, at the top of the screen, type browser.taskbar.previews

This will take you to the relevant settings. Double-click browser.taskbar.previews.enable, so that its value changes to False.

If you ever want to revert these changes, simply visit these settings again, and return browser.taskbar.previews.enable to True.

In Opera

Turning off the preview tabs in Opera is mighty similar to the Firefox method.

First, open your browser, and direct your browser towards “opera:config” (without quotation marks). Go to User Prefs, and look for the “Use Windows 7 Taskbar Thumbnails” setting. Make sure this box is unchecked.

To re-enable the preview tabs at a later point in time, simply tick that box again.

In Internet Explorer 8

Ok, nerds aren’t too big a fan of Internet Explorer 8, but as the standard browser on the world’s most popular operation system, a lot of people are still using it. Being a Microsoft product as well, this browser was the first to support the preview tabs feature. Here’s how you go about disabling it.

Disabling this option is probably easiest in Internet Explorer 8. Start by opening up your browser.

Go to Tools -> Internet Options and open the settings pane for ‘Tabs’. At the top, you should be able to find ‘Show previews for individual tabs in the taskbar’, a box ticked by default. Simply uncheck it, save the changes, and you’re done.

Do you know an easier way to disable the preview tabs in any of these, or even a whole-together different browser? Let us know what you think in the comments section below!

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  1. Drpatrickbarry
    September 22, 2010 at 1:16 pm

    It is such a frustrating option in IE, taking two clicks to view a web page

  2. 60659
    July 28, 2010 at 3:03 am

    For the Opera method, "Use Thumbnails in Window Cycle" is actually what you want to disable (or enable).

    • 60659
      July 28, 2010 at 3:09 am

      Oops nvm, I'm actually wrong... should have properly restarted the browser when testing :P

  3. Mohnish Thallavajhula
    July 19, 2010 at 3:06 am

    Initially I didn't get the purpose. Now I get it.