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Could the Windows Taskbar be more useful? If you’re looking for fluff-free taskbar enhancement, rather than a sleek taskbar alternative 3 Multifunctional Docks To Replace Your Windows Taskbar 3 Multifunctional Docks To Replace Your Windows Taskbar Docks take what the taskbar does and make it better: beautiful, effective, and fun to use. Once introduced for the Mac, docks have long been available on Windows. Let me show you the best ones. Read More , try 7+ Taskbar Tweaker. It adds much needed features and keeps things simple. True to its name, it’s available for Windows 7 and Windows 8.

Setup

Setting up 7+ Taskbar Tweaker is as easy as can be: just grab the installer from its website and run it through. If you prefer a portable installation, 7+ offers that option in its setup. Once installed, you’ll be greeted with its main screen:

Taskbar Tweaker Annotations 1

The interface has a lot to take in, so let’s examine some of its most useful options. The annotations are provided so a setting can easily be matched to its explanation. Also, as a bonus, these screenshots show my setup with the program, so feel free to use that as a basis for your own customizing!

Mixing It Up

A) One of the most useful features of the Taskbar Tweaker is the ability to make changes that seem permanently set in Windows. For example, maybe you’re sick of the Start Button and want to get rid of it. One simple click and it’s gone:

Start Button Comparison

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B) Do you use the Windows clock for precise timing and need the seconds of the minute to be displayed? 7+ allows for that, too.

Second display

C) If you’re not interested in using a keystroke program launcher, such as Launchy How To Be More Productive with Launchy Program Launcher How To Be More Productive with Launchy Program Launcher Read More , and prefer to keep plenty of icons pinned to your taskbar, it can quickly become crowded. 7+ can kindly ask the existing members of your taskbar to squeeze together, creating more space for new icons in the process!

Space Comparison

D) Do you sometimes launch a program via the taskbar by mistake and have to wait for it to open just so you can close it? You’ll love the option to require a double-click to launch in Taskbar Tweaker. No more accidentally opening iTunes or Photoshop and waiting!

Adding Some Shortcuts

Shortcuts are everywhere, and they’re a fantastic way to become more productive while using a computer. Windows 7 has some great shortcuts that use the mouse 3 Ways to Add & Access Windows 7 Shortcuts to Work More Productively With Your Mouse 3 Ways to Add & Access Windows 7 Shortcuts to Work More Productively With Your Mouse When it comes to using the computer, there are essentially two groups of people: those that always have their hands on the keyboard and are obsessed with keyboard shortcuts and those that do everything technically... Read More , so you don’t have to commit any keyboard shortcuts to memory. With 7+ Taskbar Tweaker, you can add even more. 7+ Taskbar Tweaker allocates two different shortcut commands for users:

Taskbar Tweaker Annotations 2

E) The Windows taskbar can be set to automatically hide itself, useful for maximizing screen space or keeping out distractions while working. At times, however, one might wish to switch quickly between the always-up and auto-hide options. One of the shortcut commands – either double-clicking or middle-clicking on empty space – can be set to toggle this behavior. This is easier than diving into a few menus every time you wish to switch.

auto-hide-faster

The other options are useful, as well. For example, using a shortcut to show/hide the Start Menu or Start Screen would pair well with hiding the Start Button. This would save space for more icons while still allowing quick access to the Start button. Perhaps one of the most useful options is muting – a perfect solution for desktops or laptops that lack an external mute button. Rather than fumbling around and trying to quickly lower the volume when your phone is ringing, simply middle-click the taskbar and enjoy the silence.

F) Speaking of volume, you can also make the mouse scroll wheel control the computer’s volume. It’s useful in the same situations as above, and even has two different types of control; whether to adjust the volume when your mouse is anywhere on the taskbar or just on the notification area is up to you.

Even More Customization

Still not fulfilled? Here are more opportunities to satisfy your hunger for ultimate customization power.

Taskbar Tweaker Annotations 3

G) By default, if you drag a file to the taskbar, it pins the selected file to that program’s jump list for easy access. 7+ allows you to change this behavior, and instead drag a file to a program on the taskbar to open it using that program. It’s handy if you like to open files in multiple programs instead of its default – perhaps you use a variety of photo editing programs 10 Free Image Editing Programs for your PC 10 Free Image Editing Programs for your PC Read More and need to shuffle a file between them.

Open with example

H) Not a big fan of Windows’ thumbnails? Those can easily be tweaked: you can remove them altogether or show another pop-up in their place. The List option, for instance, shows essentially the same information that the thumbnail gives, but without the image. You could still pause Spotify or refresh your Twitter client without its preview.

Thumbnail Popup Comparison

I) Windows also groups taskbar items that come from the same program. If you’d rather separate these, you have a few options. You can set programs to never group, or only allow non-pinned programs to group, which makes spotting them easier. Here’s a comparison. Notice the multiple instances of the calculator and Windows Explorer:

Taskbar Grouping Example

J) Here’s another mouse wheel trick to try: instead of opening a new instance of a program when middle-clicked, you can set the wheel to switch to that program, minimize it, or even close it.

K) Finally, this setting uses the mouse wheel to easily minimize and restore open programs. It actually feels pretty slick in use, as many windows can quickly be adjusted with almost no effort.

Done Tweaking!

If other ways to tweak the taskbar The 4 Neat Tricks You Can Do With The Windows 7 Taskbar The 4 Neat Tricks You Can Do With The Windows 7 Taskbar The Windows 7 taskbar is quite swanky looking, but it also packs a wallop in terms of functionality. Sure, anyone can activate an application by clicking its icon. But do you know what happens when... Read More weren’t enough for you, hopefully these tweaks from 7+ Taskbar Tweaker have quenched your thirst. Besides increasing productivity, they can also make the taskbar more visually appealing and add features you didn’t even know existed!

Have you used any similar programs in the past? Do you like your taskbar as it comes or are you a customization wizard? Mac users, what tools do you use to tweak your dock? Speak your mind in the comments below!

  1. Hisham S
    March 14, 2014 at 7:34 pm

    Double clicking tweak is very useful. I really like it.
    Thanks Ben for this nice article.

    • Ben S
      March 15, 2014 at 3:32 pm

      You're welcome! So glad it was useful to you.

  2. Niall Madhoo
    March 12, 2014 at 7:04 pm

    Hi Ben. Thanks a lot for the tip. I really get annoyed when I click things by mistake on the taskbar, especially as most of my software runs of an SSD so it opens almost instantly and I don't have time to CTRL-ALT-DEL and force it to shut so I remove all of them; obviously, that decreases my productivity to some extent. I'm going to give 7+ Taskbar Tweaker a shot and see how much quicker I can get stuff done than going to my Start Menu shortcuts.

    • Ben S
      March 12, 2014 at 10:43 pm

      You're so welcome! That is an uncommon setup; hopefully this tool will increase your productivity. Best of luck!

    • Niall Madhoo
      March 13, 2014 at 8:30 am

      Well, I've added all my software to the taskbar. I'm used to having all my apps in the dock on my Mac and never really bothered with the Windows 7 taskbar because the tracking on my mouse is a bit dodgy so I end up clicking the wrong icons like I said before. Double-clicking works a treat! Awesome!

  3. Geoff Rothwell
    March 12, 2014 at 2:11 pm

    My task bar, always important has become so much more useful; especially the seconds tweak and icon shuffle up!

    • Ben S
      March 12, 2014 at 10:43 pm

      Fantastic! Glad some of my picks were helpful for you.

  4. mudit
    March 12, 2014 at 1:35 pm

    awesome

  5. Johnny
    March 12, 2014 at 2:49 am

    Dumb.

    • Ben S
      March 12, 2014 at 2:41 pm

      Why do you find this dumb? Can you elaborate at all?

  6. Lena
    March 12, 2014 at 2:16 am

    Why does it suck, Kevin M?

  7. Deborah H
    March 12, 2014 at 1:46 am

    I never know which search engine is safer and I seem to get the taskbar with them. Then I get pop-ups from Avast saying some other program added something to my taskbar (I'm currently using Chrome) and do I want to keep it. I always say no because I have no idea what was added. I might give 7+ a try.

    • Ben S
      March 12, 2014 at 2:40 pm

      You have search engines on your taskbar? Or are you referring to toolbars?
      If you're having a problem with toolbars in Chrome, like the Ask toolbar, this article isn't the one you want for that problem. The taskbar is a part of Windows, not the browser.
      As far as which search engine is safest, the most common ones are safe. Google and Bing aren't going to cause any problems, and if you're concerned about maximum privacy, DuckDuckGo is an excellent option to look into.

  8. Kevin M
    March 11, 2014 at 7:38 pm

    This program sucks a big one! This is one case where you get less than you paid for (free or not you are going to pay one way or another). Do yourself a favor and if you need to customize any task bar get the tools from Stardock and the Windows 7 task bar they created for Windows 8 is to die for and a must have for anyone that thinks the way MS is doing windows now sucks!

    • Ben S
      March 11, 2014 at 11:28 pm

      "Free or not you are going to pay one way or another"
      This is a free program; if you don't like it, don't use it. I have never had this program ask me to purchase anything or limit features because it's freeware. I don't understand what you're saying here.

      "get the tools from Stardock"
      Did you read the article? Right at the start, I mentioned taskbar alternatives, such as Stardock. This article is not about replacing the taskbar, but rather adding tweaks to the it.

      "the Windows 7 task bar they created for Windows 8 is to die for"
      I don't understand. Are you saying that the Windows 8 program is superior to the Windows 7 taskbar? Please elaborate, because I'm having trouble following your argument here.

      "This program sucks a big one!"
      Was this really necessary?

    • Anonymous
      March 16, 2014 at 4:24 am

      Ben, your reply is not value added. Why does it "suck?"

    • Ben S
      March 17, 2014 at 4:38 pm

      What does "your reply is not value added" mean? I think I responded appropriately to what Kevin had to say.

  9. Angi G
    March 11, 2014 at 5:30 pm

    Looks like a nice little program, but how does it work with double monitors? Does it give you the same options on that second taskbar? I've used DisplayFusion for this purpose, but it's a little glitchy and has a few too many options. Would love to try something if I knew it would worked with my second monitor. :)

    • Ben S
      March 11, 2014 at 11:23 pm

      Angi, I have to say that it unfortunately does not work with double monitors - there's no taskbar at all on the second monitor. It isn't really designed to add taskbar functionality to a second monitor in Windows, but rather to allow for changes to the base taskbar. I haven't played around much with a taskbar on my second monitor, but if I can find a good program to do it, maybe it will be featured in an article sometime!

  10. Tim567
    March 11, 2014 at 3:23 pm

    Wonderful! Will download and try it. Thank you Sir!

    • Ben S
      March 11, 2014 at 11:20 pm

      I hope you find it satisfactory. You're quite welcome!

  11. Guy
    March 11, 2014 at 3:04 pm

    Thank you!

    • Ben S
      March 11, 2014 at 11:20 pm

      Absolutely! What's your favorite feature?

  12. Carl C
    March 11, 2014 at 2:56 pm

    What a great article! An excellent job of explaining all the features of a very useful tool; thanks for this!

    • Ben S
      March 11, 2014 at 11:20 pm

      You're welcome! I hope you benefited from this - it's a sweet program!

  13. Jeff
    March 11, 2014 at 1:56 am

    Sweet article- thanks!

    • Ben S
      March 11, 2014 at 2:38 am

      Happy to help, and I'm glad you enjoyed it!

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