The 4 Neat Tricks You Can Do With The Windows 7 Taskbar

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windows 7 taskbarThe 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 you middle-click? Did you know there’s a way to run an application as an Administrator right from its taskbar icon? Read on to see how!

The Magic Of Middle-Click

Middle-clicking actually does two reverse actions. It can either be used to close an instance of an application, or open a new instance. How so, you ask? Check out this screenshot to understand:

windows 7 taskbar

In other words, if you middle-click the icon, you get a new instance of the application. If you middle-click the Aero Peek thumbnail, the current window is closed.

Run As Administrator

To run an application from the Windows 7 taskbar as an administrator, left-click its icon while holding down the Shift and Ctrl keys. Windows will pop-up a UAC prompt asking for Administrator privileges, and once you confirm, the application will run with elevated rights. Note: if the application is already running, Windows will simply open a new instance of it, not elevate the existing instance (this cannot be done, technically).

Change The Size Of Aero Peek Thumbnails

This next trick does require a download, but it’s free, tiny, and you have to run it just once. It’s an application called Windows 7 Taskbar Thumbnail Customizer, and it lets you set a slew of parameters affecting the taskbar thumbnails:

windows 7 taskbar

For my own system, I simply opted for larger thumbnails. I find them very handy, especially when I’m a bit farther than usual from my monitor. Windows Taskbar Thumbnail Customizer doesn’t require administrative privileges, is mobile and free, and once you run it and set the parameters to your liking, you can even remove it from your system.

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Disable Aero Peek For The Desktop

A few days ago, a friend of mine (who is a Windows 7 novice) made an interesting complaint. While working on her laptop, all windows would disappear every now and then. She would just be merrily typing away, and all of a sudden, poof go the windows, and it all vanishes. Needless to say, she was frustrated. I then looked at her setup, and the mystery was solved. She was using an external mouse, and every now and then she would nudge it with her wrist while typing.

The cursor was close to the bottom-right area of the screen, where the Aero Peek hotspot for the desktop can be found. Whenever the mouse hovered over this hotspot, all windows would indeed “disappear” (become transparent), and the desktop would show through. It wasn’t obvious to her where the cursor is, because it was virtually off-screen.

When something like this happens, you can simply disable Aero peek for the desktop, like so:

windows 7 taskbar

This is the bottom-right area of the taskbar (which is vertical in my case). Simply right-click the Aero Peek hotspot for the desktop, and a menu pops up, letting you disable it. Simply uncheck “Peek at desktop“, and you’re good to go. The windows will now stop “disappearing”.

Your Turn Now

What crucial Windows 7 taskbar tricks did I miss? What’s the first thing you show your novice friends when they start using Windows 7? Let us know in the comments!

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Comments (22)
  • Grant Reigner

    Business users may have found that you can’t pin network programs to the Windows 7 taskbar.  Due to the fancy features of the new taskbar, all taskbar settings are locally handled.  To get around this, create a traditional shortcut on the desktop to the network program you want.  Then open it’s properties (right click on the shortcut), and insert a command to open explorer.exe in front of the Target. 

    Example (Target Field in shortcut properties):  C:Windowsexplorer.exe “S:ServerFirefoxfirefox.exe”

    Now, pin that shortcut to the taskbar.  Windows 7 sees that it leads to “explorer.exe” which is local, and it pins normally.  But secretly, you’ve tricked it into opening a network program.  Enjoy!

  • Itraink9s

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  • Yash247

    Found the first trick really helpful. Most Touchpad softwares allow the user to set certain “pre-defined” areas on the pad which can be used for doing only a certain task. For example, a small upper left area can be assigned to close an active window

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This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.
Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.