Your Windows Taskbar Should Be Vertical, Here’s Why

Joe Keeley 21-02-2017

Ever since it existed, the Windows Taskbar has appeared at the bottom of the screen. While it has changed in design over the years, that horizontal bar has become synonymous with the operating system. But did you know you can set it to appear vertically?


We’re not only going to show you how to get a vertical Taskbar, but also argue its case. It might seem like a strange change at first, but trust us when we say it’s something worth trying out.

If you’ve got any thoughts to share on a vertical Taskbar, or if you’ve been using one for a while, please let us know in the comments.

How to Get a Vertical Windows Taskbar

First, right-click an empty space on your Windows Taskbar. Then check to see if Lock the taskbar has a tick next to it. If it does, click it, otherwise you’re already set. Next, left-click and hold an empty space on your Taskbar and drag it to either the left or right of your screen. Release your mouse, then lock the Taskbar. That’s it!

Your Windows Taskbar Should Be Vertical, Here's Why lock the taskbar

The Benefits of a Vertical Windows Taskbar

Without further ado, let’s discuss why you should use a vertical Windows Taskbar.


1. Widescreen Displays

Monitors with a 4:3 aspect ratio were standard when the Windows Taskbar first hit the scene. It made sense to have the Taskbar on the bottom to maximize the limited real estate you had on screen. However, now your monitor is likely to be far wider than it is tall, meaning you have more horizontal space to play with than you do vertical.

Your Windows Taskbar Should Be Vertical, Here's Why monitors 640x338

Consider also that many websites and applications don’t make full use of horizontal space and are designed responsively to account for mobile displays. Take this very website — you can happily lose a bit of white space on the sides to benefit from fitting more of the article on screen.

2. See More at Once

Now that you have horizontal space to play with, you can extend the Windows Taskbar past the thin strip you’re used to. For this, hover on the border of the Taskbar until the cursor changes. Then left-click, hold, and drag to make the Taskbar wider.


Your Windows Taskbar Should Be Vertical, Here's Why taskbar tray

You’ll benefit from being able to see the full date and time, plus more of the icons in your tray and any toolbars you might have enabled Use Windows 10's Secret Taskbar to Navigate Like a Pro Finding files and folders on Windows 10 can be a nuisance, so here's a quick way to find them without any navigational headaches. Read More . And depending on your Taskbar settings, which you can adjust at any time by right-clicking an empty space and selecting Settings, you’ll also see more of a window’s title.

3. More Natural to Read

You might think that reading left to right is natural for the majority of the world, but if you have your Windows Taskbar spread out over a huge horizontal space it isn’t totally efficient. Instead, having your Taskbar vertical means that you quickly see everything with a single glance at the side of your screen.

Your Windows Taskbar Should Be Vertical, Here's Why vertical taskbar 1


Every window is a separate row on the Taskbar, so you can quickly scan down the list and find the icon and window name. It might not seem like a major benefit, but it’s a subtle quality of life improvement that you’ll find hard to go back from.

4. Less Obstructive

This one is especially true if you’re using a touch device. Having your Windows Taskbar at the bottom of your screen can be cumbersome to control, particularly if you have a keyboard attached at the same time because it can be awkward to reach. Placing the Taskbar on the side of your dominant hand is much more natural.

Your Windows Taskbar Should Be Vertical, Here's Why no need for tablets surface pro 640x350

Also, if you set your Windows Taskbar to autohide How to Auto Hide the Taskbar in Windows 10 Tablet Mode Now you can auto-hide the taskbar in Tablet Mode, which is a new feature arriving in the next big Windows 10 build! Read More and have it positioned at the top or bottom of your screen, you might find that you have trouble performing certain actions like resizing windows because the Taskbar will either activate at the wrong time or force itself over where you need to click. Having the Taskbar vertical combats this problem entirely.


Autohide can be problematic. For advice on how to fix it, check our guide to fixing Windows 10 Taskbar issues Windows 10 Taskbar Not Working? 6 Fast Fixes If the Windows 10 taskbar isn't working, these fixes cover common Taskbar issues, like freezing or auto-hide not working. Read More .

Join the Vertical Windows Taskbar Movement

It might seem strange to have your Windows Taskbar vertically at first, especially if you’ve been used to the Windows default for years, but try it out. It’ll take a bit of time to get used to, so don’t get frustrated if you keep pulling your mouse to the bottom of your screen, but it’s worth sticking with. For extra style, why not make your Taskbar totally transparent How to Make the Taskbar Transparent in Windows 10 Windows 10 took a lot of power away from users like you and me, but this nifty third-party utility lets you turn your taskbar transparent with zero effort. Read More .

If you’re after even more Taskbar tips, check out our guides on customizing the Windows 10 Taskbar Windows 10 Taskbar Customization: The Complete Guide Here's how to customize the Windows 10 taskbar with built-in settings, handy tricks, and third-party software. Read More and some advanced Windows 10 Taskbar tweaks 6 Advanced Taskbar Tweaks for Windows 10 Windows 10 has brought many changes and the taskbar wasn't spared. Still, many small tweaks can enhance your experience. We'll show you how you can customize it to perfection. Read More . There’s a lot you can do with the Taskbar and moving it vertically is only scratching the surface.

Related topics: Windows Customization, Windows Taskbar.

Affiliate Disclosure: By buying the products we recommend, you help keep the site alive. Read more.

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  1. Ron Payne
    March 12, 2018 at 5:49 am

    Most of these changes can also be found in the Taskbar Settings (right-click on Taskbar for a quick go-to) such as turning Taskbar Text on/off, People and Multiple Display choices. Choice of position of Taskbar has been around for years but position seems to be more a preference on display being used for me. Tried the "Auto Hide Taskbar", but started to bug me after awhile. :D

  2. John Eccles
    December 12, 2017 at 8:23 am

    I have placed the Taskbar on the right for years now, this gives more usable screen space.

  3. Rodney Hopson
    December 7, 2017 at 6:06 am

    The Task Bar in older versions of Windows could be hidden by simply dragging. They eliminated this option somewhere around Vista or so. The Auto-hide function does not work for me, regardless whether the task bar is at the top, bottom, or either side. Evidently Microsoft took this feature away because some Noobs were traumatised when it got hidden accidently somehow. Wish they would reactivate that feature. I've tried 3rd party add-ons, but they don't work that well either and you have to constantly restart them.

  4. Dany Bouffard
    December 7, 2017 at 2:42 am

    I have been using a vertical taskbar for a long time now, at work or at home.

  5. Faye
    November 10, 2017 at 1:12 am

    I've been using a left side vertical Taskbar for over 20 years. It just makes more sense to me.

  6. Paul
    October 24, 2017 at 5:34 pm

    I use the standard bottom taskbar on a 16:10 display and a vertical on a 16:9. I really wish though that computer manufacturers would switch back to 16:10 though so I could have all my proper horizontal labels!

  7. Steve Jobs Gates
    October 18, 2017 at 5:37 pm

    I feel like I've walked into a third grade computer science class room.....

  8. Arvi
    August 29, 2017 at 6:31 pm

    I have been using a vertical taskbar on Windows 10 for more than a year now. I also auto-hide it. The problem is, when I extend my Windows 10 laptop display at work, the taskbar does not even appear on my main display, but instead I see a flickering black border surrounding the invisible taskbar. On the external displays, it does not disappear but they freeze, not allowing me to do anything on them. Until I turn off the auto-hide feature. Weirdly I don't have this issue on the personal Win 10 laptop I use at home.

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  10. Jae
    February 28, 2017 at 6:30 am

    I tried that because I realized there's space on the side that is mostly unused in my screen but the scrollbars look really annoying. The look of the scrollbar in the taskbar doesn't work with the rest, design-wise. Anyway to remove it or, at least, customize it?

    • Tina Sieber
      March 21, 2017 at 12:07 pm

      Thank you for your question, Jae! We'll mull this over and you might see an article on the topic soon.

  11. jOE
    February 25, 2017 at 5:06 pm


    • Stevetotheh
      March 12, 2017 at 10:13 am

      Settle down guy!

    • Sean R Kethcart
      May 15, 2017 at 2:59 am

      Why so angry, man?!?

    • J.M.
      February 11, 2019 at 6:00 pm

      Found the Boomer.

  12. N
    February 25, 2017 at 11:39 am

    Most of a vertical taskbar is just plain empty! Horizontally, much fewer space is wasted. You shouldn't have ultra-wide monitors if the extra space is so useless. If the space you need is vertical, then get a high monitor to go with all the vertical websites and digital world.

    • Tina Sieber
      March 21, 2017 at 12:10 pm

      I'm sure we can come up with ideas for how to use that empty space. :)

      The reason people have ultra-wide monitors or multiple monitor setups is partly to watch videos. While watching, you don't need the Taskbar. But while doing other stuff, the space is wasted.

  13. Steve Newberger
    February 22, 2017 at 3:32 pm

    Doing this for many years. And the wide screen is why I prefer browsers that allow vertical tabs.

    • Jon
      February 23, 2017 at 7:27 am

      That leaves Firefox, correct? (and the new, proof-of-concept Opera Neon) Or are there others I'm not aware of?

      • Steve Newberger
        February 23, 2017 at 7:03 pm

        Jon, you are right. So far as I am aware Firefox and its variations are the only browsers with extensions that create vertical tabs. An opportunity for extension-writers everywhere!

      • Michael
        February 27, 2017 at 1:37 pm

        There's also Vivaldi, which has built-in support for vertical tabs on either side of the browser.

      • Sentient Paradox
        February 7, 2019 at 10:31 pm

        It can be done with Chrome too, and has been available for years. The only caveat with the Chrome extensions is that they all work in separate windows that resize the main window and appear next to the vertical tab window. It's not ideal but it does work and takes some time to get used to. I've found it preferable to simply use FF.

  14. Matt
    February 22, 2017 at 8:56 am

    Trying it out... it's different. I use DisplayFusion to handle the 4 monitors so I've had to disable it's taskbar handling, and moved the standard one to the left-most monitor. It does give me more screen room, we'll see how inconvenient it is or isn't to move the mouse all the way to the left.

  15. Stephen Silk
    February 22, 2017 at 7:12 am

    I’ve been doing this since the days of OS/2, where a vertical taskbar was standard. It’s the first thing I change on any machine I’m going to use regularly.

  16. Dave
    February 22, 2017 at 2:40 am

    I would but I wish you could orient it so that the start button could still be in the bottom corner instead of the top corner.

    • Gonik
      February 22, 2017 at 5:29 pm

      Exactly what I wanted as well. I have an Ultra-wide monitor, which justifies the use of vertical taskbar even more. For the past few weeks I have moved to vertical, but i believe that it would be more handy to totally "mirror" it. For the Start menu to be on the bottom and the clock, language and taskbar icons on the top.

      Does anybody have any clue how to do that?

      • Dub Dublin
        February 23, 2017 at 2:26 am

        I ran the taskbar on the left edge for years, and still would except for two problems: First, the problem above where the order seems wrong - there should be an option to reverse the order, so the Win/Start icon is still at the bottom left. But this is a niggle, really, compared to the second problem which is far more serious in Windows 10: You lose Cortana's "Ask me anything" input field with the taskbar on the side! I find that I really use this feature a LOT to instantly find/jump to files or programs - I don't even know where to find most of my programs anymore - to launch Excel, I just click and type "xl[enter]" (Interestingly, this abbreviation works!), or to use the new Linux tools, I just click and type "ub[enter]" for the Ubuntu bash shell! Oddly, you can click the Cortana ring and get Cortana and her input field to pop open, but that's a much more fiddly target to hit than the big ol' input field. It's enough of a difference that I prefer the menu at the bottom, now. Maybe the Cortana icon should be on a gray background to make it stand out a bit more like it does when it's at the bottom?

        The mic icon is handy, too, and I find I'm using it more and more. It also goes walkabout if you put the taskbar on the side. Oddly, Cortana's voice recognition behavior from the taskbar is different from her behavior after explicitly clicking the Cortana ring icon - go figure. Just another one of those visible seams in the too-slowly healing Win10 monster stitched together from parts of at least three OSes...

        • Jon
          February 23, 2017 at 7:30 am

          You know, if you just click on the Cortana or Start icon, and start typing, you get the same effect. I typically tap the Windows key and start typing. It all does the same thing without the field being visible. Whether the field is visible or not, you still have one click or one keypress and start typing.

  17. Doc
    February 22, 2017 at 1:45 am

    Nope. Nope. Nope. Nope.

    • Sentient Paradox
      February 7, 2019 at 10:37 pm

      Why not? Why not? Why not? Why not?

    • Sentient Paradox
      February 7, 2019 at 10:51 pm

      The only caveat I can see with this is the fact that instead of the taskbar maintaining the order intuitively, as in staying in the same order as it rotates around the point of choice (around the right corner when moved to the right, and around the left corner when moved to the left), when moved to the right the order reverses forcing the Start button to the top and the notification area to the bottom. I find this entirely counter intuitive and highly annoying. Start should stay where it was at least maintaining some level of continuity. As it is, every single thing clicked on has moved forcing users to relearn motor memory patterns and that's just stupid. On the right this doesn't happen since at least the notification area is still in the same place. I can't put it there however, since I use dual monitors and my secondary is to the right, so it makes more sense to have it vertically on the left. Seems we ought to be able to reverse the entire order of elements on the task bar no matter where it is. That would make the taskbar far more versatile and intuitive regardless of physical monitor set up or user preferences.

  18. Mae
    February 22, 2017 at 12:47 am

    I have been using the vertical task bar because I found the new screen too shallow. Even thought I have attached the laptop to the older screen it works still.
    My biggest beef is that the websites can in so wide.

  19. Jon
    February 21, 2017 at 3:09 pm

    I have a vertical Dock on my Mac, but on my Surface, I put the taskbar at the top. It feels more natural to me--more like the Apple Menubar. And it have just icons, and a very skinny bar. It works for me. I tried the vertical bar on the right, like on my Mac when I first bought the Surface (first thing I did, in fact, was move the taskbar to the right), but it always felt awkward. I tried the left, and it was no better, and finally, in a blast of insight, realized the top would work as well (due to Windows having no menubar--why? Microsoft? Why no unified menubar and unified system of menus? Every app I have to figure out the most basic things, because every app is different. The only ones that make sense to me are Mac ports.) ;-) Anyway, it's been up there for the past four months, and I couldn't be happier. I tried the vertical for about 10 seconds after reading this article, and flipped it back up top immediately. Couldn't do it! I dunno. Maybe my comment will inspire other ex-Mac users to try it. ;-)

  20. topernic
    February 21, 2017 at 1:49 pm

    I use linux and a vertical bar. With monitors so wide now it only makes sense to use the side instead of a top or bottom bar. I wish i3 would accept vertical bars. I use openbox mostly.