The taskbar is one of the most useful parts of Windows. The best thing about the taskbar is that it has a very minimal footprint on the overall screen but does a lot of work and gives fast access to all your favorite apps, the Start menu, calendar, background apps, etc. Here’s how you can further customize the taskbar’s look and feel or the functionality.
1. Add Favorites Collection
Did you know that you can add toolbars with shortcuts to your favorite folders, apps, and files on the taskbar? This is one of the least known yet useful features of Taskbar. To create a toolbar, simply right-click on the taskbar and select “Toolbars -> Links.”
This will create an empty toolbar named Links. To add files, folders, or app shortcuts, simply drag and drop them onto it. Windows will automatically create a shortcut and add it to the Links toolbar. To view added files or folder shortcuts, click on the double arrow icon next to “Links” and click on any item to open them.
If you are curious, all the shortcuts you add to the Links toolbar are stored here “C:\Users\<username>\Favorites\Links.” You can create shortcuts in this folder, and they will appear in the Links toolbar.
2. Add Network Speed Monitor
Toolbars on taskbar can be used for much more than simple shortcuts. One such thing is the ability to display network speed. To display network speed on the taskbar, download and install a free app called NetSpeedMonitor. After installing, right-click on the taskbar and select “Toolbars -> NetSpeedMonitor.”
That is it. The app will automatically detect your active network card and display the upload and download speed on the taskbar. You can customize different settings like which network card to monitor, what speed metrics to use, etc., from the app settings. Just play with the app for a few minutes, and you will see a good number of options to customize the look and feel.
3. Make Taskbar Blurry, Transparent or Add Fluent Design
In Windows 10 you can change the color of the taskbar and also make it semi-transparent. Other than that, there is nothing much you can do. However, using a free app called TranslucentTB, you can make taskbar completely transparent, add blur effect, or even add Fluent design with a single click.
Just install the app, right-click on it and select the design mode from the Regular menu. That is it.
4. Change the Position of Taskbar
By default, Windows positions the taskbar at the bottom of the screen. This is generally good enough for most users. However, using the settings app, you can change the position of the taskbar to the sides or top of the screen. Changing the taskbar position to the sides is particularly useful if you have a widescreen or ultra widescreen monitor because you will get more vertical space by removing it from the bottom of the screen.
To change the taskbar position, search for “Taskbar Settings” in the Start menu and open it. Now, select the new position from the drop-down menu under the “Taskbar location on screen” section.
5. Make Taskbar Display Window Labels
If you’ve used Windows XP, then you know that Windows used to display taskbar icons with their labels. With Windows 7, Microsoft transitioned to display just the icons. This saves some space on the taskbar by combining the same app icons and looks nice too. But if you want to, you can make Windows 10 display labels along with the icons for active windows.
To enable, search for “Taskbar Settings” in the Start menu, then scroll down and select “When the taskbar is full” or “Never” from the drop-down menu under “Combine taskbar buttons.”
6. Remove Peek Button
If you look closely at the bottom-right corner of your screen, you will see a skinny button that lets you peek at the desktop when you hover over it. When clicked, it will take you to the desktop.
Though useful in some cases, I don’t remember the last time I used this feature for its intended purpose. In fact, from time to time I accidentally trigger this button and am left wondering why I’m looking at my desktop. So, if you are like me and don’t use the Peek to Preview button, you can disable it.
To disable peek to preview, search for “Taskbar Settings” in the Start menu and open it. Now, toggle the switch under “Use Peek to Preview” to off. This action will instantly disable peek to preview. You can still go to the desktop by clicking on it.
7. Increase Taskbar Height
If your taskbar is full, Windows will display a scrollbar so that you can move back and forth between all apps on the taskbar. If you don’t like this behavior, you can increase the taskbar height to create additional space.
To do that, right-click on the taskbar and uncheck the “Lock the taskbar” option.
Next, place your mouse on the top edge of the taskbar and drag it upwards. This action will increase the height of the taskbar. Once you are satisfied, right-click on the taskbar and check the option “Lock the taskbar.” It may not look pretty, but it does improve the usability on a crowded taskbar.
If you have any taskbar customization tricks that are not covered above, do share them in the comments section below.