The Windows operating system has been around for a long time, and as a result, people expect it to look a certain way. Taskbar running horizontally along the bottom of the screen and icons organized on the desktop in a grid. Unfortunately, the default desktop configuration isn’t optimized for the best use of your screen real estate. This is especially problematic if you use a Windows device with a smaller screen. However, with a few easy tweaks, you can customize your Windows 10 desktop to make the best use of your screen space.
Change your screen resolution
The first thing you can do to reclaim some screen real estate is to check your device’s display resolution. Increasing the resolution can make the text and icons appear sharper and also makes them smaller. This means they take up less space.
To change you screen resolution, click on the Start button to pull up the Start menu. Next, open the Settings menu by clicking on the cog icon. With the Settings window open, click “System” and select “Display” from the menu on the left. Scroll down until you see “Display resolution.” Select an appropriate resolution from the drop-down box. Pick the resolution that looks the best to you.
Use small desktop icons
If your desktop is looking cluttered, one of the easiest ways to clean it up is to resize the icons on your desktop. To do so, right-click the desktop, highlight “View” and select “Small icons.” Alternatively, if you are using a Windows 10 device with a touch screen, you can press and hold on the screen to pull up the menu. Doing so will automatically shrink the size of your desktop icons and clear some much needed space.
Prep the taskbar
The taskbar has been one of the most recognizable aspects of the Windows 10 operating system. It is home to the Start button and software icons, allowing users to quickly launch frequently used programs. However, the taskbar can chew up quite a bit of screen space, at least at its default setting. Fortunately, you can change a number of aspects of your taskbar to minimize its footprint.
That being said, the Windows 10 taskbar is locked by default. This prevents any changes being made to how the taskbar looks or behaves. Therefore, the first thing you need to do is unlock the taskbar. To do so, right-click on an empty part of your taskbar and click on “Taskbar settings.” In the Taskbar Settings menu, ensure that the toggle switch labeled “Lock the taskbar” is off. If it is on, you will not be able to make any changes to your taskbar.
Use smaller taskbar buttons
As we mentioned above, the taskbar is home to software icons and system buttons. They’re all useful; however, the default size is quite large. Regrettably, this in turn makes the taskbar eat up more of your screen. Fortunately, you can change the size of the icons and system buttons that live on the taskbar.
To do so, right click on an empty part of the taskbar. In the context menu that opens, click on “Taskbar settings.” In the menu window, scroll down to find the toggle switch labelled “Use small taskbar buttons” and flick it on. Doing so will shrink the icons and buttons on the taskbar significantly. In addition, it will reduce the size of the taskbar itself, allowing you to reclaim some screen real estate.
Change taskbar location
Speaking of the Windows 10 taskbar, there are a few additional things you can do to minimize its footprint. Jump back into the Taskbar Settings menu by right-clicking on the taskbar and selecting “Taskbar Settings.” In the Taskbar Settings menu, scroll down to the option labeled “Taskbar location on screen.” Using the drop-down menu, change the taskbar location from the bottom of the screen to either the left or right of the screen.
Everyone’s screen size is different; however, virtually everyone utilizes a display that has a “widescreen” orientation. Moving the taskbar to the left or right of the display will make better use of your screen’s available viewing area. This is because the left and right of your screen are shorter than the top or the bottom. Therefore, removing the taskbar from the bottom of the screen and relocating it to the left or right will result in the taskbar consuming less of your display.
Automatically hide the taskbar
In order to maximize your screen real estate, you may want to consider hiding the taskbar completely. This little trick is probably familiar to Mac users, as it’s common knowledge that the dock, OS X and macOS’s taskbar equivalent, can be hidden off screen and made visible again when the mouse is brought down to the bottom of the screen. The taskbar in Windows 10 can be easily hidden so that it disappears when you don’t need it.
To do so, right click on an empty area of your taskbar. in the menu that appears, click on “Taskbar settings.” This will open the Taskbar Settings menu, which, if you’ve been following along, should be very familiar to you by now.
Find the toggle switch labelled “Automatically hide the taskbar in desktop mode” and click it to the on position. Furthermore, if you have a 2-in-1 device and would like to hide the taskbar when your device is in tablet mode, flick the toggle switch labelled “Automatically hide the taskbar in tablet mode.”
Your taskbar should automatically disappear from your display. To access your taskbar again, simply move the mouse to the edge of the screen where your taskbar is located, and it will reappear.
If you prefer not to be distracted by the notifications, you can learn how to use the Focus Assist to control your notifications in Windows 10.