If you are a long time Windows user, you must have felt the changes to the Windows task bar from Windows XP through Windows 8. There is no way to tweak or change the behavior of the task bar without using registry. 7+ Taskbar Tweaker is a very good app which is specifically created for tweaking the task bar. This utility can be used on Windows 7 and Windows 8 task bars.
You can either download the installable version of 7+ Taskbar Tweaker or the portable edition. When you install the software, it will ask you whether you want to start it with Windows startup or not. This is because 7+ Taskbar Tweaker uses its own registry keys to make the required changes to the system. This makes it completely safe as it does not play with any Windows related registry key.
It does its job by injecting a DLL in Windows Explorer. This behavior is suspicious from an antivirus point of view and some antivirus and security software will pick this as a threat to the system. But be assured that this software is completely safe to use and does not include any virus or Trojan.
7+ Taskbar Tweaker saves all its settings in the following registry key:
HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\7 Taskbar Tweaker
Deleting this registry key will restore the default Windows settings.
The graphical user interface of 7+ Taskbar Tweaker is quite simple. It displays all its settings on one screen. All the settings are grouped into categories for ease of use. If you click on the Settings button, you will be able to run the software at Windows startup and hide system tray icon.
The overall interface is divided into three groups:
- Taskbar items
- Grouping and combining
- Other Taskbar options
By default, if we right click on any of the icons on the task bar, we get a jumplist with open windows of that particular software, recently closed windows and other related tasks and commands.
If you want the old context menu to be opened instead of the jumplist, just select “standard window menu” under Right click. The changes take effect immediately.
You can also adjust the middle mouse click behavior. The default behavior is to open a new instance of the program. You can change it to close the program or minimize it. You can also change the behavior to “Switch To” which means that the middle mouse click on the task bar icon will bring the app to focus instantly.
If you drag and drop any application to the task bar, it will be pinned to the task bar by default. This will be the behavior even if you are dropping the file or program on another icon. If you want to open the file or program when dragged on an icon on the task bar, you can adjust the settings under “Dropping” group.
If you hover your mouse cursor over any task bar icon, it displays a thumbnail of the actual window. You may change it to any of the following:
Other settings that you can customize include opening the task bar apps with double click instead of single click, removing extra gap between the icons, changing the behavior of left click and item dragging on the task bar.
Grouping and combining
By default all the open windows are grouped together according to the application type. For example, if I have open two Google Chrome windows, they will be grouped together under one icon.
This behavior was first introduced in Windows XP and became popular because it saves a lot of task bar space when a lot of windows are opened. But if you want separate icons for each window, you can select “Don’t group” under Grouping.
Other settings that you can tweak:
- When no grouping, place new items next to the existing ones
- Don’t group pinned items
- Drag within/between groups using right mouse button.
Combining is another feature which is closely related to grouping. This feature will combine all the grouped icons into a single icon.
Other settings that you can change:
- De-combine active groups
- De-combine on mouse hover
- De-combine on mouse hover and show labels
You can also change the default left click on combined items behavior to cycle through windows or open the last window if inactive. The default behavior is that it opens the thumbnails of all the windows.
Other taskbar options
One of the best tweaks available in 7+ Taskbar Tweaker is the utilization of double click and middle mouse click on the task bar.
I have selected “Ctrl + Alt + Tab” on double clicking on empty space on the task bar. This opens the complete list of thumbnails of opened programs.
Overall 7+ Taskbar Tweaker can help us customize the Windows 8 task bar according to our needs and make us more productive. The only limitation of this software it that it must be running all the time if we want to enable all the tweaks all the time.
What do you think of this nifty software? Your experiences?
Image credit: Maintenance by BigStockPhoto
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