Windows 7 introduced a large number of productivity improvements for the taskbar. Taskbar is the horizontal area, typically at the button of the screen in Windows 7 (location is configurable, so sometime you can see taskbar on the side or even on top of the screen). Task bar is the home of the Windows Start button, it also shows the application(s) you are running and shows the status icons of the key processes of operating system. In this article we are going to find out the key improvements Microsoft had introduced in Windows 7 and how are they going to help you out work faster and more effectively.
In Windows 7 Quick Launch is part of the taskbar
In Windows XP Quick Launch Area of the taskbar was used to host shortcuts to the frequently used applications. The concept of Quick Launch became so popular, that Microsoft made the entire Windows 7 taskbar a Quick Launch area. Now you can add shortcuts of any application you use frequently on to the taskbar – it is called “pinning” the application to the taskbar. To pin the application to the taskbar you can drag and drop a shortcut from the desktop or start menu on to the taskbar. Or you can launch the application, and once it shows up on the taskbar you can right mouse click on the icon of the application and select “Pin this program to taskbar”.
In addition to dragging and dropping the application on the taskbar you can “pin” it directly from the Start Menu. You just need find the application you are looking for in the Start Menu, right mouse click on the application inside Start Menu and select “Pin to Taskbar”.
Pinning applications to the Taskbar is a reversible procedure. If you don’t think you would need the application on the taskbar anymore, you just need to right mouse click on the application and select “Unpin this program from taskbar”.
Taskbar applications preview
In Windows XP you were only able to only see the icon and name of the running application in the taskbar. Tool tip was also available when you would hover your cursor over the icon. In Windows 7 there is a new feature, called Applications Preview, which makes Taskbar more alive. With this preview feature you can now you see the small “live icon” version of the applications you are currently running in the form of small application preview
Windows 7 displays preview of multiple instances of the application on the taskbar. It also shows the name and path to help you navigate and find the right window you are trying to switch to. You just need to hover you mouse over the icon of the application on the taskbar and it would show a thumbnail of all the instances of the application that are currently executing. If you are using a lot of tabs, like I always do, when you browse the internet using IE, Firefox or Chrome you might want to reconsider this and rather use multiple instances of the browser: you would get a quick preview in the taskbar and would be able to navigate between the instances of the browser a lot faster. Think of Internet Explorer with 15 open tabs. If you need to access a specific opened tab you previously had to display the IE window again, find the tab in the web browser and click on it. Now you can simply hover the mouse over the taskbar icon, locate the tab and click on it to be taken directly to it in the Internet Explorer.
Another cool feature which helps you make decisions faster is a progress for the operation in the taskbar. Some of the examples are copy operation in Windows Explorer and DVD Burning applications support this feature and display status to you right on the taskbar in Windows 7. Green portion of the Windows Explorer icon on the taskbar in the image below represents the progress of the copy process– you can also use multiple instance previews and see the dialog box with the copy progress along with more information.