Atryeu Designs » Computers & Internet » Tutorials & Guides » Changing your Taskbar
This guide will teach you to adjust your taskbar (the bar at the bottom of your screen) to your liking. This guide was written for Windows XP and may not work on older systems and there may be differences with newer systems.

Taskbar Appearance

First off, in order to adjust anything we need to open the settings. Right-Click on an empty part of the taskbar and click Properties. Make sure you don't click on anything else or you'll open the wrong settings.

Lets go over the settings you can change under this first section.....

Lock Taskbar: This setting allows you to lock the icons in place. With this selected you won't accidently move any of the quick links or resize or move the taskbar.
Auto-Hide: If this is selected it will hide the taskbar for you to allow for more viewing room. It will appear again when you hover your mouse over the taskbar area
Keep on Top..: This makes sure the taskbar will always be visable if other programs are running.
Group Similiar..: With this selected, it will group opened programs and windows together to easily find what your looking for.
Show Quick Launch: If this is not selected it will hide the quick launch icons found near the Start menu.

Lock Taskbar
It is best to keep the taskbar locked when your not adjusting the settings so nothing gets messed up on accident later on, so don't forget to lock it when your finished! By default the taskbar is set to the smallest size and located at the bottom of the screen but it doesn't have to be. Make sure the taskbar is NOT locked when making these adjustments! If you hover over the top of the taskbar the cursor changes and you can click and drag the taskbar so it is taller if you like. I prefer to keep it at the smallest size though for the extra viewing room.

It is not limited to just size adjustments though. You can place it on the other edges of the screen if you like as well. If you click the taskbar and drag it, you will find it can be placed at the top or either side of the screen also. Each person is different so if you do not like it at the bottom, you can move it to the top, left or right of the screen instead.

For those that like the extra viewing room on your screen, this is a handy feature. With it selected, your taskbar will be hidden from view until you hover the mouse over it for a few seconds.

Keep on top of other programs
With this selected the taskbar will always be visible if other programs are opened. If it is not selected, whatever program is currently active will hide the taskbar from view. I prefer to keep it selected so I don't have to go searching for my taskbar through a bunch of opened programs.

Group Similar Programs
If you tend to have a lot of programs or windows open, this will arrange them in the taskbar so similar programs and windows are grouped next to each other instead of in the order you opened them. It can make finding things a little easier sometimes if you open multiple things at once.

Show Quick Launch
The quick launch is the set of icons next to the Start menu. They make it easy to open programs you use a lot very quickly. You can add programs you use often to the quick launch so they open with a single click. If you keep the taskbar visible at all times then they are there whenever you need to use something. This is a good place to have a shortcut to your desktop so you can jump back there quickly if you have a bunch of programs opened at the same time.

Notification Area

There are only two settings here to adjust but they can come in very handy.

Show Clock
With this selected, the clock will be displayed in the taskbar. Pretty simple and not much else to say about it.

Hide Inactive Icons
With this selected, any icons in the notification area (near the clock) that have not been active within a certain length of time will be hidden from view.

If you click the Customize button you will be given a list of various icons that are currently located there or have shown up in the past. You can sort through the list and tell each item to be hidden always, hide when it's inactive or always show it. This can be handy to help hide all of those icons that you don't want or need to say constantly.

Start Menu Tab

You can also access Start Menu settings from the same window. For Windows XP, you have two options inside. You can view the new Start Menu or use the Classic menu from previous Windows systems. Each option comes with it's own extra settings as well to further customize how it looks and behaves.

Start Menu Options
The General Tab allows you to select Large or Small Icons for the menu, how many programs are displayed that you use often as well as select which internet browser and email program you want displayed.

The Advanced tab allows you to adjust what items are displayed in the menu, have a delay when you hover the mouse over a folder, highlight new programs and also clear recently opened files and programs.

Classic Start Menu Options
These options are pretty simple to figure out so I won't go into much detail. From here you can Add, Remove or Sort the items in your Start Menu. The Advanced button opens the Start Menu folder in Windows Explorer where you can add, remove or rename items. You can also clear recently used files and programs that show up in the Documents folder in the Start Menu. The Advanced Options allow you to add special items to the Start Menu or expand certain areas.
This concludes this guide. Check the other tutorials and guides for further ways to make your desktop your own!