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Windows 7 hints and tips

Top taskbar tips and tricks

The taskbar in Windows 7 is slightly different to previous versions of Windows and there are some new features. One immediately obvious difference is the size and it is much taller than it used to be. If it is taking up too much space on the screen (it could be irritating on netbooks and small laptops), then there are two solutions.

Right click an empty part of the taskbar and select Properties from the menu. There is an age-old option to auto-hide the taskbar and when it isn't being used it slides out of view. Move the mouse to the bottom of the screen and it appears again. There is also an option to use small icons that is brand new in Windows 7. The taskbar isn't as tall, but the icons are smaller and not as pretty. The choice is yours.

In the Properties dialog is a drop-down list to select one of three different options for displaying taskbar buttons. In Vista there was an option to combine similar buttons into one, so if you had five Internet Explorer windows open, they would appear on one button. However, this didn't work for everything and five Explorer windows would appear as five buttons on the taskbar.

Windows 7 provides the option: Always combine, hide labels. Now even Explorer windows are combined into one button, so it's more powerful and more logical. When the mouse hovers over the icon, the windows are listed and you can select the one you want. There is also an option: Never combine. When this is selected, each window has its own taskbar button. There is also: Combine when taskbar is full. This means that windows have separate taskbar buttons provided there is enough space, but when there's none left, the buttons are combined.

The options to choose are the ones that suite you. There's no right or wrong way, so just try them all out and see which is best.

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