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Windows 7 tips and tweaks

Faster taskbar thumbnails in Windows 7

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The taskbar in Windows 7 takes the best features of previous versions of the operating system and adds some cool new features. One of the most interesting features of the taskbar is the way that thumbnail previews of the applications and windows appear when the mouse hovers over the icon. If you have multiple windows open, such as several Explorer or web browser windows, you'll see thumbnails of each one and this makes it easy to switch to the window you want. Thumbnail images don't appear immediately and there is a short delay before they are displayed.

You can adjust this delay and make it shorter so that thumbnails appear faster, or you can make it longer if you find that the thumbnails get in the way. By setting a really long delay, you can effectively turn off the thumbnail display. All it takes is a quick registry tweak.

Click Start and enter regedit to start the registry editor. In the left-hand pane go to the following key: HKEY_CURRENT_USER \Software \Microsoft \Windows \CurrentVersion \Explorer \Advanced. (Keys look like disk folders and they work in a similar way.)

Look in the right-hand pane for an item called ExtendedUIHoverTime. If it does not exist, select Edit, New, DWORD (32-bit) Value and name it ExtendedUIHoverTime. Double click the value and set the Base option to Decimal. Now you can enter the delay before the thumbnails appear in milliseconds. Enter 100 (one tenth of a second) if you want to see the thumbnails straight away or 1000 (one second) if you would like a short delay before they appear. Setting a value of 30000 would mean that the mouse would have to hover motionless over a taskbar icon for 30 seconds before a thumbnail was displayed. This is unlikely, so it effectively means that the thumbnail display is disabled. You still see pop-up application and window names though, and you may prefer this.

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