Windows 7 Taskbar Reviewed

By Guest Author - Mon, April 6, 2009 - 10 comments

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This review was written by Gilberto J. Perera from LaptopLogic.com – A well established guide for laptops. On LaptopLogic you can find the best Toshiba laptop reviews and go through the latest ultraportable laptops.

With the release of Windows 7 less than a year away, Windows enthusiasts are looking forward to the changes and improvements to the new Windows operating system. Among those improvements is the facelift that the taskbar has received in this iteration of the operating system. This article will describe the new taskbar and list some of the improvements made in this version. If you have any comments or questions, please list them below.

Note: Windows 7 Build 7000 was used for this review

Taskbar Overview

windows-7-taskbar-1

As you’ll quickly notice Microsoft has kept the same layout as previous version of Windows except it is now taller. We’ll discuss the components below.

  1. The first item is the Windows Orb which was adopted in Windows Vista and kept for Windows 7.
  2. The Quick Launch toolbar also remains but has been implemented with larger icons.
  3. Open programs will appear as icons instead of icon and text as with previous versions.
  4. The notification area remains the same except that the arrow to expand hidden items now points up instead of to the left.
  5. The taller Taskbar allows for the display of Time and the Date.
  6. The ‘Show Desktop’ shortcut previously included in the Quick Launch bar has been converted to a narrow bar at the end of the taskbar.

windows-7-taskbar-2

Some of the Taskbar functional and visual enhancements have led to a series of changes. When the mouse pointer hovers over the open program a short description will be displayed (see image above).

windows-7-taskbar-3

When the user right-clicks on a Quick Launch shortcut a menu appears which allows the user to open the shortcut or unpin the shortcut from the Quick Launch bar. The same occurs for programs that are open, see screenshot below.

windows-7-taskbar-4

Taskbar Options

Aside from the aesthetic and functional improvements described above, a plethora of new options have been made available. I will describe some of those options below.

windows-7-taskbar-5

The Taskbar and Start Menu Properties window allows you to configure the settings for these items. Some of the additions to this version of Windows are;

The capability to use small icons for the taskbar (this will automatically resize the taskbar and reduce its height; this will also disable the display of the date).

windows-7-taskbar-6

You will also be able to set the location of the taskbar using the drop-down (you can still drag the unlocked taskbar to any location on the desktop).

You will have the option of temporarily viewing the Desktop by simply placing the mouse on the far end of the taskbar (over the new desktop button).

First Impressions

Considering that this is a beta build of Windows 7, I am very pleased with some of the aesthetics and functional elements that appear to have been improved in this beta of the upcoming OS. I really like the use of icons instead of icon and text for open programs. I also like the ability to use larger icons on the taskbar.

It seems that Microsoft has focused on simplifying and improving the overall user experience. I only hope that the next iterations of the beta will show Microsoft’s attempt to mimic a dynamic taskbar/dock like that found in the Mac OS.

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10 Comments- Leave a Reply

  1. SLam says:

    It grew on me and now I am liking it.

  2. Nestor says:

    I’ve been trying the beta 7000 for quite a while now and the taskbar is great, you do get lost the first couple of times but once you get used to it, a lot of things become much easier and faster. I think this is a great step forward.
    For a beta this is an extremely stable version, I use it for everyday work and it runs flawlessly.
    Hopefully they’ll add a few thing that makes it better for the final release!

  3. Keith says:

    I use it as my main OS at home and at work and haven’t had any major issues. Can’t wait for RTM!

  4. Casey says:

    I dislike it frankly…will be sticking with XP till TaskbarShuffle or some other utility disables the new behavior of grouping same app together.

  5. wrathchild says:

    MS needs to get more creative and stop using square graphics circa 1970. Once again creativity is not MS strong point. I don’t expect them to copy the mac or rocketdock, but those two “taskbars” are much more appealing asthetically.

  6. ThePCPro says:

    I Love the Windows 7 Taskbar. It is confusing a bit but since I’ve read so much about it on the net and use the Beta at my home, it’s way easier than anything I’ve experienced before.

  7. Tim says:

    The taskbar is excellent in Win7. Those who would rather stick to XP are insane. And I don’t say that because of simple aesthetics. XP is dated. Just let it die.

    The screen shots shown here are quite ugly… they’re not using the default glass theme. The above comments about MS sticking to the box graphics is shamelessly untrue. Switch the skin to the correct native feel, and it’s fantastic.

  8. Rob says:

    The taskbar – nice idea, poor execution.

    Take switching between Internet Explorer windows.

    XP and Vista left them in the order they were opened, and grouped by program instances.

    Windows 7 adds graphic previews and tab instances, but there is no order of opening or grouping according to open programs, they are all treated as one ordered randomly as far i can tell.

    Ease of switching – give with one hand, take with the other.

  9. Tim says:

    @Rob

    I’m not sure I follow what you mean– if you think that the icons themselves are randomly ordered on the taskbar, then you should know something that the article leaves out: the icons are completely re-orderable by drag-and-drop. I should hope you know that, since you probably have used the OS. The article didn’t mention giving previews per-tab in IE, so you must have known some other way.

    Else, if you mean that the tab instances within IE only are randomly ordered, then I would remind you that this build is just the official beta, which is not the RC, which is not the actual release. I’m sure it won’t stay that way.

    Either way, I think I disagree with you.

  10. James says:

    I hated it at first due to the “Show Desktop” being misplaced. I have since found a way to move back next to the start orb. Frankly I was tired of accidently launching the program beside the orb expecting show desktop.

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