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Windows 7 includes an enhanced Taskbar that addresses minimizing clutter and putting commonly needed functions in a single place. And the biggest change is how Microsoft has combined the Taskbar's ability to manage open applications, and other Windows with program launching capabilities. Instead of two separate areas between the Start button or Windows Orb on the left, and the tray that you see on the right-hand side, we have a single area. We don't have two separate areas now, for running programs and shortcuts.
So, they're all located down here together on the Taskbar and this helps to minimize the number of UI locations you need to visit to get your work done. So, let's open a program or two. We'll go to the Windows Orb and if you have got the Calculator handy, you can try that one or any other program for that matter. Notice now that it appears on the Taskbar next to the shortcut buttons that we see there by default. Now, any running application looks a little bit different. You can see it's shaded and it's got this border. Now buttons appear on the Taskbar in the order that they were open, but one cool thing you can do now with the Taskbar buttons is to place them in the order that you want.
So, let's open up another program, we'll go to the Windows Orb and this time we'll open up Paint. And because it was opened second, you can see it appears second here, in the Taskbar after the other running program. And these two appear after the three shortcuts. But we can move these around. Let's move the Paint ahead of the Calculator or let's move it all the way over to the left, in front of the Explorer icon. So it is really up to you the order that these appear. Now, with Aero themes, which we talked about in the previous lesson, there is a new feature known as Aero Peeks.
And thumbnails can be accessed from the Taskbar or by using something called Windows Flip. You may remember the old Alt+Tab, now we can do the Windows+Tab to move between running programs. So, hold down your Windows button on the keyboard and press Tab. You can see now we've got a few different things running here, pressing Tab brings each item to the front. So, we can go back to the desktop, back to Paint or bring Calculator to the front. Release the Windows button, and that's what you see on top.
Of course, you still have Alt+Tab, which will allow you to move directly to any of those items. Here's a neat feature too, when you have more than one Window opened in any program. For example, if you have multiple Spreadsheets open in Excel or if we launch Explorer you can see now that it appears down at the bottom with that shaded border indicating that it's a running program. Right-click the Explorer icon down at the bottom and click Internet Explorer to open a second Window.
Notice that they are overlapped. Now here's something that's really cool. It's a part of the Aero themes package. It's called Aero Peak. When you hover over an icon, you are going to see the open Windows presented in front of you. Here, we've got two that are exactly the same. So, let's go to our www.lynda.com site here. We'll click up in the address bar and go to a different site. Let's go to www.microsoft.com. Now, when I move down to my Explorer icon on the Taskbar and just hover over it, I get a little peek at the two windows.
So, if I wanted to see what's going on with the www.lynda.com one, I just simply hover over it, and if that's the window I want to switch to, I click once to get there. Another thing we can do using Aero Peeks, so let's go back down to the Explorer icon on the Taskbar. You will notice when you move up to either one of these open Windows, there is a close button in the top right corner. So, you don't have to select it and then go to the close button to close it up. You can close it right from here. There we go. Now, we are left with one and you can see my icon hass changed slightly. I don't see that stacking or overlapping.
Now you may have noticed the absence of a Show desktop icon on the Taskbar, for hiding all of your open Windows. And this feature has been improved and renamed to Preview Desktop. It's a part of the Aero Peek's functionality. In this case, we move all the way over to the right-hand side of our Taskbar. You know as we just hover over that little rectangle on the right, that's the Show desktop, our open or running programs become invisible or see through. You can see there are borders. But this allows us to see the desktop, any shortcuts or any gadgets we might have running.
And if you actually want to minimize everything, click this button, and everything does get minimized down to the Taskbar. You can see which ones are running: Explorer, Calculator, and Paint. They look different then Windows Explorer and the Media Player down there on the Taskbar. So, we can quickly go back to any one of those, with a single click. Now that's the default Taskbar, of course, you can change how your Taskbar behaves. All you need to do is go to a blank spot on the Taskbar, anywhere with your mouse pointer, and right-click, and you'll see some options right away, such as Lock the taskbar.
By default it's checked off, meaning it's a locked down there at the bottom of your screen. But we can move it around. First we need to unlock it. So we'll click Lock the taskbar, which does unlock it. And now go to a blank spot on your Taskbar, click and drag it over to the right and you'll see what it looks like on the right side of your screen. Or move it to the left, if that's where you like it. That hides my shortcuts so I am going to move it back down to the bottom. When you hit the bottom of your screen and it appears there, let go. And this is where you might want to lock it, so we can right-click again and choose Lock the taskbar.
But there's more properties as well, so let's go back down there, right-click, and choose Properties. For example, one popular one is the Auto-hide feature. This means that when you're not using the Taskbar, it kind of hides itself out of the way. Click the Auto-hide checkbox and click Apply. This way we apply, the change but we keep the Taskbar and Start menu Properties Window open. Notice that it's disappeared until we move our mouse pointer down to the bottom. Then it reappears. I am going to deselect that, and leave it so that the Taskbar is always in view.
We can change the location from here as well. You can see it is set to the Bottom. But we can go Left or Right or even the Top if you prefer. The Taskbar buttons always combine and hide labels. Now, this is important when you start to run many, many different programs at the same time or have multiple files open in an application. You have some options here. You can Combine when the taskbar is full, Never combine or Always combine and hide labels. So let's say we have got three Spreadsheets open in Excel. And there's no room on the Taskbar for each one to appear as a separate button.
Well, they could always get combined. You would hide the labels or wait till the Taskbar is full, until they get combined into one icon that's stacked, like we saw with Explorer for example, or you could choose to Never combine and they will always have to appear side-by-side and they get smaller and smaller. So you may have seen this in the past with other versions of Windows such as XP or even Vista where the Taskbar gets kind of full and gets crowded. Now you have the ability to combine them and choose the option that best suits you. Always combine and hide labels is selected and that's why when we had multiple Explorer Windows, they appeared stacked.
But if you only wanted them combined when the Taskbar is full. You can make that selection. Click Apply. And now down below you can see they are spread out, and we can see the labels, Taskbar Untitled Paint, the Calculator. You can even see a little bit about Explorer. Let's go back to here, and right-click and open up another Internet Explorer, see how it appears side-by-side and not stacked. So, now it's starting to get a little bit crowded. Let's right-click and go back to Properties, and let's go to our Taskbar buttons dropdown, and choose Always combine and hide the labels, when we click Apply, you can see how it's tidied up our Taskbar, our Explorer icons are stacked.
We have got Aero Peek, so that helps us to determine what we want to do with those Windows. Also, you'll notice we can customize the Notification area, which icons and notifications appear in that area, known previously as the Tray. We've got some icons down here that can be customized and we can choose which ones we want to hide and show using the Customize button. Use Aero Peek to preview the desktop is turned on, by default and that's why we are able to hover over these and see that little peek of the window, to determine whether or not we want to go there or for example, shut it down.
So, let's click OK and it'll save any changes. We'll close up any open programs, we know they are open from the Taskbar, if they have got that border and shading and we can close them directly from there, by clicking the close button inside the thumbnail. So that's the new and improved Taskbar in Windows 7.
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