The Taskbar is and has been an integral part of Windows since the beginning and gives you options for customization that help suit your needs whether for work or for play. Here are some options that can make your computer behave the way you desire.
Even though there are new features for the taskbar in Windows 8 and 8.1, some of these may apply to other Windows versions. To access your taskbar settings, open your control panel and then click “Taskbar and Navigation.” If the view of your Control Panel is by category, I recommend you change the view to “Large icons” or “Small icons” simply by clicking the” “View by: Category” in the upper-right corner and then selecting your choice in the drop-down menu. Now, you should be able to find the “Taskbar and Navigation” icon.
A small box will open with several tabs across the top, namely: “Taskbar,” “Navigation,” “Jump Lists” and Toolbars.” If your computer is running something other than Windows 8, then your tabs will be named slightly different. Let’s begin with the “Taskbar” tab.
Personal preference will dictate what you choose to do, but I will give you my recommendations and you can go from there. You can change these settings anytime you wish.
Put a checkmark in the box: “Lock the taskbar.” If you checkmark the box: Auto-hide the taskbar, the taskbar will disappear after a moment when your cursor isn’t in the taskbar area. To make it reappear, just move your mouse to the bottom. I personally don’t checkmark: “Show Windows Store apps on the taskbar,” because this takes up room and isn’t really a benefit for me.
When “Peek to Preview the desktop” is selected and you have open windows, you can move your mouse to the bottom-right corner of the taskbar and if you pause, it will show your desktop without closing your windows. If you click the corner, it will minimize all your open windows into the taskbar giving you access to those items on your desktop.
Make your choices and then click the “Navigation” tab at the top of the box.
Some of these options are self-explanatory. Under “Corner navigation,” you have the option of using the charm bar or not. Most of you will not need to checkmark: “replace command Prompt with Windows PowerShell in the menu when I right-click the lower-left corner or press Windows key+X.”
In the next section, “Start screen,” you can choose to have your computer boot directly to the desktop and return to the desktop when you close all apps. If you checkmark: “Show my desktop background on Start,” you will see the same background used in desktop mode, as your Start screen background too.
I will cover the next two tabs, “Jump Lists” and “Toolbars,” next week along with customizations for your Start screen and apps screen. Click “OK” to save your changes and close the Taskbar and Notifications properties box.
One last feature, if you move your cursor to the lower-left corner and you click the Windows 8 logo, it will take you to the Start screen or return you to your previous screen. You can now access this button anytime simply by moving your cursor to the lower-left corner.
For 14 years, Scott Lindsay has helped tens of thousands of people better their skills, publishing more than 250 articles about Microsoft software, the computer and the Internet. You can reach Scott for comments or questions at Scott@HollywoodScott.com.