Windows has some traditional features carried over for many years. Start button and taskbar are two such features used for many years. In our previous articles, we have explained how to customize Windows 10 start menu and task manager. In this article, let us explore on how to customize Windows 10 taskbar.
Customizing Taskbar Windows
Microsoft frequently changes the customization options to add and remove items in the taskbar. For example, you can change the taskbar icons position to left or center in Windows 11. However, Windows 10 has a completely different setup and limited options compared to the latest version. Here are the things you can customize and make the most out of your taskbar.
1. Disable Taskbar in Secondary Monitor
When you connect secondary monitor to your computer, by default Windows 10 will show taskbars on both monitor displays. Some people may like this as you can independently work on each monitor screens. However, some people only wanted to have taskbar on the main computer display. In such case follow the below instructions to disable the taskbar on secondary monitor.
- Press ‘Win + I’ keys to open Windows Settings app. Navigate to ‘Personalization > Taskbar’ options. Otherwise, simply right click on the empty area of your taskbar and select ‘Taskbar settings’.
- Scroll down to ‘Multiple displays’ section.
- Turn off ‘Show taskbar on all displays’ option.
This will disable the taskbar on all extended monitors. You also have two additional options:
- Show taskbar button only on the monitor on which the application is open or both main and secondary monitors.
- Combine buttons on main and secondary taskbars by hiding the labels, when the taskbar is full or never.
2. Add Toolbars in Taskbar
You do not need to live with the default icons showing on the taskbar. Right click on the main taskbar and select the options from ‘Toolbars’. Remember, ‘Toolbars’ will be available only on the main monitor’s taskbar, you will not find this option if you right click on the taskbar on the secondary monitor.
Windows 10 offers some default toolbars for your taskbar with an option to add your own custom folder.
- Address – super cool option to address bar directly on your taskbar. You can simply enter website’s address and hit enter key to open the site in Edge browser.
- Links – add quick links from your favorite bar of the Edge browser. You can click on the double arrow and click on the favorite link to open the site in Edge.
- Desktop – this will add a desktop shortcut in your taskbar. You can click on the double arrow and choose any of the items available on your desktop.
- Language bar – show or hide language bar in taskbar, useful when you use multiple languages on your computer.
- New toolbar… – click on this option and choose the folder. It will add the shortcut of the folder link on the taskbar. So if you want to quickly access any folders then simply add on your taskbar using this option.
3. Show or Hide Icons in Taskbar
On taskbar settings, you have links available under ‘Notification area’ section.
- Select which icons appear on the taskbar – you will see an up arrow after the system tray icons like network, speaker and battery. Click on that to see more apps hidden in the taskbar. Using this option, you can bring those icons available in the system tray directly. You can also disable the available system tray icons.
- Turn system icons on or off – use this option to enable or disable default system icons on the taskbar tray. You can show or hide the apps like clock, action center, volume control, battery, network status, touchpad, etc.
4. Change Taskbar Location
If you are bored with always seeing the taskbar on the bottom of the computer then this option is for you. Under taskbar settings, look for the option ‘Taskbar location on screen’. Click on the dropdown and select one of the available options like bottom, top, left or right. Your taskbar will instantly move to the selected location on the monitor display.
5. Lock Taskbar
You can drag the taskbar and increase the height. This may disturb the windows that you are working on especially like typing on Word or Outlook emails. It is a good idea to lock the height of the taskbar so you cannot move it accidentally. You can set this by enabling the ‘Lock the taskbar’ option under taskbar setting.
6. Automatically Hide Taskbar
Enable ‘Automatically hide the taskbar in desktop mode’ if you do not like the taskbar always occupying the portion of your window. You can also hide the taskbar on tablet mode.
Windows will show the taskbar only when you move the cursor on the hidden taskbar area.
7. Pin Apps to Taskbar
Another useful feature in Windows is to pin the apps on the start menu and taskbar. You can right click on any of the app and choose ‘Pin to Taskbar’ option to add the icon in taskbar.
If you have already pinned the app then right click context menu will show the option for unpinning the app.
8. Arrange Open Windows from Taskbar
Looking for viewing multiple open windows on the same monitor display like titles? Right click on the taskbar and choose on the below options to arrange all the open windows:
- Cascade windows
- Show windows stacked
- Show windows side by side
9. Show or Preview Desktop
Most of use ‘Win + D’ to show the desktop quickly. You have some more options on the taskbar for this too.
- Right click on the taskbar and choose ‘Show Desktop’.
- Click on the ‘Show desktop’ button at corner of the taskbar. Here you have an additional option to view the preview of the desktop on hovering this small button. Go to taskbar settings and enable the option ‘Use Peek to preview the desktop when you move your mouse to the Show desktop button at the end of the taskbar’.
10. Right Click on Taskbar apps for More Options
Do you want always open Edge browser window in incognito mode? On Windows 10, Edge is by default pinned to the taskbar. Right click on the Edge icon and choose ‘New inPrivate window’ to launch browser in private mode.
You can do many things by right clicking the app on the taskbar depending upon the app’s capability.
11. Hide Cortana Search
Windows 10 has two search options – Windows Search showing by clicking on the Start menu and Cortana Search showing in the taskbar next to Start button. Right clicking on the taskbar will allow you to customize the Cortana Search under ‘Search’ option:
- Hidden – complete remove the search from the taskbar
- Show search icon – show the lens icon, you can click and then enter the keywords for searching.
- Show search box – enable search box so that you can directly type the search keywords on the taskbar. However, this will occupy the portion of the taskbar making it congested.
12. Task View Button
On Windows, the taskbar has new option called ‘Task View’. This will help to view all open apps and choose the one you want to switch. You can also press ‘Win + Tab’ keys to open task view.
It is also possible to remove task view button from the right click context menu.
13. Replace Command Prompt with Windows PowerShell
Right click on the Start button to access Windows power user menu. You may be surprised to see a new option called ‘Windows PowerShell’ and ‘Windows PowerShell(Admin)’. Windows 10 uses Windows PowerShell instead of the traditional Command Prompt. If you want to enable the Command Prompt back then turn off the option ‘Replace Command Prompt with Windows PowerShell in the menu when I right-click the start button or press Windows key+X’ under taskbar settings.
14. Sign Out from Computer
You can logout from the computer by right clicking on the Start button and choosing ‘Shutdown or sign out > Sign out’.
15. Combine Icons and Show Labels
By default, taskbar will show one icon for the app and hide the label or description of the open window. For example, when you have two Word documents opened, taskbar will show only one Word icon without the name or label of the documents. You can move the cursor over the Word icon and choose one of the documents. This way it helps to avoid congestion on the taskbar. However, you can also show two Word icon along with label. Go to taskbar settings and look for the option ‘Combine taskbar buttons’. Click on the dropdown and choose on the option:
- Always, hide labels – this is the default shows one icon per app and hide the labels.
- When taskbar is full – Windows will show icon along with label for each open window until the taskbar is full. After that, it will start combining the apps and start showing as single icon with the top open window.
- Never – this option will always show the apps and labels even you open many windows that exceed the length of the taskbar.