At home i run Windows 7 with on a widescreen LCD with the taskbar to the left and this works well, but at work i just got upgraded to W7 on a 4:3 LCD and have the taskbar at the bottom.

alt text

So what's with the taskbar icon spacing? Is there any way to change this? I.e. move them closer together? There's gotta be a registry setting or some fancy Tweak UI application that will reclaim some of that elbow room.

That image above represents nearly half the width of my desktop. I know i know, white space is great and it gives it a light, whimsical look. Blah blah. Awesome, but can i get some real estate back please?


Not an answer, only a workaround

Okay, one lackluster workaround that i've found elsewhere is to restore the QuickLaunch Bar. I've done this in the meantime, but it doesn't actually do what i want -- so i'm still looking for a real way to change the taskbar icon spacing. I'm posting this answer with the thought that some may find that it is good enough.

The addition of a QuickLaunch Bar looks it look something like this:

alt text

So what i'm doing is putting the older-style apps (Visual Studio 6, 2005, and 2008, UltraEdit, IrfanView) down in the QuickLaunch, and leaving the W7-aware apps in the taskbar, so i the taskbar integration where implemented. Zune, for example, shows player controls when you hover over the icon and Smart DJ items, etc. in the popup. The downside, as you can see is that some programs (like UltraEdit) show up twice now; once in the QuickLaunch and once in the taskbar.

The benefits to this approach: when not running, the icons are handy and aren't triple-spaced.

But the downside to this approach: when running, the icons are doubled, taking even more space than before; visually it's slightly confusing; nifty taskbar features like Recent Items are not available.

So, this is one option, but doesn't really answer my question.

  • You may want to mark this as the answer to your problem if nobody else offers any advice. – qroberts Oct 14 '10 at 18:00
  • @qroberts - Possibly, eventually. But it doesn't answer my question, so i'm leaving it open. There has to be a way to adjust the spacing, and that is what i want. – b w Oct 14 '10 at 18:13
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    I know how you feel. I spent a good couple hours tweaking the Windows 7 taskbar to the way I like it, I'm still not satisfied. I think Microsoft should open it up more and allow more customization, at least in the registry or something. – qroberts Oct 14 '10 at 18:22
  • @qroberts - i wish they would. To be clear, the main reason i want to tweak it a bit is because it's so dang useful. They did such a great job with it, then left it so rigidly spaced out. – b w Oct 14 '10 at 18:26
  • One thing that really bothers me is that Windows Live Messenger and Skype have to have their own section in the taskbar and not goto the system tray like they would in earlier operating systems. – qroberts Oct 14 '10 at 18:29

I'm not sure if this answers your question, but it got me back to what I was used to (and happy with) in XP:

(Copied from here):

Actually you can create a toolbar

  • Right-click taskbar
  • hover toolbars
  • new toolbar

You can select a folder to include in the folder. Now if you would like to have the look of XP or Vista follow these instructions:

Create your toolbar, if you want to standard items in toolbar for the folder use: %userprofile%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch

After you have completed the toolbar, make sure your taskbar is unlocked. Right click your new toolbar and uncheck Show Title & Text. Next look to the left of your pinned icons and grab the dotted divider and drag to the right past your new quick launch toolbar and drop. Grab the same divider and drag to the left.

You can drag all the way and have the arrows to open the programs in the toolbar or simply leave them on the taskbar.

Lock your toolbar again

Personally, I then unpinned everything.

This is what mine now looks like:

enter image description here

  • That's kind of cool, but how is this different from just restoring the Quick Launch bar, as in my answer? Honestly though, it's been so long that i don't even remember how i restored it, so this is good info. +1 – b w Jul 23 '13 at 13:57

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