I really like the taskbar in Windows 7, I think combining buttons to launch apps and the icons that show your running apps is groovy. However, because I like having as much space as possible, I've got small icons enabled and shrunk the bar down to one row. I've also told it not to group the running apps unless there's no space left (to save me having to work harder to find the particular window I want), which also means that they have captions, and are thus quite wide.

The (admittedly small) problem this gives me is that I can pin all my favourite apps to the bar, which looks much like the old Quick Launch bar, but when I launch them the running apps because much wider, and the unlaunched apps get lost amongst them. I can manually change the order to fix this, but next time I'll launch a different app and I'll be back to square one. What I'd prefer is for small unlaunched icons to be kept on the left, and wider running apps to move over to the right, which for me would be the best of both worlds. Is there any way I can organise that?

I'm aware that one can use the traditional quick launch bar in Windows 7, but that's not what I'm after; I generally prefer the Windows 7 way.

EDIT: To clarify, I'm specifically not looking for a solution like the one described here - http://www.sevenforums.com/tutorials/888-quick-launch-enable-disable.html. I'd much prefer generally standard Windows 7 behaviour, just with a more sensible (to my taste) grouping of icons.

This is what I don't want: Example of unwanted behaviour

This is what I do want, automatically: enter image description here

  • It's very annoying. I'm finding I prefer Always Combine, but not sliding the app activation buttons over to the left automatically strikes me as a bizarre oversight. For what it's worth, I'm a web UI dev. They shouldn't have overlooked that as an option. – Erik Reppen Dec 5 '12 at 15:20

Windows 7 does not use a Quick Launch toolbar. The new way is known as Pinning to the Taskbar. However, you can emulate the traditional Quick Launch feature by doing the following:

  • Make a new folder. The name does not matter; in my example I used:


  • Add shortcuts to the folder.


  • Right click the Taskbar and select New toolbar....

    New toolbar

  • When you select the folder, it should show up in the Taskbar.


  • You can leave it as is, or you can slim it down a bit by hiding the Title and/or Text. Note: you have to unlock the Taskbar first.

    Show Title/Text

  • End result, with Taskbar > [x] use small icons:

    End result

  • 1
    Excellent answer and good use of images. – user3463 Nov 30 '11 at 21:30
  • 1
    Looks awesome with pictures – surfasb Nov 30 '11 at 22:54
  • Sorry, I thought I described this clearly enough, but perhaps not: I am aware that you can do this (you can even choose the (still present in the folder structure) traditional Quick Launch folder instead of creating a new one), but I don't want to. I generally want Windows 7 behaviour, but with activated and non-activated icons to not be mixed on the taskbar. I'm entirely open to the idea that it's not possible. – frumious Dec 1 '11 at 8:54
  • 1
    @frumious Does this method not accomplish your goal? If you move the toolbar to the left, it should be the same as your 2nd screenshot. – iglvzx Dec 2 '11 at 20:33
  • @iglvzx No, because then the buttons you launch the apps with don't become the "open apps" icons as with the standard Windows 7 bar, and the interface to "pin" things doesn't work in the same way, etc. I realise I'm asking a lot here, am preparing myself for disappointment... – frumious Dec 8 '11 at 14:04

I know this is not the solution to your problem, but I discovered the Windows 7 Taskbar Tweaker that may be a partial fix.

enter image description here

You can set the width of the buttons to a much smaller size of say 75 or 100px (default is 150px) in order to free up space when you have lots of programs running and before having to combine. It also allows you to change the taskbar thumbnail size, if that catches your fancy.

  • Thanks for suggesting this. I've tried it, and I don't think it does exactly what I want, but it does help: if you check the "don't group pinned items" option, the pinned items stay over on the left separate from the open taskbar items, which always appear on the right. So like the Quicklaunch, but without actually resurrecting it. The one thing missing is that I want the pinned item to become the open item, but still move to the right with the other open ones, moving back to be with the pinned ones when it's closed. I've asked RaMMicHael, who makes the tool, whether that's possible. – frumious Jan 21 '13 at 11:52
  • ...and he says it's not. :( – frumious Jan 21 '13 at 11:54

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