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Is there a way to arrange windows within the same application in the taskbar of Windows 7?

Right now we can freely adjust each application's position in the taskbar, but within the app itself the windows can't be reordered, for example multiple windows of firefox or chrome.

  • 5
    Can we expand this question to Windows 8 (including 8.1), since the problem still exists there? And Windows 10, if it exists there too? – Mathieu K. Nov 10 '15 at 14:36
60

You can do this with 7 Taskbar Tweaker.

Just check the box Drag to reorder under Thumbnails section:

screenshot

As stated on the app, it's allowing you to reorder from the thumbnail: hover the app on the taskbar and wait until the windows' thumbnail is shown, then click-and-drag the thumbnail to reorder it. The corresponding window on the taskbar will follow the order of the thumbnail.

The previously mentioned Taskbar Shuffle doesn't support Windows 7 yet, to my knowledge.

  • 1
    You can reorder the thumbnails by checking the box "Drag to reorder" under the "Thumbnails" section in 7 Taskbar Tweaker. It works now like it should. If you don't want to use that approach, then inside of Taskbar Tweaker you can click the "Taskbar Inspector" and drag around instances of your app inside of the app group and they will move in realtime. – MikeTeeVee Jun 13 '12 at 19:21
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    and you can sort alphabetically from 7 taskbar tweaker..taskbar inspector – barlop Jan 5 '13 at 2:54
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    Clarification, this feature allows you to drag and drop the thumbnails that appear when you hover over taskbar buttons. You still cannot drag the buttons in the taskbar. – Bob Stein Nov 1 '15 at 17:53
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    @BobStein-VisiBone: I just tried it on Windows 8.1. What you're saying (that the taskbar buttons themselves can't be dragged around) is technically correct, but it behooves me to point out that when you reorder the thumbnails, the taskbar buttons follow accordingly. – Mathieu K. Nov 10 '15 at 13:17
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    Windows 10 version – ChickenFeet Feb 27 '18 at 5:11
14

This is possible, but quite hacky.

Lets consider, you have three windows of the same application: A, B and C. You want them to be shown on task bar as [A][B][C], while they are shown in some other order. To achieve this do the following:

  1. Activate the windows one by one in the order, which is reversal of the desired order, i.e. activate window C, then B, then A
  2. Now window A is on top, window B is under A and window C is under B
  3. Press Ctrl+Shift+Esc to open Windows Task Manager
  4. Find explorer.exe process in Processes tab, select it and press End Process
  5. Choose File->New Task (Run...), enter explorer and click OK.
  6. When started, explorer arranges taskbar buttons according to the z-order of windows, so buttons will be arranged as [A][B][C]

This method will probably kill all Windows Explorer windows. If you need to preserve them, do the following:

  1. Press Win+E to open Windows Explorer
  2. Go to Organize->Folder and search options->View->Advanced settings:
  3. Check Launch folder windows in separate process checkbox and click OK

Now, if you have at least one Windows Explorer window, then at step 4 of the original instruction you will see two explorer.exe processes: one responsible for taskbar and another responsible for Windows Explorer windows.

To distinguish which one is which, turn on Command Line column in Task Manager (View->Select Columns...>Command Line). The explorer.exe process responsible for taskbar (i.e. the one you need to kill) will not have any arguments in command line, so its command line will look like C:\Windows\explorer.exe. The other explorer.exe process will have much longer command line looking like this: C:\Windows\explorer.exe /factory,{ceff45ee....

  • 1
    Unlike a display driver crash, this option doesn't preserve File Explorer windows. Still, it's nice to have a built-in option. – Mathieu K. Nov 10 '15 at 13:10
  • (I'm talking about substituting a display driver crash for steps 4 and 5, btw—which sometimes happens idiopathically on my system, and which I cannot reproduce at will.) In short, this answer explains why the order changes upon a display driver crash. – Mathieu K. Nov 14 '15 at 19:23
  • In step 2, Ctrl+Shift+Esc starts Task Manager. In step 5, Ctrl+R then typing explorer Enter starts Explorer. – Gnubie Mar 23 '16 at 19:11
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    You're a beautiful man. This has plagued me for longer than I'd care to admit. One note of "caution", make sure that you repeat steps 1-2 for all multi-window processes to ensure that you don't accidentally de-order a different program – goodguy5 Apr 8 '16 at 13:54
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    Anything like this for Windows 10? – Martin Feb 2 '17 at 16:15
2

No. Unfortunately, it is not possible yet. Opened instances of the same application are combined and their live thumbnails cannot be reordered.

Note that even if you disable Combine (Right-Click Taskbar -> Properties -> Taskbar panel -> Taskbar Buttons dropdown), an application with several instances opened will still move as one group.

  • Actually using 7+ Taskbar Tweaker does exactly this. Under grouping, you select Don't Group and you can separate multiple instances of the same program. I've been looking for years for this "simple" ability. – Jon Grah May 7 at 3:51
2

You can use RBTray to hide all windows and then show them in the order as you wanted.

  • This is actually a simple and brilliant solution and one I have sworn by for years. Ok, so not as simple as being able to drag directly, but still dead easy, and also gives the advantage of being able to minimise almost any window to the tray if you simple wish to keep them there. Why Microsoft does not add a 'minimise to tray' option to the standard Windows menu is beyond me – Patrick Herrera Dec 20 '17 at 22:44
  • Thanks! This is simple and lovely. I just wanted to share that this does not work with some newer Electron apps (eg VS Code). However, there's an RBTray fork out there which adds a shortcut, win+alt+down, that does the same, and that one does work everywhere I tried: github.com/benbuck/rbtray – skrebbel Dec 19 '18 at 8:16
1

If you just want to re-order firefox or chrome, hitting F11 to put a browser into full screen mode will put that browser window to the far right of the list. It can be a little tedious, but if you want one specific window to be on the far left, just F11 all of the browser windows except the one you want on the left.

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    Which OS? On my Windows 8.1, Chrome (Version 46.0.2490.80 m) has this behaviour, but Firefox 42.0 does not, even in its safe mode. On an old VM of Windows 7 32-bit, I install Chrome and FF (same versions as on 8.1), but neither shows this behaviour. – Mathieu K. Nov 10 '15 at 14:33
  • This was my go-to solution on Windows 7, but it does not work on Windows 10. Or maybe it depends on the browser version. I seem to think that at some point it stopped working for me even on Windows 7 Pro sometime in 2018? - so maybe that was after a browser (or Windows) update? Super Bummer loosing that ability !! – SherylHohman Jan 19 at 19:22

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