Windows XP Taskbar Properties

There are several settings for the taskbar that you can adjust right from windows.  The task bar is the bar where you access your start menu.  There are two areas of the Taskbar settings.  Taskbar appearance and Notification Area.

 Taskbar appearance

 If you right click your mouse on the task bar and select ‘Properties’ the TaskBar and Start Menu (The start menu properties will be discussed at a later date) Properties window will appear and you will see the following options where you can place a check mark in.

  • Lock the taskbar
    • Checking this box prevents you from accidentally moving the task bar from where you want it.  If you would like to move the task bar later on, just uncheck this box.
  • Auto-hide the taskbar
    • Checking this box will automatically cause the taskbar to move off the screen giving you more screen area for your application(s).  Do see the task bar again, simply move the mouse to the far edge where the taskbar is located.
  • Keep the taskbar on top of other windows
    • Checking this box will allow you to always see the taskbar while using other applications.  Otherwise you would treat the taskbar just like another application by clicking on it to use it.
  • Group similar taskbar buttons
    • If you have several internet explorer windows or several word documents opened, checking this box will group all similar instances of the application into one taskbar item.  You can select which one you want to work with simply by clicking on the taskbar item and selecting one from the list.  Without this feature, some of our taskbars would be unreadable and unmanageable.
  • Show Quick Launch
    • This simply shows the quick launch area next to the Start Menu.  This area is used for your most frequently used applications, or what ever you place in there.

Notification Area

  • Show the clock
    • This is self explanatory.  It either shows the clock in your taskbar if checked or if unchecked, doesn’t show the clock.
  • Hide inactive icons
    • Checking this box will hide any non-frequently used system tray or notification area icons.

Windows XP Toolbars

I notice a lot of people download those tool bars from Google, Yahoo, MSN etc.  Those give you a lot of neat features, however, there is a way that you can create your own customized toolbars from within Windows XP or even use some preconfigured ones.

On your task bar (usually at the bottom of your screen), if you right click and select ‘Toolbars’ you will see various choices. 

My favorite Pre-Configured ones are:

  • Address
  • Quick Launch
  • Desktop
  • New Toolbar

Address: Allows you to have a small window always on the screen where you can type in a web page address like and have it open up in a new or existing Internet Explorer window.

Quick Launch: This one is great for those applications that you use most frequently and need to open quickly without having to search for the shortcut in the start menu.  You can add applications to this simply by dragging the Shortcut from the start menu into the quick launch area.

Desktop:  All the icons that you would normally see on your desktop are now available in this toolbar.  I know what you’re thinking “Why do we need to have this toolbar when we see everything on the desktop already.”  Well, you can simple answer that question when you have multiple windows or applications open and you need access to the desktop quickly.  Of course you could minimize those windows and applciations, however, if you click on the Desktop toolbar you will have access to everything right there and without disturbing any opened windows or applications.

New Toolbar: With this tool bar option, you can create your own customized toolbar to fit your needs.  You can have it to list your files in your “My Documents” folder, or you could have it show a list of available hard drive or folders.    I use it sort of like the quick launch toolbar, but I have a ton of shortcuts to folders, apps etc. in a specific folder and I have that folder viewed from within this toolbar.  The limit is your imagination when it comes to this tool bar.

 Have fun playing with Windows XP toolbars

Internet Explorer 7 Zooming

If you use Internet Explorer 7, you have the ability to zoom into or out of any webpage that you visit. 

 If you look at the bottom right of the Internet Explorer window you will see a mangnifying glass with 100% next to it.  Click it and see what happens.

If you do not see that 100% at the bottom right of the window, here is another way to zoom in and out.

1. Hold the CTRL key down
2. If you have a scroll wheel on your mouse move it and see what happens.