The Windows Vista Taskbar - dummies

By Andy Rathbone

The Windows Vista taskbar keeps track of all your open programs. Although it normally lives along the bottom of your screen, you can move the taskbar to any edge of the screen that you want. To move the taskbar, shown in the following figure, just drag it from edge to edge. If it doesn’t move, right-click it and click Lock the Taskbar to remove the check mark by its name.

The Windows Vista taskbar.

Click buttons for currently running programs on the taskbar.

Rest your mouse pointer over any of the taskbar’s programs to see a thumbnail image of that program, even if that program’s currently covered by other windows on your desktop. (This trick only works if your PC has powerful enough graphics.)

See how the button for Paint Shop Pro looks darker than the other taskbar buttons in this figure? That’s because Paint Shop Pro is the currently active window on the desktop: It’s the program currently waiting for you to start working. One of your taskbar’s buttons always look darker unless you close or minimize all the windows on your desktop.

From the taskbar, you can perform powerful magic on your open windows, as described in the following list:

  • To play with a program listed on the taskbar, click its name. The window rises to the surface and rests atop any other open windows, ready for action.

  • To close a window listed on the taskbar, right-click its name and choose Close from the pop-up menu. The program quits, just as if you’d chosen its Exit command from within its own window. (The departing program gives you a chance to save your work before it quits and walks off the screen.)

  • If the taskbar keeps hiding below the screen’s bottom edge, point the mouse at the screen’s bottom edge until the taskbar surfaces. Then right-click the taskbar, choose Properties, and remove the check mark from Auto-hide the Taskbar.