Switching Tasks

When you open a pinned program, the appearance of its taskbar button changes to indicate that the program is running, as shown in Figure 4-2. The icon for a running program has a button-like border, and when you mouse over the button, the background color becomes similar to the program's window colors . A program that has more than one window or tab open appears as a stack of buttons . Opening other programs adds a button for each program to the taskbar

-Stacked buttons represent multiple windows i-An outlined button represents a single window

Figure 4-2 Taskbar buttons for programs that are not running have an icon but no border and share the same background as the taskbar itself.

As in previous Windows versions, you can switch to a different program by clicking its task-bar button . Much of the guesswork required to pick the correct taskbar button in previous versions is gone in Windows 7, however. Now, when you hover the mouse pointer over a taskbar button, a thumbnail image of the window appears next to the taskbar button. If a taskbar button represents more than one window (because the program has multiple open windows), hovering the mouse pointer over the taskbar button displays a preview of each window

Still not sure which is the correct window? Use another new Windows 7 feature, Aero Peek. Hover the mouse pointer over one of the preview images, and Windows brings that window to the fore and indicates the location of all other open windows with outlines, as shown in Figure 4-3 .

Figure 4-3 Aero Peek makes it easy to see the contents of a window, even when it's buried among a stack of open windows


Taskbar preview images and Aero Peek are available only when you use an Aero theme. (For more information about Aero and themes, see "Understanding and Using Windows Aero" on page 126 .) If you're not using an Aero theme, hovering the mouse pointer over a taskbar button displays each window's full title.

When the preview (or the title bar, if you're not using Aero) of the window you want is displayed, simply click that preview to switch to that window. You also have the option of closing a window by clicking the red X in the upper right corner of the preview or by middle-clicking anywhere in the preview image. Other basic window tasks are available on the context menu that appears when you right-click the preview image .

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