Working with the New Taskbar and Start Menu

The taskbar is that strip of real estate along one screen edge (bottom by default) that contains the Start menu button, program buttons, and status icons. The taskbar made its first appearance in Windows 95 . In the years since, it has slowly evolved: installing Internet Explorer 4 in Windows 95 also added a Quick Launch toolbar and other toolbars; Windows XP reduced clutter by introducing taskbar grouping; and Windows Vista added taskbar previews, small window representations that increased your chances of clicking the correct taskbar button for the program you want to bring to the front.

The evolution continues in Windows 7, but at a generation-skipping pace . The Windows 7 taskbar (see Figure 4-1) continues to serve the same basic functions as its progenitors— launching programs, switching between programs, and providing notifications—but in a way that makes these basic tasks easier and more efficient.

Figure 4-1 Although the taskbar designs in Windows XP (top), Windows Vista (center), and Windows 7 (bottom) comprise the same basic elements, the appearance has evolved a bit—and the functionality has advanced by leaps and bounds.

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