The New Windows Taskbar in Windows 7

The New Windows Taskbar in Windows 7

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In Windows 7, we're introducing a brand new Windows Taskbar. I touched upon this briefly in my notes from the PDC Keynote a few weeks ago. However last Thursday, the Windows Engineering Team over on the Engineering Windows 7 Blog published a much more in-depth look at the new Windows Taskbar in Windows 7. They take a close look several new features within the new Taskbar including Jump Lists, Pinning, Interactive Grouped Thumbnails, Aero Peek, and Color Hot Track. The overall goal behind the new Windows Taskbar is to allow people to be able to manage their application windows much easier as well as give them quick access to the information they need.


If you are interested in getting a "sneak-peek" at what's coming for UI changes in Windows 7 specific to the Taskbar - definitely give this post a read. 

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  • Malangovino, you must have a special configuration. In general, there are limitations to the 32-bit platform in regards to using more than 4GB of memory. My 4GB Dell desktop at home won't see more than 3.5GB of memory running 32-bit.

    Here are some excellent resources on the memory limitations for Windows in general from MSDN:

    The article does say that the limits on physical memory for 32-bit platforms also depend on the Physical Address Extension (PAE), which allows 32-bit Windows systems to use more than 4GB of physical memory. You can learn about PAE here:

    Malangovino, you just have a motherboard that has PAE allowing for use of more than 4GB of physical memory which isn't very often seen in consumer PCs from my understanding.

    In general - for folks to use more than 4GB of memory they will need to run a 64-bit version of Windows.

  • I have tested 6GB of RAM Memory on my PC and it is running Windows 7 32-bit and it has recognized all and it is using it.

  • Thanks for the answer.

  • How much memory will Windows 7 support on the 32-bit version?

  • I think: so far, so good. I´m happy with Vista, I think that the people was not ready for it. You nned a real good piece of hardware to run it.

    I love the indexing service it has. I provide tech support and with Vista is much easier to say: jus click on start and type device manager instead of provide a step by step on how to got for it. There are a couple of things that I cannot understand about it, like the IPv6 or why they changed the name of certain stuffs or why uses a Linux Grub to load!!.

    Windiws 7 as meet my expectation by the moment. Is fast enough and is making a good usage of my hardware. I thing that the libraries is a good thing, but can be dangerous if the people starts linking libraries and at the end, they will have a labyrinth.

  • Brandon LeBlanc: How many people stay now behind project Windows 7?

  • Brandon,

    Thanks for your prompt reply and for the clarification concerning the transparency of the new Taskbar in Windows 7.  I am anxiously awaiting the public beta......      

  • kelvin
    6 Posts

    windows 7 looks amazing and runs amazing i,ve talked to alot of gamers who wouldn't upgrade to vista but they are saying they will upgrade to windows 7 it is getting top reviews and people are saying it runs faster and better than xp well done you guys but don;t no y u couldn't do this in the first place rather than messing around with vista

  • mfisher1967 - the new Windows Taskbar in Windows 7 is in fact transparent. It utilizes Aero Glass. You will be able to change the color of Aero Glass in Windows 7 that also applies to the Windows Taskbar as well.

  • It would be easy to differentiate program shortcut icons from open program icons if Microsoft employs the same approach taken in the Quick Launch and System Tray portions of the Taskbar in XP & Vista.  Using this approach, there would be an Expand/Collapse button next to the Start button and another next to the Clock on the Taskbar.  Open program icons would reside in the System Tray by the Clock and program shortcut icons would reside in the Quick Launch by the Start button.  To view these icons, the user would simply click on the appropriate Expand button next to the Start button or Clock.  The icon options to "Always Hide", "Always Show" & "Hide When Inactive" could be configured by the user as per current practice by right clicking the Taskbar and selecting Properties.  I would also like to see a user configurable option to make the background of the "Super Taskbar" transparent.  I believe that the desktop would look very clean if the above recommendations are incorporated into Windows 7.    

  • Imani
    12 Posts

    How would that taskbar look under the classic theme? Makes me shudder! It's fine the way it is, as far as im concerned I don't see why we need to have pieces of Win98, 95, 2000, ME, in newer OSs, did 95 have 3.0's theme stuck onto it? It's time to move on, with explorer constantly evolving I see it as hard to continue placing classic as an option, it already looks, odd, in Vista. To win in this situation, the superbar should try to leave a small footprint like classic, that's all people want, classic's performance, Vista's eye candy, if Win 7 can do this, classic should be extinct!

  • wow sounds like you guys are on the right track! keep it up but don't make the os to cluttered and hevy a light os would be nice, that way a pc that performs like a $2000 pc on xp will still perform like a $2000 pc on windows 7. Keep it simple not easy.

  • Would like to see the ability to thin it down some, even with small icons activated it is still taking up too much screen real estate.  I read that quick launch is going by by, really not needed anyway but what I like to see is less space between items pinned to the start bar. One other request, The "All Programs" would like to see the option to show this as a menu.

    Now here's a quirk I discovered, I made a short to All Control Panel Items and it won't let me pin it to the start bar.  

  • I'm really looking forward to Windows 7, and this new taskbar is probably the feature I'm looking forward to the most.

  • Dear Brandon, Can you please tell the details of Feature-Complete Beta Release of Windows-7? Will it be released on 2009 early or late or mid?

  • Imani
    12 Posts

    Oh and by the way, the strt menu would look more defined if it wasn't the same size as the other icons, other than that I think the new taskbar is great.

  • Imani
    12 Posts

    This actually looks great, this is want people want, funtionality and style! Great job MS.

  • 1nvad3r
    1 Posts

    Hey are you guys going to fix up the taskbar, because the the Windows logo doesn't match the taskbar theme.  You guys should make the button transparent instead of having it blue and just keep the color of the windows.

  • dovella
    303 Posts

    OK thank's Brandon ;)

  • Link, if Windows Vista runs great on a specific set of hardware so should Windows 7. We'll talk more about this in the near future. Stay tuned.

    Dovella, we'll be talking more about Windows Vista SP2 in the near future.

    spad12, in Windows 7 you can change the color of Glass including the new Windows Taskbar! :-)

  • spad12
    1 Posts

    something that would be really incredible, allow users to change the color of the taskbar, one of the major reasons I like the vista environment is because of the darker environment. It is much easier on the eyes after working for long hours on a computer, the glare from brighter interfaces tends to give me headaches.

  • dovella
    303 Posts

    @Brandon le Blanc


    Hi Brandon, Excuse me my OT.

    I see on techarp the news

    Vista SP2 RTM for April 2009

    you can confirm?

  • Link
    5 Posts

    Quick question, I'm not asking for specifics but will a computer that runs Vista run Windows 7 without any major hardware upgrades?

    I'm very pleased with the demos I've seen of the new SuperBar. It's quite the change and has a tad bit of a learning curve to it to begin with, but it feels very natural and fast as well. I've also heard that so far, Windows 7 is consiterably faster than Vista but that is mainly a rumor floating around.

  • I was just wondering hows is Windows 7 performance on Solid State Drives (SSD).  There were some cheap SSD on sale this BlackFriday 32GB for $59, so Solid State drives are now becomming cheap enough for the average user.

    However Ive read that either the NTFS file system or perhaps the background services that Windows XP and Vista use mean that Windows is not yet optimised for Solid State Drives.  Will Windows 7 be optimised for such devices?

  • i agree with ayudan, the new taskbar looks messy with the small tansparent boxes over them.

    Also,  I was watching the PDC videos addressing the icons for windows 7. Microsoft wants icons from all developers to look beautiful---I agree, I want them too and think that little things like this should be given attention. But I also think that the Microsoft icons could be more beautiful. In my opinion, more vibrant colors and less detail (e.g . the paint and folder icons) will make this new os much more attractive and welcoming. I also would like to mention that this round dimensional orb, to me, looks a bit odd on the flat (but very sexy) taskbar. Sorry if I am being a pain; I love Microsoft!.. "I'm a PC!" lol, but little things like these turn me off.

  • anonymuos
    87 Posts

    Hey Microsoft, read this article ( and think and then take the decision. Maybe some obscure registry value?

  • Hi Brandon, This might be a great answer to all those Appy people saying Windows Vista is just a copy of Apple Mac. We know, thet Windows is Windows and all others are behind the Windows.. anyway great work dude... to you and all the Microsoft development team, a new change to the UI has been bought to Windows users after 13 years. We are looking forward for the feature complete version of a new brand new Windows.. I hope this will run smoothly on less hardware requirements than Vista, or more smoothly than Vista. Wishing all the Microsoft Team a great and innovative release... :)

  • Definitely like the direction you're heading.  Here's a few ideas I have and I know many of my coworkers agree with.

    Is there anything being done to enhance dual monitor support?  Currently using Ultramon and love it's features. (showing only the programs on the task bar for each monitor on each monitors task bar, dragging a maximized window between monitors, different task bar heights on different monitors etc.)

    In regards to the start bar on the sides.  An option to keep the start button in the lower left would be great instead of forcing that to the top.  Possibly customizing where in the task bar you want the start button, system tray etc.

    Ability to add toolbar to a specific monitor's task bar.

  • 7flavor
    352 Posts

    It's a "include classic or I won't upgrade" situation for many of us.

  • Zod
    12 Posts

    The new taskbar is simply amazing and surely a lot more functional than previous ones. I really can't wait to play with Windows 7 official beta (which is looking like just around the corner). I'v never been so excited for a Windows release,Windows 7 is going to be the best in my opinion. This time around things are going great

  • I just love the new taskbar. You say that it not is aviable in Build 6801, but I got a patch that activated the new taskbar. Why wasnt it activated by default in Windows 7?


  • WOW, Very attractive.

    But, I think the Windows will be very small on most machines.

    Here, In egypt, Its very difficult to install Vista on half of all machines, Because the machines are too slow to have Vista installed on even on the fastest machines Vista still sometimes slow.

    For me, I prefere the style Windows Classic bcause it's otimized for performance.

    But, I don't think that the ordinary user can bear Windows Classic theme!

  • It looks very attractive.

    But, I think it will consume much more memory & processor time.

    And thats not so good for all users who have such slow PCs.

    Not very slow. But, slow if u compare it's specificatins to Windows 7 requirements.

    For me, I prefer Windows Classic style.

    It's very optimized for performanc.

  • ayudan
    1 Posts

    I think the new taskbar looks kind of messy with all these icons and small tansparent boxes over them.

    and they are not as pretty as in VISTA

  • rv53705
    5 Posts

    The new way to show the hidden sistem tray icons is cool, opening a pop-up.

  • dovella
    303 Posts

    The New SuperBar is SUPER MEGA COOLLLLL!!!!!!!!

  • newscientist2000, yes you can move the Windows Taskbar to the top or right or left of the screen - it doesn't need to stay just on the bottom. Also: I do believe the issue of "Show Desktop" you mention is no longer a problem :-)

    - Brandon

  • Well if you can no longer accidentally remove the "Show Desktop" icon onto the Desktop and accidentally delete it, then I will be happy.

    I havent seen any pictures with the new Taskbar on the top or either left or right of the screen, that is still possible right?

    It looks nice I like that Word will list recent documetns when highlighted, very cool.  Cant wait for a public release of Windows 7 Beta as the new Taskbar does look usefull.