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4.4. Customize the taskbar

The taskbar serves as a control center for the tasks you perform in Windows 2000. While it's useful as is, there are several things you can do to customize its appearance and function and make it even more useful. For example, you might add shortcuts to the Quick Launch toolbar for applications or documents you use frequently. You might also want to create other toolbars for other applications or common tasks.

4.4.1. Add or remove Quick Launch items

The taskbar by default includes one toolbar at the left edge of the taskbar just to the right of the Start button. This Quick Launch toolbar contains three items by default that open Internet Explorer, open Outlook Express, and minimize all windows to display the desktop. You can remove any of these items or add other items to help you quickly launch applications and documents.

The Quick Launch toolbar shows the contents of the folder \ Documents And Settings\ user\ Application Data\ Microsoft\ Internet Explorer\Quick Launch. On systems upgraded from Windows NT, the folder is located in systemroot\ Profiles\ user\ Application Data\ Microsoft\ Internet Explorer\Quick Launch. You can add or remove items in the Quick Launch toolbar by adding or removing objects from the folder. Or you can use the following procedure to modify the Quick Launch toolbar with drag and drop:

  1. Open a folder that contains the application or document you want to add to the Quick Launch toolbar.

  2. Right-drag the object to the Quick Launch toolbar, release it, and choose Create Shortcut(s) Here.

  3. Right-click an existing icon on the Quick Launch toolbar and choose Delete to remove it from the toolbar.

Drag My Documents to the Quick Launch toolbar to give yourself a quick way to access your documents from the taskbar. Also, you can copy existing shortcuts to the Quick Launch toolbar by right-dragging the shortcut to the toolbar, then choosing Copy from the context menu.


4.4.2. Add toolbars

You can easily add other toolbars to the taskbar to use in conjunction with or in place of the Quick Launch toolbar. For example, you might add a commonly used folder (such as My Documents) to the taskbar as a quick means of opening the folder.

  1. Close running applications so you have plenty of space on the taskbar.

  2. In Explorer, locate the folder you want to add to the taskbar as a toolbar.

  3. Drag the folder to a blank area of the taskbar and release it.

You can also add an Internet address or network folder to the taskbar. In the case of an Internet address, the content of the specified URL appears on the taskbar in a scrollable window. Here's how to add Internet content to the taskbar:

  1. Right-click a blank area of the taskbar and choose Toolbars New Toolbar.

  2. In the New Toolbar dialog box, select the folder you want to use or type the path to the folder or the Internet URL in the Folder text box.

  3. Click OK.

  4. Use the vertical bar at the left of the toolbar to resize it.

4.4.3. Move or resize the taskbar

While it isn't apparent from looking at it, the taskbar is movable and resizable. Just click on a blank area of the taskbar and drag it to one of the four edges of the desktop to relocate it. Click and drag the inside edge of the taskbar to resize it.

4.4.4. Auto-hide the taskbar or set it to appear always on top

You can configure properties for the taskbar so it always stays on top even when an application is open (this is the default behavior for the taskbar). Or, you can configure the taskbar to move behind the current window, giving you more space for the current window. You also can configure the taskbar to auto-hide, which means it automatically disappears when you aren't using it. It reappears when you move the mouse over the edge of the screen where the taskbar is hidden. Use the following steps to configure these properties:

  1. Right-click the taskbar and choose Properties.

  2. Select the option Always on Top if you want the taskbar to remain visible at all times, or deselect the option if you want the taskbar to move to the background when you select another window.

  3. Select the option Auto Hide if you want the taskbar to disappear automatically when you're not using it.

  4. Click OK to apply the changes.

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