The Windows taskbar is the one that appears on the bottom of Windows XP by default. Most people associate it with the Start button that shows on one end and the system time on the other. In between, you have the ability to customize what displays such as other toolbars or even hide it. In the thumbnail below, I’ve labeled the areas of my taskbar:
1. Start button
2. Optional Quick launch toolbar
3. Toolbar divider (only shows when taskbar is unlocked)
4. Open programs
5. System tray items
In my case, I kept the default location, but some people prefer to have a vertical orientation or to place the bar at the top of the screen. Windows doesn’t care about the placement. There are restrictions on the taskbar width, as it can’t exceed 15 lines.
How to Resize the Windows Taskbar
In the thumbnail below, you can see this taskbar is twice the default width. There are a number of reasons why this can happen. Sometimes, it’s a result of an action we did such as dragging or dropping items. Other times, this is the result of some software change such as installation.
To change the taskbar width,
1. Right-click any blank area in your taskbar and deselect Lock the Taskbar. One or more dividers will show such as the one circled in the screen snap below
2. Place your mouse over the top border of the taskbar. Your cursor will change from an I-beam to a double-arrow as circled.
3. Hold down the left mouse button and drag the top border. In our example, we’ll drag down.
As you move the mouse, you will see a horizontal line that represents your new width. You can use this as a guide. Unlike dialog boxes or windows, you can only resize the taskbar in one direction.
4. Release the mouse when the taskbar is at your desired width.
5. Right-click a blank area in the taskbar and select Lock the Taskbar.
The procedure is the same if your Windows taskbar is vertical instead of horizontal. The difference is that you grab the inside border (the border that doesn’t touch the monitor side) rather than the top border.
Repositioning the Windows Taskbar
Another frustrating item about the taskbar is when it moves to some place you didn’t expect. This undocumented phenomenon tends to happen when friends or relatives have borrowed your computer. As example, instead of being at the bottom of your screen, your taskbar is now on the left side. You mistakenly think you can grab hold of the task bar and reposition it like any other window. You can, but there are two little tricks.
How to move the Windows taskbar,
1. Right-click on a blank area in the taskbar and deselect Lock the Toolbar. A divider line should appear next to the Start button.
2. Left-click the area between the Start button and your divider.
3. While keeping the left mouse button pressed, drag the taskbar to the new location. (top, bottom, left or right)
4. Release your mouse.
5. Right-click any blank area and Lock the Toolbar.
Although we’d like to say these problems only occur when small children are around, we know better. Some of you may have noticed that you didn’t need to unlock the toolbar when following the instructions. Yes, keeping your Windows taskbar unlocked does increase the odds of it moving around. As a big kid, I can attest to this.
Related Windows Toolbar Tutorials:
Last Updated (Friday, 18 June 2010 18:50)