Why Technical English

Windows 7 Taskbar | January 31, 2010

By P.B. 

In Windows 7 the Windows Taskbar has underwent the most significant revision since its introduction in Windows 95. In general, now it is rather application-oriented than window-oriented, When application runs, it is denoted by a border frame around its icon. When user runs some program or opens the folder, the preview of this program or folder without description appears on the screen (it is different from Vista or XP). So the user immediately gets information about opened windows and can easily switch among them.

Moreover, applications can easily be pinned to the taskbar. It enables the user to get instant access to the applications which are often used. Pinning applications to the taskbar can be done in two ways. First, you can simply drag and drop the icon onto the taskbar. Or you can do it by right-clicking the application icon and pinning the icon to the taskbar – similar to Windows XP or Vista.

Thumbnail previews

were already introduced in Windows Vista. In Windows 7 they have been expanded to also interact with them, i.e.:

  • The user can close any open a window by clicking the X on the corresponding thumbnail preview,
  • Hovering over the thumbnail preview you get a “peek” of the window.

The previews integrate Thumbnail Toolbars, which greatly enriched the Windows 7 taskbar. Actually these toolbars enable control the application from the thumbnail previews themselves (e.g. if Windows Media Player is opened and the mouse is hovering on its icon, the thumbnail preview will allow the user to Play, Stop, etc. without switching to the Windows Media Player window). 

Jump lists

are one of the best innovations you see in the Windows 7. By simply right-clicking an icon of an application on the taskbar, you are able to see a list of previous applications associated with that program. Furthermore, the list can be created holding the left mouse button and sliding up on an icon. Each list contains the information which corresponds to the features unique to the application (e.g. a Microsoft Word jump list might display all the recently opened documents). Up to 10 menu items may appear on a jump list by default, and Windows 7 provides possibility to adjust it. See below an example of a jump list (Fig. 1).

Fig.1 Jump Lists

Notification area has been redesigned in Windows 7. In addition to deciding whether the application icons are shown, the ability to hide each application’s notification balloons has been added. A triangle to the left of the visible notification icons displays the hidden notification icons to the user.

When an Aero Peek button is clicked, or hovered over with the mouse the desktop and gadgets are displayed by turning all windows transparent. Aero Peek exhibits the same features as the thumbnail previews, but it applies them to the desktop. If the mouse hovers over it, all windows are transparent, as shown in the picture. If the button is clicked, all applications are minimized and the user does not need to close or minimize windows or programs. When the button is clicked again, everything is restored.

Fig.2  The view before Aero Peek

Fig.2 The view before Aero Peek


Fig.  3  Aero Peek in action

Fig. 3 Aero Peek in action

 And in conclusion there is a very short note about a Basic desktop. The Sidebar applied in the Windows Vista has appeared not to be user friendly. So, it has been removed and now users can put gadgets (weather, calendar etc.) anywhere on the desktop.

  Key abbreviations for Windows 7

  • Alt + Tab: to switch the open windows with thumbnails
  • Alt + Ctrl + Tab: to switch the open windows with thumbnails which are open till the user presses ESC
  • Win + Tab: to switch the open windows with thumbnails which are open till the user presses ESC with 3D effect (not practical)
  • Win + D: to show the desktop (screen)
  • Win + E: to open the explorer on the Computer view
  • Win + F: to activate searching
  • Win + G: to switch among gadgets which are on the desktop (a new feature)
  • Win + L: to lock the computer
  • Win + R: to open the function Run
  • Win + X: to show the Centre of mobile devices (for notebooks)
  • Win + Pause: to open the window with system information
  • Ctrl + Shift + Esc: to show the Task manager (the window processes)
  • Win + Home: to „clean“ the desktop (all windows except the active window) – a new feature
  • Win + space: to show the desktop through windows – a new feature
  • Win + arrow to the left (right) half maximization to the left or right place on the desktop



1 Comment »

  1. […] Windows 7 Taskbar […]

    Pingback by Changing the theme of this blog « Why Technical English — August 26, 2010 @ 9:26 am

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