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Windows XP - Change Taskbar Settings

Welcome to this Windows XP tutorial on how to adjust the taskbar settings. You may want to change the taskbar settings for preference reasons.

Thinks To Note
  • Click the images to see a larger version
  • Yellow arrows or circles indicate where to look or click
  • Unless specified otherwise use the 'left' mouse button to click

Windows XP - Change Taskbar Settings

image of windows xp taskbar

From the windows xp desktop you will see a horizontal blue bar running along the bottom of the screen, this is the taskbar.

To change some of the taskbar properties, right click the blue taskbar and a small menu you appear as pictured. Click the 'Properties' option.

windows xp taskbar properties

The Taskbar properties window will load up and present you with some settings.

At the top of this window is a preview of the taskbar as it looks now. When you change the settings they will be reflected in this preview picture so you can see how the setting would look.

To change the taskbar appearance you can tick or untick the checkboxes listed under 'Taskbar Appearance'.

properties and settings for windows xp taskbar

In our example we have ticked to add the 'Show Quick Launch' icons which as you can see in the taskbar preview picture places shortcuts to commonly used programs next to the Start button.

'Lock the Taskbar' will prevent the bar from being moved accidentally. The taskbar can actually be placed on the top, left, right or its default place, the bottom.

'Auto-hide' the taskbar will make the taskbar disappear when you move your mouse away from it and re-appear when you put your mouse at the bottom of the screen.

'Keep the taskbar on top...' setting will always show the taskbar whatever programs you have open. If it is not ticked then you may not see the taskbar when certain programs are running.

taskbar in windows xp

'Group similar taskbar buttons' will allow you to create a list of open files for a particular program. If it is not ticked then the files all open seperately along the taskbar horizontally as in our pictured example.

You can also customise the notification area of the taskbar which is where the clock and the systray are located. You will see an option to 'Show the Clock' and 'Hide inactive icons'. To customise the icons click on the 'Customize..' button.

customize icons in taskbar for windows xp

Once you have clicked the 'Customize' button the customize notifications window appears. You will see all the current program thats are installed or running and a drop down box next to each option.

Click the drop down box to see the options.

exit windows xp taskbar

You can select 'Always Show' as pictured in the example which will make the icon always visible next to the clock.

'Always Hide' is another option which as you may have guessed: always hides the icon from showing near the clock.

The other option is 'Hide when active' and means that the icon only shows when the program is running and active.

Click the 'Ok' button to exit the notifications window and click the 'Ok' button to close the taskbar properties.

Next tutorial - Change Windows XP Start Menu Settings

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