HOW TO: Make taskbar in Windows Vista/XP to look more like one in Windows 7

Dear visitor: Please keep in mind that this post is originally from Vibor Cipan's personal blog, the name of which we eventually adopted as our company name together with its conveniently-named URL. We're keeping the posts on our official company blog for all the subscribers to Vibor's blog who have read and commented on his previous posts. Please be aware that this post represents Vibor's personal thinking few years ago and doesn't necessarily represent the opinions of the UX Passion as a company today. 

While you are waiting for Windows 7 to go into beta and after that to go into RTM and become broadly available, you can play with your Windows Vista /XP taskbar and make it to resemble one in Windows 7. Of course, resemblance will be just slight, but still interesting to play with.

PLEASE NOTE: This tweak requires some Registry hacking so be careful. Do take a look at my standard disclosure located at the end of this article. Also note that all postings are provided as is with no warranties, and confer no rights. Opinions expressed here are my own and not Microsoft’s.

What I want to say is that by following this example (and any other on UXPassion.com) you cannot blame me and/or Microsoft as my employer for any damage or consequence based on postings and materials on UXPassion.com blog.

Now, we can proceed…

So we want to achieve look like this in Vista:

Taskbar in Windows Vista looking like taskabr in Windows 7

Taskbar in Windows Vista looking like taskabr in Windows 7

First step is to go to your Start menu and then choose Run… command. Sometimes, Run… command is not available in start menu – you can, in that case, press Windows key + R. Run dialog box appears. Type in the “regedit” and then click OK. UAC might appear so just click on Continue.

Starting Registry Editor in Windows Vista

Starting Registry Editor in Windows Vista

Registry editor appears. Navigate to: HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop\WindowMetrics

Then click on Edit, New and then String Value.

Navigating Registry Editor in Windows Vista

Navigating Registry Editor in Windows Vista

Give the name to new key. Call it “MinWidth“. Double click on it and into Value data field enter “-285

Editing Registry data in Windows Vista and creating new key

Editing Registry data in Windows Vista and creating new key

Click OK and close the Registry Editor. Now you have two options – restart your computer or just log off and then log back on.

After that, you should have taskbar in your Windows Vista looking somewhat like taskbar in Windows 7 (well, sort of)…

As Frane has put out in comments – it will also work on Windows XP, but you will not be able to have Thumbnails in XP, just taskbar buttons without labels.

Good thing with this – you can now have more tasks running in your taskbar at same time without occupying so much space like before. Might be good thing for notebooks! Bad thing – no text labels, but I guess for experienced users icons and Thumbnails are as good.

Stay tuned for more Windows Vista UI tweaking tricks on Saturday and then some more on Sunday! This is Windows Vista UI Tweaking Weekend! How g33k is that?!

Read more articles from our Tweaking the Vista UI series:

HOW TO: Show large icons in Windows Vista / XP QuickLaunch bar?

Comments (7)

  1. it works on xp too :)

  2. Hey, thanks Frane for pointing this out! I will add it in article!

  3. Frane is faster then this blog.
    Frane just refreshing this page and make answer in real time.
    Go Frane!

  4. I found your blog on google and read a few of your other posts. I just added you to my Google News Reader. Keep up the good work. Look forward to reading more from you in the future.

  5. Am I right in thinking that if I want to undo this, I should just delete the new string?

  6. How i can undo this? I just delete the new string or something?

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