Get More Out Of Your Windows Taskbar With Its Built-In Toolbars

Hearing the words "extra toolbars" may make you squirm in fear, but a few Lifehacker readers show us how handy Windows' built-in taskbar toolbars can be.

We recently showed you three useful tricks for organising your messy Windows taskbar, and you guys came out in full force with lots of your own tips. Multiple readers wrote to us about the taskbar's capacity for extra toolbars -- a tip that's old as dirt, but one we haven't covered since the Windows XP days.

To create a new toolbar, first create a folder with shortcuts to the apps you want on your new toolbar. Then right-click on the taskbar and go to Toolbars > New Toolbar. Choose the folder you just created and drag it wherever you like on the taskbar (you may need to right click and uncheck "Lock the Taskbar" to do this).

So what can you do with this feature? A few readers offer some suggestions. JessAskin likes to use it to create built-in separators:

No need for fancy software to create a separator. Just create a desktop folder called Toolbars, and inside that, more folders such as Audio, Work and Art. Put your shortcuts into each subfolder (for example, put Audacity and CDEx into Audio, Word and Komposer into Work, and Photoshop and a shortcut to your fave art website in Art). Add each subfolder as a toolbar and voila! You have a sectioned taskbar with each of your grouped apps! Double-height your taskbar, and you've got even more room.

Stevenholt68 creates a double taskbar with even more room for his favourite apps:

I love this trick and have used it for several years. I don't like a cluttered desktop that has program icons on it, so my desktop only has files and folders for stuff I am currently working on. I take shortcuts to all my programs and put the shortcuts inside a folder. Then, I turn that folder into a toolbar and drag my taskbar and drag it upward to make it double-height. It shows up like this, then I right click on that toolbar and make the icons small.

And, of course, you can always compress those shortcuts down into a Start-like menu using Quick Launch, as done by RepentTheEndIsExtremelyFkingNigh:

Someone please tell me you can use quick launch on Windows 8, because I hate desktop shortcuts, pinning them or having to look through my Start Menu.

(Yes, you can still use Quick Launch in Windows 8).

There you have it: just a few more ways you can keep your taskbar clean, organised and useful using nothing but Windows' built-in features.


    i use quick launch, i can fit heaps more items on the taskbar and dont have to go searching though my pc or start menu for the program or game i want to launch

    on a side note, where do i get that icon pack from the top picture, that looks very nice

    I tried this back when win7 first came out, but since MS couldn't spend 5mins to make the bar the same size as the icons/running app icons it looks f'in ugly (and if you use large icons it makes the running app bar look ugly cause its not the right size when using single height toolbar)

    And i love my vertical space and since the stupid monitor manufacturers make it hard to get a decent res monitor im stuck with 1080 bullshit so im missing a valuable 120px from ths start, so im not going to have a double height toolbar (1.5 height i can live with, but double high is too much)

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