Windows 7 closed windows vanish from taskbar?
I'm confused: It used to be that when I closed windows -- really, minimized windows -- in Windows 7 that they'd show up as a tab along the bottom in the Taskbar. Now, however, a lot of them just vanish. They're still there, the app's still running, but the Taskbar is all too often empty. What happened to my Win7 programs?
I know what you're talking about because it's how Microsoft Windows 7 seems to be set up by default, to hide your minimized application windows rather than show them as a helpful set of shortcuts along the bottom of the Taskbar.
I'm pretty sure that it's Microsoft's design team trying to help us minimize the clutter inherent in running WIndows, but my two cents is that it's confusing, especially if you're used to having them on the Taskbar, ready to click at a moment's notice. Heck, I even like the feedback of the program window shrinking down to the Taskbar itself, a reminder to me that it's still running and that I didn't exit the program.
Undoubtedly some Win7 users prefer this new design and I suppose if you get really good at shortcuts, it can be handy to keep the task bar open for other stuff, but not for me. I prefer the old way.
Here's how to fix it!
First off, in WIndows 7, here's what your Taskbar probably looks like:
Looks like Internet Explorer's doing something, hence the green meter on the left side of the icon, and there's another icon for Windows itself, again with a green progress bar, but what the heck are they and what does it all mean?
To fix it, simply right-click in a blank part of the Taskbar:
You can modify the toolbars, but what we want to change is found under "Properties", so for now, let's stay focused and choose that. A new menu shows up:
The key setting to change is "Taskbar buttons" and there are, as you can see, three choices: "Always combine, hide labels", "Combine when taskbar is full" and "Never combine". The default is the first of those, so the hidden label tabs are apparently known as "combined buttons". Who knew?
Anyway, the best option - in my opinion - is the middle one: let Windows decide what to do when there are a lot of Taskbar buttons present, but if you're only running a few applications, let them expand or, um, uncombine.
Make that choice, click on "Apply", and your Taskbar will rather magically change:
Much better and more useful too! Now I can see that the green progress bar adjacent to the Internet Explorer logo is actually keeping track of a download of QuickTime and that it's 23% through the download. Helpful!
That's the trick required to fix your Taskbar. While you're at this Properties window, I encourage you to experiment with some of the other settings too. They're easy to test and decide you don't like, but you might just find a tweak or two can really help your Win7 experience!
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