Microsoft Windows 7 Takes On The Taskbar

Over at the Engineering Windows 7 blog site, they are introducing a new and improved taskbar. The next taskbar appears to look easier to use by employing larger icons. Also improved, according to the article, is the way icons can be pinned for easier access. What is interesting is the new Jump List feature shown below.

Here are a few screen shots posted by Microsoft on their site:

The Taskbar, Evolved

The taskbar has undergone a facelift. We’ve enabled large icons by default (as seen in Windows 1.0 and also an option of Quick Launch since Windows 95 with IE 4). This affords a richer icon language, improves identification of programs and improves targeting for both the mouse and touch. Yet, one of the most important advantages large icons provide is a means to promote the taskbar as the central place to launch everyday tasks. We joke that the new taskbar is the “beachfront property of the Windows OS” and in turn, we are already seeing many people populating the UI with their commonly used programs. Somewhat if a visual trick, the taskbar is only 10 pixels (at 96 DPI) higher than its Vista counterpart (when used as a single row, since multiple rows are still supported, along with positioning around the screen edges).

Windows 7 taskbar

Interactive, Grouped Thumbnails

Vista showed thumbnails when the user hovers on a taskbar button and Windows 7 improves upon this design. Unlike Vista, these thumbnails are now an extension of their corresponding button so the person can click on these visual aides to switch to a given window. The thumbnail is also is a more accurate representation of a window complete with an icon in the top left corner, window text and even the ubiquitous close button in the top right.

Windows 7 Taskbar Thumbnails

Jump Lists

To make sure we provide a consistent and valuable experience out-of-the-box, we decided to pre-populate Jump Lists and also allow programs to customize the experience. By default, the menu contains the program’s shortcut, the ability to toggle pinning, the ability to close one or all windows and a program’s recent destinations (assuming they use the Common File Dialog, register their file type or use the Recent Items API). Programs are able to replace the default MRU (Most Recently Used) list with a system-maintained MFU (Most Frequently Used) list, should their destinations be very volatile. For example, while Word will benefit from a MRU just like the one in their File Menu, Windows Explorer has opted to enable the MFU because people tend to visit many paths throughout a session. Programs are also able to provide their own custom destination list when they have a greater expertise of the person’s behavior (e.g. IE exposes their own history). Still others like Windows Live Messenger and Media Player surface tasks or a mix of tasks and destinations.

.Windows 7 Jump List

As you can see, Microsoft is working hard to make Windows 7 better than Vista, including the way we access our stuff from the taskbar. This should be interesting to see how the new operating system progresses.

Comments welcome.


Article Written by

I have been writing for Lockergnome for eight years.

  • Zython

    Wow Looks Nice.

  • Shtanto

    Neat! Any info on what they’ll be doing with the symtray? I think they should spring the sidebar up on the left like the start menu springs up on the right. Also tie in memory usage and try to have programs load up as much as they can into RAM beforehand to minimize swap file use. If I have 4GB of RAM I can easy load up all my music (12 songs at a time easily) into physical memory. This saves power and creates less noise :) I’d still have room left over for a film or TV show and a few office documents.

    Less Swap file usage would be nice.

  • pimpsahoy

    Yay! They copied Apple again!

  • Ron Schenone

    Thanks for the comments.

  • Clayton Siem

    Can anyone say “KDE 3″?

  • Pingback: Microsoft Windows 7 Takes On The Taskbar ~ The Blade by Ron … | kozmom //()

  • Diamonds

    Better functions less UI effects please. Is there any way to disable all this useless memory hogging UI ?

  • Don Naphen

    Looks “pretty” but I’ll wait and see how much functionality is has Ron. I’ve been burnt too many times over the years with glitter and little substance. Not to drift off topic but I would really like to see Microsoft step up to the plate and admit that they screwed up with VISTA and issue an apology to all those who purchased it either off the shelf or via a new pc. AND a more realistic price structure of the OS would be a nice touch, rather than a half dozen versions! A Pro version and a Pro Business version would be more than enough.

    In anycase, I do hope they do their homework this time around and address compatibility issues with existing software, drivers and hardware. If this OS turns out to be a bomb like VISTA, then Bill Gates & company can kiss it goodbye. Their credibility will be a big fat ZERO.

  • Don Naphen

    Almost forgot … Happy Thanksgiving !!

  • Andrew Jamison

    This just seems typical to me a company decides they no longer want to sell to the average consumer because it just is to much work and why on earth would a company want to sell anything to an individual when a large corporation might buy 100+ at a time? (sarcasm is hard to convey in text).

    I just can not get over why they bought Palm if they intended to abandon consumer level products in the first place, At least some other consumer focused company could have bought Palm and made it better.

  • Anonymous

    i cant believe this,me and my friend just got two i-phones for 43.78 USD each and a 25 USD gift card for 4 USD the stores want to keep this a secret and they dont tell you go here

  • Anonymous

    I did get one of the 32gig units last week (tiger direct listing) and had it jail broke within an hour and tweaked with some suggestions from different websites.  The touch pad is not that bad.  I bought with the same intent.  If/when android is available (it’s not looking far off).  OR as a pad for my soon to be 4yr old v daddy’s $800 iPad

  • Norris Washington

    Another bad move in a series of bad moves by HP. At some level, I kind of like the fact that they are putting their employees first. It seems that HP has been shafting their employees quite a bit as of late. However, the whole Touchpad fiasco has been pretty much an insult to customers who have been trying to get their hands on them. As soon as HP began collecting names of customers looking for the Touchpad in the future, they should have made sure to try to deliver product to these customers.

    As for the Touchpad itself? I actually like it quote a bit. I wouldn’t replace it with Android because 1) I already have an Android tablet and 2) I like webOS for some of its unique UI features. This way I can play around with 2 operating systems.

  • Sunny Singh

    CyanogenMod is working on getting Android on to the TouchPad, it looks like they already released a somewhat usable version already.

  • John

    Yep, I agree with you… HP is on the verge of melt down… It is only a matter of time now. The company direction is way of course, and who knows what will happen next.

  • Mspookie007

    So pretty much the consumer won’t be able to get any because the employees will buy them and put them on ebay for a profit. WTH. They should have done that the first time. It’s sucks people who are unemployed and can actually afford that won’t be able to get one but the HP employees who are working will be able to. My husband is overseas in the US Navy and would help me so much. After this people will not buy HP anymore, I know I’ll tell my husband to tell his buddies.M

  • Anonymous

    Wow, Ron, you are a baby. The employees were limited to 1 per person. There are more coming later this month.