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This chapter is from the book


The taskbar is the long horizontal bar at the bottom of your screen. By default, the taskbar is always on top, making it always visible even after you open several windows or programs.

The taskbar has four main sections:

  • The Start button, which opens the Start menu
  • The Quick Launch toolbar, which enables you to start programs with one click
  • The middle section, which shows which programs and documents are open and enables you to quickly switch between them
  • The notification area, which includes a clock and small icons that show the status of certain programs and computer settings

Quick Launch Toolbar

To the immediate right of the Start button is the Quick Launch toolbar. As mentioned earlier, it enables you to launch or start programs with a single click. By default, the Quick Launch toolbar also contains the Show Desktop button (used to temporarily hide all open windows and show the desktop). You can also click the Switch Between Windows button to switch between open windows using Windows Flip 3D.

To add programs to the Quick Launch toolbar, locate the program in the Start menu, right-click it, and then click Add to Quick Launch. You can also drag the program's icon (and folders) to the Quick Launch toolbar. The program's icon will then appear in the toolbar. To remove an icon from the Quick Launch toolbar, right-click it, click Delete, and then click Yes.

Notification Area

The notification area, on the far right side of the taskbar, includes a clock and a group of icons that show the status of a program (or they provide access to certain settings). When you move your cursor to a particular icon, you will see that icon's name or the status of a setting. Double-clicking an icon in the notification area usually opens the program or setting associated with it.

Occasionally, an icon in the notification area will display a small pop-up window (called a notification) to notify you about something. Click the Close button (X) in the upper-right corner of the notification to dismiss it. If you don't do anything, the notification will fade away on its own after a few seconds.

To reduce clutter, Windows hides icons in the notification area when you haven't used them for a while. If icons become hidden, click the Show Hidden Icons button to temporarily display the hidden icons.

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