We were all excited to get the Start menu back in Windows 10, and we wasted no time in customizing it to the best of our abilities.
But what about the poor, neglected taskbar, who never left us in the first place? Here's how to make the taskbar look pretty and work for you.
Add some shortcuts
Who needs a Start menu at all when you can add program shortcuts directly to the taskbar? I sure don't. To add a program shortcut to the taskbar, find the program in the Start menu and right-click it. Hover over More in the pop-up menu and choose Pin to taskbar.
Smaller taskbar buttons
Are the buttons on your taskbar unnecessarily large? Make them smaller by right-clicking on the taskbar, clicking Properties, and checking Use small taskbar buttons in the Taskbar and Start Menu Properties window. Checking this option will also remove the date from your taskbar clock.
Clean up the System Tray
The System Tray is the part of the taskbar where all those pesky notification icons and useless things like clocks show up. Good news -- you can get rid of all of these icons, including the built-in system icons like the clock, volume and network icons.
To start cleaning it up, right-click the taskbar and click Properties to open the Taskbar and Start Menu Properties window. Next to Notification area: click Customize... to go to the Settings menu. To turn off program icons (e.g., Dropbox, Google Chrome, McAfee LiveSafe) in the System Tray, click Select which icons appear on the taskbar. To turn off system icons (e.g., the clock, the volume control, etc.), click Turn system icons on or off.
Get rid of Cortana
Cortana is sweet and all, but her search icon takes up valuable taskbar real estate. Right-click the taskbar, hover over Cortana and click Hidden to remove Cortana's button from the taskbar completely.
Get rid of the Task View button
Task View is a new Windows 10 feature that lets you see and use virtual desktops. The Task View button is a small button on the taskbar that lets you quickly access these desktops. To get rid of it, right-click the taskbar and click Show Task View button to toggle it off.
Taskbar buttons, your way
If your taskbar is looking cluttered -- because you love having 64 Firefox windows open at once -- maybe it's time to customize your taskbar buttons. Right-click the taskbar and click Properties to open the Taskbar and Start Menu Properties window. Click the dropdown menu next to Taskbar buttons and choose your flavor: Always combine, hide labels (this will combine one program's windows into one Taskbar button); Combine when taskbar is full; or Never combine.
If you hate the way the taskbar looks, you can set it to automatically hide whenever it's not in use (move your mouse over the taskbar area to see it again). Do this by right-clicking the taskbar, clicking Properties and checking Auto-hide the taskbar.
If you love the way the taskbar looks, and you don't want to accidentally resize or move it with your clumsy mouse handling, you can lock it in place. To do this, right-click the taskbar, click Properties and check Lock the taskbar.
In Windows 10, you can add toolbars, as well as folders, to the taskbar. There are three toolbars already created for you: Address, Links, and Desktop. The Address toolbar is an address box -- type a URL into it and hit Enter, and your default web browser will open that page. The Links and Desktop toolbars are just folders -- the Links toolbar lets you see all the files in your Links folder; the Desktop toolbar lets you see all the files on your desktop.
To add a toolbar, right-click the taskbar, hover over Toolbars, and then check the toolbars you want to add.
You also have the option to add a New toolbar, which is essentially just a folder that you'll be able to quickly access from your taskbar. Click New toolbar... and navigate to the folder you want to add. Click Select Folder and your new toolbar will appear on the taskbar.
Change the color and transparency
To change the color and transparency of your taskbar, open the Settings menu and go to Personalization > Colors. Scroll to the bottom of the screen and make sure Show color on Start, taskbar, action center, and title bar is turned on. Choose the color you want to use and your taskbar will change to reflect your choice.
To make the taskbar transparent, scroll down to the bottom of the screen and turn on Make Start, taskbar, and action center transparent.