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How To Prevent Windows 7 From Combining Taskbar Application Icons

Windows 7 Taskbar Combining ApplicationsWindows 7 comes with a feature that by default will combine multiple windows from the same application into a single stack.  For people who run a variety of programs at once this is really useful, but there are times when I find the feature annoying when I want to quickly bounce between a few windows quickly.  Let’s adjust this feature and optimize our taskbar space!

Before

With the default Windows 7 settings, your windows from the same app will be stacked onto a single icon.

windows 7 taskbar stacked

After

Windows will no longer combine unless the Taskbar becomes full.

windows 7 taskbar no stack

Step 1

Right-click any empty space on the Taskbar and Select Properties.

taskbar properties from windows 7

Step 2

The Taskbar and Start Menu Properties menu should appear.  On the Taskbar tab Click the drop-down list labeled Taskbar buttons. There are 3 settings here to choose from:

  1. Always combine, hide labels (default)
  2. Combine when taskbar is full
  3. Never combine

Since we want to optimize our taskbar space, Select Combine when taskbar is full.

windows 7 combine when taskbar is full

Done!

Now your Windows 7 taskbar will not combine items unless it runs out of room.  With this setting you really get the best of both worlds; your entire taskbar space becomes useful, and you don’t have to worry about losing track of your windows if you open too many.

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3 Responses to How To Prevent Windows 7 From Combining Taskbar Application Icons

  1. groovinJackman October 26, 2010 at 5:30 am #

    Great tip – this is totally necessary, esp. since practically everything I work with is open in a Chrome window.

  2. Ann July 10, 2011 at 4:03 pm #

    Wow! Thank you!

  3. Jacob Nilsson February 5, 2012 at 11:54 pm #

    Hey.

    It doesn’t work on my PC. Firefox still wants to open in the middle of my quick launch menu. Very annoying.

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