Since the beginning, Windows has placed its taskbar along the bottom of the screen. But as you may have noticed from some of my screenshots, I keep mine on the right-hand side, with small icons enabled and my taskbar buttons set to Never Combine. I like it a lot. In fact, whenever I’m on a computer that uses the default Windows taskbar, it really, really bugs me. So, to prevent this from ever happening to me again, I’m going to attempt to convince the world to move their taskbars from the bottom to the left or right. Here are my top four reasons:
1. Widescreen is Standard
Do you remember when standard monitors had aspect ratios of 4:3? Pepperidge Farm remembers. But anyone born in the new millennium might not. Today’s monitors are 16:9 widescreen, even on dinky netbooks like my EEEPC. What that means is that you have more screen real estate fat-wise than you do tall-wise. Especially when you consider that we scroll up and down webpages, not left and right. So, sticking the taskbar on the left or right is a more efficient use of space, since you won’t be squishing things vertically.
2. Most Applications Don’t Take Up All The Horizontal Space
In spite of the hardware switch from 4:3 to 16:9, most everyday applications favor tall and skinny views. For example, Microsoft Word. In Print Layout, it conjures up an 8×11 sheet of paper, leaving a sizeable amount of empty space on either side of the workspace.
Likewise, web designs usually err on the side of lower x-axis resolutions to allow smaller screens to see the whole page without scrolling horizontally. If you are on a regular desktop, your resolution will probably be plenty big. All of this adds up to extra space on the left and right for your taskbar.
3. You Can Fit More Stuff In
When your taskbar is along the bottom, it usually takes up just one line. But because of the ample space on the side, you can bump it up to two or three columns. This means that you can see more icons in your system tray and your quick launch bar. Also, your running task buttons are all of a uniform height and width, instead of scaling based on how many are open. Personally, I feel that’s tidier.
4. You’ll Like It
Trust me, you will. I’ve been a right-hand side taskbar guy since 2006, when I saw a co-worker doing it on his computer and I’ve never gone back. Other than the above reasons, I can’t really explain why it works out so much better for me. But it does. Try it for a week and see if you agree.