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!


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

windows 7 taskbar stacked


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


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.



  1. groovinJackman

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

  2. Ann

    Wow! Thank you!

  3. Jacob Nilsson


    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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