Windows 10 has endless productivity features, especially when it comes to managing windows, not for nothing is the name of Microsoft’s operating system. But if we put aside things like keyboard shortcuts, gestures, and desktops, there is a tool that sometimes we do not take advantage of so much: the taskbar.
Yes, that Windows bar is used for more things than pinning some icons of your favorite applications to always have them handy. The Windows taskbar has many extra features that can make your life even easier by performing operations that you already thought were simple.
Everything the taskbar does when we use more than one click
In Windows 10 if we click on any icon on the taskbar we will 1. run the pinned application, or 2. view the list of open windows for that application. The latter also happens if we simply move the cursor to the icon for a couple of seconds.
If the application we are running is for multimedia content playback, either local or a streaming app like Spotify, these usually have floating controls. This means that if we hover over the icon, when we see the thumbnail of the window we will also see controls and we can do things like pause the playback or advance / rewind.
Maybe you already knew these things, since they are the most obvious and easy to grasp using the system every day, however, there are other functions that you may not know, such as these “tricks” courtesy of Jen gentleman, part of the Microsoft team that works on interfaces:
CTRL + CLICK an icon on the taskbar allows us to open and switch to the most recent application window. If we keep clicking while pressing CTRL, we can bring each application window to the front, in order of use.
SHIFT + CLICK: on an icon in the task bar, it is used to open a new application window. Or, instead you can also do click the middle mouse button click on an icon in the bar to open a new application window. Great to use with the browser.
CTRL + SHIFT + CLICK: used to run an application from the taskbar with Administrator privileges.
If you right click on any empty space in the taskbar you can find options to remove or add icons such as search, Cortana, Task view, Contacts, and more. You can also lock and unlock the bar, when it is locked, no more icons can be anchored, nor can they be changed in size or position.
If you go to Settings> Personalization> Taskbar you can change things like choose if you want the bar to hide automatically, move it to the side or up, and choose whether or not you want to combine the bar buttons and hide the labels (Windows 8.1 / Windows 10), or never combine to make it look like Windows XP / Windows 7.