Lets look at the functions of the taskbar from left to right (or top to bottom if you’ve moved it to the side).
- On the far left is the window flag icon, clicking this will have the same effect as pressing the flag key on the keyboard. The start menu will pop up (Windows 8 used a full screen equivalent, baffling and reviled by to many called Metro which Microsoft intended as an interface for all devices – phone, tablet, laptop and desktop – its main problem is that it assumes touch screen functionality an issue for the usual desktop and most laptops) I will discuss the start menu in a later blog.
- In Windows 10 the next item on the taskbar is a “Search Windows” field. This may be set to “Ask Cortana” a voice activated “guide” that defaults to searching the web and other annoying traits (disabling Cortana in a later blog!). This is one of many ways to access an installed program or function. Start typing its name and it will do a pretty good job of showing you what you have on your machine and also options on the internet beyond.
- Again, in Windows 10 only, the next item is an icon showing a window outline with two behind; this is the Task View and will do the same as [alt][tab] showing currently running programs (which can be clicked to select)
- Now starts the bulk of the taskbar showing… tasks. The first icons will be the Quick Launch icons (placed there by dragging an icon from the desktop or explorer (with a hint or question about pinning it to the taskbar). After these come the running tasks (again selectable by clicking). In Windows 10, if you have clicked a Quick Launch icon and it is running, it will be underlined (such as the three rightmost icons in the Windows 10 taskbar image above).
Right clicking on the quick launch icons allows you to unpin, or if running, show some task specific options as well as close all windows.
Right clicking on a blank area of the task bar gives options for managing the taskbar as well as the Task Manager (I’ll look in more detail at this in a later blog)
The final two items on the far right of the taskbar are the notification area and the clock which I will cover later.