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Quick Launch Toolbar

by Wren McMains
(9/25/2009)

The Quick Launch Toolbar is usually located just to the right of the Start button. This toolbar has has two big advantages:

  1. No matter what else is running, you can almost always see it.
  2. You only need a single click to launch one of these programs, unlike the double-click to launch a program using a desktop icon.

Therefore, be sure the icons on it are ones you frequently use, not the ones Microsoft or other vendors put here:

Screen Shot

If you hover over one of the icons, Vista tells you what program will be launched:

Screen Shot

You'll usually also find a couple of special icons there:

Screen Shot

"Show desktop" will minimize all the programs currently running:

Screen Shot

"Switch between windows" gives you a neat display in Vista. I can't capture what it looks like, but try it yourself when you have several windows open (if you don't have this icon, pressing the Windows key and the Tab at the same time does the same thing). You can select the screen you want to switch to with your mouse, or keep pressing until the screen you want is at the front of the display.

One thing I really want here if I'm on a dial-up line is the connection to my ISP. To add an icon to this toolbar, it needs to first be on your desktop. Then click on it, hold down and drag down.

Screen Shot

As you move it over the toolbar, a black line appears showing exactly where it's going to go when you release your mouse button:

Screen Shot

Here you see the name displayed as I hover over the new icon, but you also see that two little arrows have appeared:

Screen Shot

The arrows indicate that there are more icons on the toolbar than can be displayed. If you click on the arrows, the other icons and their names are displayed above the arrows:

Screen Shot

To display them all the time you can change the amount of space devoted to the Quick Launch Toolbar by right clicking in a blank (empty) space on the taskbar (I right-clicked right where the arrow is pointing) and un-check "Lock the Taskbar":

Screen Shot

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