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  • Lowell

Run Programs from Windows Taskbar

Updated: Nov 19, 2020

The Windows Taskbar is located at the bottom of the computer screen. The Notification area is on the right. It contains the clock/calendar and other icons for programs that run in the background. We will focus on the left portion of the Taskbar, where the Start button and other icons are located. We will learn how to run the programs those other icons represent and how to pin program icons to the Taskbar.

Below is a picture of my Taskbar. I've labeled the Start button on the left. Next to it is the Task View icon, followed by a series of numbered icons over programs I've pinned to the Taskbar. I can click these icons to run the associated program or I can hold the Start button while typing the number of the icon's position (1-9 only). I have more than nine program icons on my Taskbar, so I cannot use the Start Button+Number shortcut to run all the programs on my Taskbar.

Why pin program icons to the Taskbar? Convenience. You don't have to search through a maze of icons on the computer desktop screen to find the program you want to run. Also, a single click on the Taskbar icon will run the program, whereas it takes a double-click to run the program from the computer desktop screen.

How do I pin program icons the the Taskbar? 1) If the program icon is on the Desktop screen, you can right-click it and choose Pin to taskbar from the pop-up menu. This option usually appears about midway down the menu. 2) You can click the Start Button and scroll the list of programs that appear until you find the program to pin. Right-click the program name, then click More, then click Pin to Taskbar. 3) You can click the Start Button, right-click a Tile that is to the right of the program list, then click More and then click Pin to taskbar.

How do I remove a pinned program icon from the Taskbar? This is easy. Right-click the pinned icon on the Taskbar, then click Unpin from taskbar.

If you need to rearrange the icons on the Taskbar, simply drag (hold left mouse button down on the icon and move the mouse) icons left or right, one at a time, to their new position. Of course, this will change the number you type when using the Start Button+Number shortcut. You cannot drag an icon beyond the Task View icon on the left. The Start Button and Task View button positions are "hard-wired" and they will not move.

My Taskbar probably looks different from yours. This is because I've hidden the Search feature on the Taskbar. Why? To have more space for pinned icons and because I really don't need the Search capability to be visible.

With my setup, all I do to run a program or search for something using the Start Button is click the button with my mouse or press the Windows key on the keyboard (two keys to the left of the space bar) and type my search terms.

The Windows key looks like this. The small rectangles on the key may be colored, depending on the age of your keyboard.

Your Taskbar may look like the one below, with a wide Search box to the right of the Start Button.

To hide this box, right-click in a blank/empty part of the Taskbar, click Search, hover over Search to reveal a sub menu. Your current option will be checked, like Hidden (my current setting) is in the picture below. If you choose Show search icon, a magnifying glass icon will appear to the right of the Start Button on the Taskbar. If you choose Show search box, the Search box shown in the picture above will appear. Click Hidden if you want more space for pinned program icons. After making your choice, the pop-up menu will disappear.


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