Change the size (width) of Windows taskbar buttons

Windows by default uses only icons in the taskbar. You can change this easily whenever you wish, using a small and free utility called Taskbar Labels. But what can you do, if it is impossible to read information displayed by various programs on these buttons, because the default button size, even when text is activated, is not enough?

For example, Deluge, an otherwise great application, displays its name before download and upload rates, making impossible for users to see on the taskbar real-time updates.

These days, when so many people use large screens, there is no reason why those buttons aren’t larger, displaying more information. When you open a lot of programs, they can shrink accordingly, until then, let’s give them some space!

To make the Windows 7 taskbar buttons wider than their default size, open regedit and navigate to

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop\WindowMetrics

Create there a new String with the name MinWidth. Double click on MinWidth and give it a value from 38 to 500. A value of 250-300 would give your taskbar buttons enough space to display useful information.

* Use Taskbar Labels to return instantly to the Windows default icon-only behavior, when you don’t wish to have visible any text at all but only program icons in the taskbar.

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1 Response

  1. Mark says:

    here’s an idea: live-expanding/contracting of the default taskbar item width. (to see more info in the taskbar labels – or less – dynamically as you need – instantly and intuitively!)

    you could basically integrate this function into your ‘Taskbar Labels’ app – have ‘no label’ as the lowest point of contraction (which the user might need to go to if they’re doing a super session with gazillion programs and files open), and if the user wants to slowly start expanding it (because often the first letter of the taskbar window is enough to work out what word document no 5 of 7 was!), they just start doing Alt+Right and keep going with the right arrow or flexibly back again with the left arrow.

    and of course, toggle between no label text and, say, call it ‘auto fit’ (which is the windows default, or specified with MinWidth) for jumping back and forth between nothing and normal amount of text quickly (like you can already with Taskbar Labels).

    Now I just realised that there’s one UI problem: if you keep expanding the taskbar items with Alt+Right, depending on how many items you have open eventually, windows will start pushing items into a second (and third and so on) drop-down row, bringing the problem of two-click process to find the item you want and thus kind of defeating the purpose of all this!