With every new version of Windows Microsoft loves to throw in a few new taskbar toys that can make your life easier, and Windows 10 is no exception.
The default taskbar setup works fine if you plan to use all of Windows 10’s new features, but if you want to make the operating system your own, here are a few tweaks to consider.
Cortana on Windows 10 is a game-changing feature, but wow does it take up a ton of precious taskbar space. You can condense Cortana so that the digital assistant takes up less room, or just kick it off the taskbar completely completely.
Right-click on any free spot on the taskbar or on the Cortana search box itself. In the context menu, select Cortana > Show Cortana icon and the search box disappears to be replaced by Cortana’s circular icon. Just click on the icon to activate Cortana.
To dump Cortana from the taskbar entirely, select Cortana > Hidden and enjoy all that precious space. This doesn’t turn Cortana off—it just hides the icon from the taskbar.
Remove Task View
If you don’t use Task View’s virtual desktops—or if you always open it with the new Windows Key + Tab keyboard shortcut—just get rid of the icon. Right-click on the Task View icon or a free spot on the taskbar, then de-select the Show Task View button in the context menu.
Add some toolbars
Alright, this feature isn’t new, but it’s still pretty obscure and not a lot of people know about it. Two toolbars that are surprisingly handy to have on the taskbar are the website launcher and what is essentially a quick access launcher to File Explorer and other parts of your system.
The website launcher is just what it sounds like: You type in a web address on your taskbar, hit enter, and your browser automatically launches. To activate it, right-click on your taskbar, and from the context menu select Toolbars > Address.
To get quick access to system items, right-click on the taskbar again and choose Toolbars > Desktop. Now you’ve got quick links to OneDrive, your user directory, Libraries, network, Control Panel, and the Recycle Bin.
Ian is an independent writer based in Israel who has never met a tech subject he didn't like. He primarily covers Windows, PC and gaming hardware, video and music streaming services, social networks, and browsers. When he's not covering the news he's working on how-to tips for PC users, or tuning his eGPU setup.