At a Glance
- No support for keyboard shortcuts
This system utility adds new functionality to the Windows 7 taskbar.
When Windows 7 first came out, there was quite a bit of
excitement about its innovative taskbar.
Some went so far as to say it was more Mac-like than ever. Overall,
users seemed to like the new look for one of the most-often used
parts of Windows. But could the Windows 7 taskbar be improved?
According to utility Bins, currently in free beta, the answer is a
While the Windows 7 taskbar lets you “pin” applications and turn
them into permanent buttons, the rule is “one button per
application,” Windows 7 won’t let you pin documents onto the
taskbar. Bins happily breaks this rule, and lets you pin multiple
applications and documents to a single taskbar icon.
Bins doesn’t require a complex configuration interface: It’s
like making folders in your taskbar. Simply drag one taskbar icon
and hold it on top of another icon. A bin instantly opens, and you
can just drop your icon onto it, creating a group of two icons. The
bin is then marked by a new icon showing miniature versions of both
icons, so you know what’s inside. Bins even lets you tell at a
glance which of the applications in a bin are running–the
“mini-icons” for non-running applications are dimmed out.
When you hover your mouse over a bin’s icon, it opens the bin,
revealing the applications and documents you’ve placed in it.
Impressively, it plays nice with Windows 7’s Aero Peek feature:
When you hover over one of the nested icons, its related window
At the time of this writing, Bins is still in beta, and does
have its kinks. When I pinned a document onto the taskbar then
clicked it, it was correctly opened, but took up two slots for some
reason. Also, while it does support the Windows 7 Basic theme, it
provides the best experience under Aero. In other words, if your
windows have translucent-looking title bars, you’re all set for
Another minor qualm I had with Bins is the lack of support for
keyboard shortcuts, but the author assured me this is on the to-do
list, and will be implemented in future versions.
Bins is so tightly integrated with the Windows interface that it
feels like more like a set of new features than a separate
application. For a system utility, that is a compliment of the
highest order. I would not be surprised if Windows 8
contained at least some of Bins’ functionality. Fortunately, you
can have it right now–and during the public beta, it’s free.
Note: This link takes you to the vendor’s site,
where you can download the latest version of the software. The
public beta that was scheduled to end June 30, 2011 has been
extended; the vendor has not provided a date for the final product