There are a lot of steps involved when you want to customize the windows 10 taskbar and make it better looking, but before we dive into all that, let’s first see my take on the same.
Accept it or not, but I feel Windows 10 taskbar isn’t functional at all in its factory state. It’s big, taking way too much space, and very much distracting at times. Though it has a bunch of pinned apps and quick settings, that you never asked for or a big search bar, that you probably don’t need. Right? The feeling is mutual here.
Now that we have groused about how non-functional and cluttered the windows taskbar is. Don’t you think, that we should do something about it? Well, I most certainly do so let’s fix it.
After a lot of digging into the windows 10 settings and heading over the internet to find 3rd party tools/software that can actually super-charge the taskbar on my Windows. I finally found the perfect windows 10 taskbar that works for me on my windows machine. You can have a look at the final results of my taskbar down below.
While this might not be the perfect windows taskbar for you, but I am sure that in the process, you will definitely find what works for you as your perfect windows taskbar. So let’s begin the windows taskbar customization process.
The process – Customize your windows 10 taskbar
I will be dividing this process into two parts. First, we will look into the taskbar UI customization options inside windows taskbar settings, and after that, we will go through some 3rd party taskbar customization tools. Every 3rd party tool I am mentioning here is free of cost so don’t worry about spending a dollar on it. (But if there is an option, you can always support the developer by making a voluntary donation for their software/tool)
Also read: How to get AirPods animation on Windows?
Now that it’s clear, let’s get right into supercharging your windows taskbar.
PART 1 – Windows 10 Taskbar Customization Settings
Step 1: Unpin useless pinned apps (and pinning the frequently-used apps to the taskbar)
Windows lets you pin apps on the taskbar so that you can open those apps with just one click to save those milliseconds of your precious time. By default, it comes with a bunch of apps pinned on your task, which you can remove to free up some space. To remove those useless pinned apps, right-click on the app icon and click on ‘Unpin from taskbar‘. Follow the same for all the other apps.
Now that you have unpinned all the default apps, now let us pin some of your frequently used apps. There are two ways to pin an app. Just open the app that you think you would use frequently, then right-click on its icon and click ‘Pin to taskbar‘ to pin that app.
Alternatively, open the start menu and type in the name of the app that you want to pin. Right-click the app, then click ‘More>‘ and select ‘Pin to taskbar‘ to pin that app onto the Windows 10 taskbar.
Step 2: Turn system icons on or off (and app icons)
You will find all your system icons on the extreme right of your taskbar. These icons can be very handy at times. However, not all the icons are useful taking up a chunk of space and making your taskbar look cluttered. But thankfully, Windows let you toggle such icons off your taskbar.
To turn off these system icons, open Windows Settings > Personalization > Taskbar and there click on ‘Turn system icons on or off‘ under the Notification area section. Inside that window turn off all the system icons that are of no use to you.
You will also find a few app icons running persistently alongside the system icons. Windows allow you to hide these apps icon to reduce the clutter on your taskbar by dragging them over the other hidden system and app icons.
Cortana will be the last thing that I would probably use inside Windows and I think even you do feel the same about it. No matter how hard Microsoft pushes Cortana as a virtual assistant, we all know it is good for nothing. That being said, there is no point in keeping the Cortana bar/icon on the taskbar and fill our space. Thankfully, Windows has an option to remove/hide the Cortana button from the task. To disable it, right-click on the Windows taskbar and hide the Cortana search bar by clicking the ‘Show Cortana button‘. Similarly, you can disable the Task View button by unchecking the ‘Show task view button‘.
But do note that, this will not disable Cortana from your Windows, it will just hide Cortana from your taskbar.
Step 4: Resizing Windows taskbar
Windows taskbar takes some amount of space on your desktop. While it is totally normal, but it does make your experiences a bit less immersive. Windows lets you resize your taskbar to a smaller version, which makes the running applications make use of the desktop space efficiently. To resize your windows taskbar, goto Settings > Personalization >Taskbar and toggle on ‘Use small taskbar buttons‘. The downside to this is that the running apps will no longer show notification badges on their app icons.
Step 5: Change Taskbar position
While this isn’t a mandatory step, but if you want to make your Windows taskbar look just like mine. You can change the taskbar position to the top of your desktop. The default position of the taskbar is set to bottom and you can change it to top, right & left. To change the position of the taskbar from bottom to the top, goto Settings > Personalization > Taskbar and choose ‘top‘ from the ‘Taskbar position on the screen‘.
Step 6: Changing taskbar color
Windows taskbar very well respects the windows color scheme. You can change the color of the taskbar based on color mode and accent color. By default, if you are running your windows in light mode, it will be white in color and will be darker grey in the case of dark mode. You can override this further to match the accent color scheme of your windows. Suppose the accent color of your windows is Red, you can also make your taskbar follow the same.
Just go to Settings > Personalization > Colors and look for the ‘Show accent color on the following surfaces‘ option and check the ‘Start, taskbar, and action center‘ checkbox.
PART 2- Customizing Windows 10 taskbar using 3rd party tools
Now that we are done customizing Windows 10 taskbar at the Windows level, let us look at some of the 3rd-party Windows customization tools to enhance the look, feel, and functionality of the Windows taskbar.
Step 1: Centering taskbar icons like Windows 11 in Windows 10 using TaskbarX
TaskbarX is a Windows taskbar customization tool that gives you control over the position of your taskbar icons. All of the windows app icons are stuck on the extreme left side of your taskbar. You can use TaskbarX to give a dock-like feel by centering them, similar to new Windows 11 taskbar. This tool also has a variety of app docking animations, that you can change as per your taste. This tool supports multiple taskbars, no matter the position.
Just head to the official TaskbarX’s website and download the portable version of TaskbarX on your computer. Extract the downloaded file and run the TaskbarX.exe file inside that folder. Once that’s done, you will see all your app icons in the center of your taskbar with a beautiful animation. If you open a new app, it will automatically adjust itself to the center. TaskbarX works best with an invisible taskbar, so let’s see how can we make the windows taskbar invisible.
Step 2: Making taskbar transparent using TranslucentTB
You can further enhance the look of your taskbar by making it transparent. A transparent taskbar looks aesthetically pleasing and gives your desktop feel more immersive. With the TranslucentTB app, it is possible to make your taskbar transparent and much more. TranslucentTB gives you full control over how the taskbar on your windows will look in different states. You can also add a specific color to your taskbar overriding the accent of Windows. Other than that, you can also add a blur effect to your taskbar.
Download the TranslucentTB app from the Microsoft Store for free, and open it. This app has no GUI, so you will find it only on your taskbar alongside the system icons. Click on the TranslucentTB icon on the taskbar to open a context menu. Inside the context menu, click on ‘Regular‘ and then ‘Clear‘ to make your taskbar transparent.
Step 3: Supercharging your windows taskbar using 7+ Taskbar Tweaker
I recently got to know about this nifty tool and was blown away by the number of tweaks it offers. 7+ Taskbar Tweaker is a small, yet powerful taskbar tweaking tool that you can use to supercharge your taskbar further and change the way how you interact with your Windows taskbar. While here I am keeping everything to default, there are a couple of things that I changed as per my needs. You can go through each setting and change it as per your need.
Here I have disabled the ‘Show desktop’ button and enabled seconds on the system tray. I have also enabled double click on space to toggle taskbar auto-hide so that I can use certain applications without any distraction.
Step 4: Add life to your windows taskbar using Rainmeter
Rainmeter is a popular desktop customization software, that lets you customize your windows desktop via widgets-like fully customizable skin. You can either your own skin using the resources available on the Rainmeter website or download the ones that are already made by wonderful humans on the internet.
Here I am using two different Rainmeter skins that I customized following the tutorials available on the Rainmeter resources page. One Rainmeter skin is showing the system metrics such as CPU, RAM, GPU usage with the upload, and download speed. While the other skin is just three buttons that are customized to clear cache (Blue), hibernate (Yellow), and shutdown/restart (Red) which a click on a button. Both the skins sit over the top of the taskbar to give an illusion of being a part of it.
Just download the Rainmeter software from here and then grab this skin from here. First install the Rainmeter software on your windows system, after that you will be able to install the Rainmeter skin (.rmskin file) by just double pressing it. Skins will automatically be loaded on your desktop, which you can click and drag over your taskbar to achieve a similar look to mine.
Note that the power bar skin will react to your clicks, to avoid hitting the buttons while dragging the skin onto your taskbar. And once your skin positions are defined, right-click on the skin, then Settings, and untick ‘Draggable‘. This will makes sure you don’t accidentally move the skin with your mouse.
Wrapping up: Customize your Windows 10 taskbar
I am a huge fan of customizations, it gives me a sense of belongingness. If you are here, you must be in the same wagon as mine. I hope you loved this guide as much as I loved making it.
Comments? Suggestions? Drop them in the comment section below and I will see you in another article. Keep visiting mrnoob.net.