About Computers for Newbies & Everyone Else

October 20, 2015

Windows 10, Part 9–Taskbar

The Taskbar in Windows 10 has some new features some of which we will look at today.

Right click on the start buttonFirst off, right click on your start menu button and get a surprise.  There are more than 15 different windows functions available in a list.  There you will find "Programs and Features" used to uninstall programs and install Windows features.  You will also find "Task Manager" "Control Panel" and "File Explorer" which are some of the more common ones you may use.  To use one left click on that item.

It is easy to add a program to the start menu or the taskbar if you want to.  First click the start button and find the program you wish to "pin", right click it and choose either "Pin to Start" or "Pin to taskbar" according to the location you prefer.  Note that if you choose Start it will appear as a tile on the right side of the menu.  At this point in time you cannot list it on the left side as a text link. 

If you wish to remove a pinned item in either area all you do is right click on the icon or tile and choose, "Unpin…" 

The last taskbar element we will look at is how to hide or display which program icons you want to appear on the right side of the taskbar when they are running.  They are in the notification area next to the time.  Some items like Volume or Network (to see if you are online or not) you may always want to see.  Others like, Bluetooth devices, your security software or "Microsoft Office Document Cache" you may never care about seeing in the taskbar.

To adjust these icons you will need to get into the settings area.  Using, "Ron’s easy way" click the start button, type "notifications" then click on "Notifications & actions settings."  Once there look to the middle of the screen click the text link that states "Select which icons appear on the taskbar."  Then for the ones you want to see click the on/off switch for the application to either on or off to see them.  Once you change one it will immediately appear of vanish from the right side of the taskbar.  If you want to see all programs currently running you can click "Always show all icons in the notification area" to on.  Play with them and see what suits your needs. 

If you miss the "Quick Launch" toolbar from Windows XP, as I do, you can add it back into Windows 10.  It is easy to do.

  1. Right click on the taskbar and make sure it is unlocked. 
  2. Right click on the taskbar again, choose "Toolbars" then "New Toolbar…"
  3. Enter, "C:\Users\Username\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch" (without the quotes) and click "Select folder."
  1. Replace "Username" with your login username for windows. 

After completing this the Quick Launch Toolbar will immediately appear on the right side of your taskbar.  If the taskbar is still unlocked you can move it by clicking on the dotted lines and dragging the toolbar where you want it to remain.  If not unlocked you cannot move it. 

Right click on Quick Launch toolbar to remove text and titleTo remove the text on Quick Launch, right click on the dotted lines (at the left edge of the new toolbar) and uncheck "Show Text" as well as "Show Title" from the menu.  Drag programs and folders into QL as you wish. 

Below, screenshot before Text and Title are UNchecked.image


Below, screenshot after they have been unchecked.

November 19, 2013

Quick Launch Toolbar

When I repeatedly receive the same question, I tend to direct readers to previous columns.

However, this week I received a question from Elizabeth that others have asked about numerous times. Since it seems to be such a common issue, I will again address it, with a few changes and updates.

If you are a Windows 7 or 8 user and miss the Quick Launch Toolbar from the XP days, not all is lost. The Quick Launch Toolbar was an application easily accessible until Windows 7.

With Windows 7 and 8, the Quick Launch Toolbar is still present, but it’s hidden away. Here’s the step-by-step for those of you hoping to find it.

First, unlock your taskbar. Right click on the taskbar and choose “Toolbars” then “New Toolbar.”

A browser window will open up in which you can enter the location of the toolbar items you want to include. Use the following for the Quick Launch Toolbar in Windows 7:  “C:\Users\YOUR USERNAME\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch.”

Windows 8 is slightly different, replace the previous step with, “YOUR USERNAME\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch.”

After entering one of the above folder paths, the Quick Launch Toolbar will immediately appear on the right of your taskbar. To move it to the left, click the dotted lines and drag the toolbar to the left, if you previously unlocked the taskbar. If you skipped this step, the toolbar will not move. That is about the trickiest part of the set up.

Quick Launch Toolbar positioned on Taskbar

If you want to remove the text on the new Quick Launch Toolbar, follow these steps. Right click the dotted lines (at the left edge of the new toolbar) and uncheck “Show Text,” as well as “Show Title,” from the menu.

In case have forgotten how to use your old favorite, simply drag shortcuts to the Quick Launch Toolbar.

Web Folder opened via Quick Launch ToolbarThen, the programs will be added to the toolbar and will now, launch quickly when clicked. The icons may also be rearranged by dragging them around the Quick Launch Toolbar. You may even add folders that you often use to it, which is very hard to do with the taskbar.

I set this up every time I install Windows on a computer. Good luck and let me know how it works for you.

September 4, 2012

Windows 7 Tips, Part 2

Last week we took a look at using the control key plus the arrow keys to move your Windows around the screen.  Today we check out a few more Windows 7 tricks.  Remember as you read that ‘W +’ means to hold down the Windows key (the one with the logo to the left of the space key) and the key to the right of the ‘+’.  Just like using the Shift key to capitalize a letter.

I had several emails suggesting other shortcuts with the Windows key and the following which took care of one of my complaints.  I wrote that you could use, ‘W + M.’ This minimizes all opened windows to the taskbar.  My complaint was there is no way to restore them and I was correct.  However, Bobby wrote in saying that if you use the ‘W + D’ keys you can minimize all open windows.  When you try it again they all restore.  Thanks Bobby, now I can die happy.

If you run gadgets on your desktop try the, ‘W + G’ keys.  This will bring your desktop gadgets to the top of all other windows.  They will go away when you click on the window under them.  I find this convenient to check the weather and time, since I use those two gadgets. 

Windows Mobility CenterTry, ‘W + X’ which opens the "Windows Mobility Center."  While there you can adjust several different settings on your computer.  You can play with your monitor’s "Display Brightness." You can also cut your wireless network on and off.

Are you at a location away from home with your notebook and need to walk away for a few seconds?  Use ‘W + L’ to immediately lock your computer.  It protects you since it makes you use your password to get back to your work (if you have previously set one up for your account).

ExplorerOpen your Computer in Explorer and get to your drives, Favorites, Networks and Libraries by using ‘W + E’.  Try it.  You will like it if you usually get there using other more time consuming routes.

This shortcut is one I use often.  Take a look at your Taskbar.  It contains icons which open programs when you click them with your mouse.  You probably have one for "Windows Explorer", "Internet Explorer", and "Media Player."  For the sake of argument, let us say you only have those three and they are in that order.  Number the icons in your head, 1 to 3.  To open "Media Player" (which is number 3 in this example) press, ‘W + 3.’  For "Windows Explorer" use, ‘W + 1’, etc.  This will only work for the first nine icons on the taskbar.

Another Taskbar shortcut combo is, ‘W + T’.  This shortcut will highlight the first icon on the Taskbar whether it is an opened program or not.  Press Enter to activate that program.  Use the right or left arrow keys (by themselves) in order to move between icons.

Since I do a lot of talks, training and presentations with my computer one of my favorites is, ‘W + P’.  This shortcut opens the screen selection control.  From here you can choose to use your computer’s monitor, a connected projector or both.  Choose from "Disconnect Projector", "Duplicate" "Extend" or "Projector Only." This is much easier than in the olden days. Windows key + p

November 1, 2011

Jump Lists

Last week we were looking at some tricks you can do with your Windows 7 taskbar.  Today let’s see how to actually add a task to the taskbar.

Pinning and Unpinning ProgramsTo add any program which is installed on your computer to the taskbar, first find the program you want to add.  Do this by clicking the Start button and All Programs. Scroll to the specific program you want to add and right click on the icon.   The dropdown menu will include several different choices but the two you need to pay attention to here are, "Pin to Taskbar" and "Pin to Start Menu."  If you choose "Pin to Taskbar" it will add the program icon/link to your taskbar.  If you do not like where it is located on the taskbar it is easy to move.  Click the icon and drag it to the location on your taskbar you prefer.

Obviously, you can also add the program icon to your Start Menu.  If you choose that one the program will be added somewhere near the top of the menu list when you click the start button.  Again, you can click and drag it to slide it to the location you prefer on the menu list.

Now, how about "Jump Lists?"

Jump Lists are lists of recently opened items like websites or documents folders depending on which program you used to open them last. You can use a Jump List to open these items, and you can also pin favorites to a Jump List so you can quickly get to the items you use every day.

Jump List in WordThey are found on the taskbar and in the menu.   Again, this depends on what programs you have added to the menu or what programs are currently running.  On the Start menu jump lists appear for programs you’ve pinned to the Start menu and programs you’ve opened recently. Note that not all programs use jumps lists so they may not appear.  However, most of the main programs will have them.  Jump Lists can include recently opened items and any you have added or pinned there.

The same jump list items will appear in the start menu and the taskbar no matter which way you access them.  So, if you pin an item to a program’s Jump List on the taskbar, the item also appears in that program’s Jump List on the Start menu.

Using this quick access feature is easy.  To view a Jump List for an application, click start, point to the pinned program near the top of the menu list, point to the item and click it.  It then opens up. 

Pinned and Unpinned in the Start MenuTo add an item to the jump list, click start, hover the program in your start menu, hover the item you want to pin, click on the little "push pin" icon and click "Pin to this list". To remove the item follow the previous directions and click the "push pin" icon again.  Next choose, "Unpin from this list."

Follow the same process on the taskbar but start by hovering and then right-click.  Now practice your new productivity in Windows 7.

October 25, 2011

Windows 7 Taskbar Tricks

Cassie from Winchester wrote and asked me about Windows 7 and how to pin tasks to the taskbar.  She went on to ask about Jump Lists.  I was surprised in that these are very beneficial for Windows 7 users and I had not written about them before.  I remember when W7 first came out and everyone in the world was writing about it.  I decided not to discuss it at length since not many people had it at that time.  Since time has passed I figure many of you are now using W7 and would like some tips. 

First, what is pinning a task?  If you look at the bottom of the W7 screen you will see a Taskbar which is almost identical to the previous versions.  The taskbar has several programs "pinned" to it when you first get your computer such as Windows Explorer and Internet Explorer.  You can add or remove any program on your computer to the taskbar as you wish.  

Taskbar Bubble When you hover your mouse over these icons you will get diverse notices at different times.  If the program is not opened you will get a text "bubble" showing the name of the program. 
If you hover your mouse pointer over the icons when the program is running (this presupposes the graphics capability of your computer is older) you will get a text bubble.  This bubble shows the name of the file or the website name which is currently open in the program.  If there are several "pages" open in that application you will see a list of the names.  To go to any of them just click the one you want to see and it will open to the top of your screen.  

Thumbnail viewHowever, if you have a newer computer with a better graphics card, you will get a "thumbnail" of the page that is open in the program.  If you have multiple pages open you will see a thumbnail of each one, depending on the program.  As before, click on the one you wish to see.  I currently have three sites open in my browser so I see three thumbnails. 

Next, if you knew about the previous tricks, have you tried right clicking on an opened Taskbar optionsprogram’s icon?  I will use Microsoft Word for my example.  When I right click on the Word icon a "jump list" pops up.  Each program may show a few choices but they are basically the same.  In this example, mine shows Recent, (shows the last documents I have opened in Word)  and three options for that program.  The options are usually the name of the program which will open another "session" of that program, "Unpin {or Pin} this program from taskbar" which will remove (unpin) or add (pin) the program’s icon from the taskbar, (obviously) and "Close window" which allows you to close the program from the taskbar.   

Oops, I just ran out of room.  Next week, we’ll look at how to add programs to the taskbar and talk more about jump lists.

August 9, 2011

Resuscitating the Quick Launch Toolbar in Windows 7

Last week I wrote about two Menu Applications for Windows operating systems.  I specifically mentioned Windows Vista and 7 but those two apps will work on most any of them.  They were “Desktop Sidebar” and “RocketDock“.  Check last week’s Double Click for more details.

I also mentioned bringing the Windows’ “Quick Launch Toolbar” that many of you, just like me, miss in the newest versions of the Windows operating systems.  I received several emails from readers saying they were really looking forward to this information, so here we go!

imageThe Quick Launch Toolbar was a really great app and was available up until Windows 7.  Yes, even though you may not have realized it you could restart it in Vista by right clicking on the taskbar.

However, in Windows 7 the QLT is hidden so that you have to really hunt for it and once found you will need to set it up.  I am going to save you from a time consuming hunt.

image1)  Unlock your taskbar (This isn’t necessary but makes it much easier set up.)

2)  Right click on the taskbar and choose “Toolbars” then “New Toolbar…”

3)  A browser window will open up waiting for you to enter a location of the toolbar items you want to enter.

SNAGHTML31dc35e4)  Use the following for the Quick Launch Toolbar:

C:\Users\REPLACE THIS WITH YOUR USERNAME\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch


imageAfter entering the above folder path the QLT will immediately appear all the way over on the right side of your taskbar.  To move it to the left, click on the dotted lines and drag the toolbar all the way to the left (yellow arrow in graphic).  Warning: this is about the trickiest part of the set up.

imageThen remove all the text you will see all on the new Quick Launch Toolbar.  To do this, right click on the dotted lines (at the left edge of the new toolbar) and uncheck “Show Text” as well as “Show Title” from the menu.

Once you have it located and looking the way you want it to look I suggest checking the “Lock the taskbar” checkbox.

In case you do not remember how to use your old favorite all you have to do is drag shortcuts to the QLT.   Then the programs will be added to the toolbar and will now, “launch quickly”.  The icons may also be rearranged to your heart’s content by dragging them around the QLT.

Enjoy having your Quick Launch Toolbar back home again!

June 21, 2011

Open to the World, Part 2

Last week we started looking at securing your home network.  Today we will finish our walk-through.  There are other settings for your router I have not mentioned but with instructions in hand you can experiment.  Just be very careful and (maybe) check with a geek friend first.

In review:

  1. Open your browser and go to either or
  2. Enter your router’s username and password.
  3. Change your password to something difficult.
  4. Rename your network/SSID.
  5. Encrypt your network to WPA-PSK or WPA2.

Let’s pick up where we left off.  Do not use the old settings of WEP or WPA since they can be cracked in minutes by hackers.  If your router doesn’t have the WPA-PSK or WPA2 try to upgrade your router’s firmware (there should be a menu item for that) or buy a new one.  I would recommend a purchase because you can get good and more modern ones for less than $50.

Finally, set a difficult password from eight to 63 characters. Make it tough by using upper-case characters, lower-case characters, numbers and/or symbols.  Do not forget it since you will need it sometime in the future, like when you get a new computer.  Check my past columns on creating good passwords for help with this.

All you have left to do is to save the settings and close your browser.  This will most likely kick you off of your network so you will need to reconfigure your computer with the new router info.

Reconfiguring your router is easy to do in Windows 7.  Look for the wireless icon in the lower right area of your taskbar.  This is the notification area.  Right-click the icon and select Connect to a Network.  You will see your network name (SSID) which you previously set up.  It should appear in a list of available networks. You may even see your neighbors’ networks, but come on, be nice.  Select your network from the list.  Choose the connect link, enter your password and in a few seconds you should be online.

With a Vista machine, use START then Connect To. Now choose your network name (SSID) and click Connect.  Proceed as above.

XP is the last one we will look at since it is a little more difficult.  Go to Start again, then to  Control Panel and double-click Network Connections. Right-click the Wireless Network Connection icon and select Properties.  Now go to the Wireless Networks tab.  Look for your SSID in the Preferred networks.  Click it and choose Properties.  Now, find the Network Authentication setting and select WPA-PSK or WPA2.  Under Data Encryption, select AES. The Network Key is the password you set for your network, so enter it here. Make sure the option This Key Is Provided For Me Automatically is not checked. Then click OK.

Your computer should reconnect to the network. This process will have to be repeated for every wireless computer—the good news is that you should only have to do it once.

May 25, 2010

Time Check, Part 2

Filed under: Columns — Tags: , , , , — Ron @ 4:41 am

Last week my article about changing your computer’s battery generated some emails that surprised me.  It was not about replacing batteries but it was about the time on people’s computers.

They were asking how to set the time for their computers.  You know, the time in the lower right corner of your taskbar.

First, I would like to give you a couple of tips about the time on the taskbar.  I imagine you realize that when you hover your mouse over it you can see the day and date.  You may see a little more or less depending on which Windows operating system you have.  Also, if you increase the height of your taskbar you will see all of the information without hovering.  Tryimage it by right clicking on your taskbar and make sure that there is no checkmark by “Lock the Taskbar”.  If it is checked click on the text and it will go away.  Next, hover your mouse over the top edge of the taskbar until you see a vertical double-headed arrow.  Now click and drag the taskbar up a few spaces.  Look at the time now and you will see more information.

From Windows 95 up through XP all of the operating systems adjust the time the same way; however, Vista and W7 are slightly different.  You get to them both the same way and once there you can click on anything and not damage your computer so go look around.

To check your time all you do is right click on the time in your Taskbar/Systray.  Click the Adjust Date/Time and you are there.  As I said before, click the different tabs and bars and you will see several settings you can change.  From this location you will of course be able to change the date and time on your computer.  You may also set up Daylight Saving imageTime for your system by clicking on a check box.  That way you won’t have to worry about messing with the time twice a year to set the hour forward and backward.

If you move to a different Time Zone you may also change that.

If you want to set up your clock one time and then forget it you can use the internet time settings.  There are online time servers for you to use. If you set your computer to synchronize with one of those, your computer clock should remain fairly accurate since it updates weekly using a time server.  Click the “Internet Time” tab which will not be available if your computer is a member of a domain (in a work environment).  Check the “Automatically syimagenchronize with an Internet time server” checkbox.

To test the time server click the “Update Now” button.  When the synchronization finishes you will receive a message that the time sync was successful.  If it does not work, which is rare, you may select another time server from the drop-down list.

You will also see the date and time of next synchronization in this dialog. It is easy to be accurate using this feature between your computer and the internet.

January 12, 2010

2009 Links in Review, Part 2

Today we get to see part two of the 2009, Double Click review.  Sit back, relax and browse the web for the sites that interest you.  As always, if you prefer clicking to typing please visit the site and read the column later the same day it is published in the paper and actually click the links.

Here they are in their order of their appearance with short descriptions if needed.

  • and, these need no explanation; although, I wrote about their specific ability to print your vacation photos online.
  •, an online photo editing program.
  • Picasa, a site where you can download a photo organizational tool to edit and store digital pictures but you can also upload them to Picasa online to create photo albums.  (Our vacation photos shortened,
  • Paul Thurrott’s SuperSite for Windows, an excellent blog about MS Windows products.
  • MSNBC news & information site
  • CrossWalk, a Christian study, blog, information site, etc.
  •, my boring blog which is pretty much in no way related to my columns.
  • &, two sites for creating your own blog (There are differences between the two.)
  •, an online site where you can view movies and many current TV shows for free.
  • Firefox (, today’s best internet browser (in my opinion).
  • Microsoft Office 2007 discount (, the entire MS Office program for students at a much discounted price of $59.95 (as of the date I wrote this…it may not last long).
  •, Microsoft’s new online search engine.
  • Google Earth, a great mapping application.
  • MMTaskbar, extend your task bar across multiple monitors.
  • Desk Drive, allows a desktop icon to appear when you plug in an external drive, including thumb drives.
  • MS Live Workspace & Google Docs, two similar but different free online file storage sites.
  • Google Chrome, Google’s internet browser.
  • Evony, free online role playing game.
  •, &, three online books sites which have text and/or audio books for free and/or a price.
  • Go to My PC, a site that allows you to login to your home/work computer from another location.
  • Team Viewer, similar to above but free and not as stable.

I hope you have found the two "Year in Review" columns helpful!  Don’t forget to keep those emails coming in 2010.

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