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Windows 8.1: The Missing Manual by David Pogue

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Three Ways to Get the Taskbar Out of Your Hair

The bottom of the screen isn’t necessarily the ideal location for the taskbar. Virtually all screens are wider than they are tall, so the taskbar eats into your limited vertical screen space. You have three ways out: Hide the taskbar, shrink it, or rotate it 90 degrees.

Auto-Hiding the Taskbar

To turn on the taskbar’s auto-hiding feature, right-click a blank spot on the taskbar; choose Properties. The dialog box offers “Auto-hide the taskbar,” which makes the taskbar disappear whenever you’re not using it—a clever way to devote your entire screen to application windows and yet have the taskbar at your cursor tip when needed.

When this feature is turned on, the taskbar disappears whenever you click elsewhere, or whenever your cursor moves away from it. Only a thin line at the edge of the screen indicates that you have a taskbar at all. As soon as your pointer moves close to that line, the taskbar joyfully springs back into view.

Changing the Taskbar’s Size

Even with the button-grouping feature, the taskbar can still accumulate a lot of buttons and icons.

As a result, you may want to enlarge the taskbar to see what’s what:

  • The draggy way. First, ensure that the toolbar isn’t locked (which means you can’t move or resize it). Right-click a blank spot on the taskbar; from the shortcut menu, uncheck “Lock the taskbar,” if necessary.

    Now position your pointer on the upper edge of the taskbar (or, if you’ve moved the taskbar, whichever edge is closest ...

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