Windows XP offered a great functionality which allowed you to dock your folder full of shortcuts to the top or side of the screen. This kept your desktop clean, yet offered you easy access to files, folders or programs. The functionality existed in Windows Vista too – but with some limitations. You could get this kind of a custom toolbar docked to the sides in Windows 7 with a 3rd-party freeware… and you can get this feature in Windows 8 too!
Coolbarz is a freeware tool that creates custom desktop toolbars or Coolbars for quick and easy access to your most commonly used programs, files, and folders.
Coolbarz can generate up to four toolbars, which can be docked to the four sides of your computer screen. As I have mentioned, this feature used to be fully implemented within Windows allowing you to create and dock your own custom toolbars on the desktop but has been removed in the later versions of Windows.
The app is portable, that is, it does not require to be installed. After you have downloaded it, simply run the executable file and select the settings as you wish. I opted for a single toolbar to be docked at the top.
Once this is done, drag and drop your desktop shortcuts to the toolbar, and then delete the ones on the desktop. Alternatively, you can also add, edit, delete shortcuts to the toolbar by right-clicking on the toolbar and selecting the appropriate action
The Settings offer Corner Protection and Auto-Hide options too. You can also choose to show or hide its icon in the notification area.
You can pin program shortcuts, folders, internet shortcuts, inbuilt tools like Notepad, Registry Editors, etc., to it, and set it to auto-hide. The toolbar is conveniently customizable to suit your functional and visual needs, including fading effects and offers an easy to use and friendly interface with update notifications.
I did try it on my Windows 8 and was pleasantly surprised to see it work nicely. Now I no longer need to stuff my Windows 8 taskbar with program shortcuts and shortcuts to shut down and restart the Windows 8 computer. I can place them all on this Cool toolbar.
We have already seen options to sort of add the Start Menu to Windows taskbar or the option to natively launch programs by creating a custom toolbar using explorer.exe to launch programs from Windows 8 taskbar. Coolbarz offers another option!
Rather than trying to fight Windows 8 and find ways to get the start menu back in Windows 10/8, you should try to get used to the Start Screen and use Coolbarz, as it offers better functionality – one which complements Windows 10/8. When on the desktop, it offers ready access to your favorite programs, files, and folders. So, in my opinion, it’s like getting the best of both worlds. What more can one want!? You can download it here.