Switch to a different taskbar buttons view in Windows 8.1

As seen in the earlier versions of Windows, you can customize the taskbar in Windows 8.1 too, including the way how the taskbar buttons appear, when you have more than one window opened.

Taskbar buttons

The taskbar is a bar to launch and monitor running applications and is clearly displayed at the bottom of the desktop, by default. To change its appearance or move it to another place you first need to unlock it.

To unlock the taskbar, right-click an empty space on the taskbar. If the option ‘Lock the taskbar’ has a check mark against it, the taskbar is locked. You can unlock it by simply clicking the same option again. this will also remove the check mark.

Lock Taskbar

To change the appearance of the taskbar buttons. Simply go to Taskbar Properties option and follow these simple steps.

Switch to a different taskbar buttons view

Right-click on the empty space of Taskbar. Click on Properties. Under the Taskbar tab, select one of the options from the Taskbar buttons list:

Menu Properties

You will see 3 options. Never combine, Combine when the taskbar is full and Always combine, hide labels.

Never combine

This setting shows each window as an individual, labeled button, and never combines them, no matter how many windows are open. As more apps and windows open, buttons get smaller, and eventually the buttons will scroll.

Combine when taskbar is full

This setting shows each window as an individual, labeled button. When the taskbar becomes crowded, apps with multiple open windows collapse into a single app button. Clicking the button displays a list of the windows that are open.

Always combine, hide labels

This is the default setting. Each app appears as a single, unlabeled button, even when multiple windows for that app are open. It consumes very little taskbar space and therefore the most preferred setting.

Click OK, when done.

Taskbar appearance changed

That’s it! Now see the changed appearance of the taskbar buttons – just like it was in Windows Vista or Windows XP.

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Anand Khanse is the Admin of TheWindowsClub.com, a 10-year Microsoft MVP Awardee in Windows (2006-16) & a Windows Insider MVP. Please read the entire post & the comments first, create a System Restore Point before making any changes to your system & be careful about any 3rd-party offers while installing freeware.