Ubuntu’s Thin Vertical Taskbar on Windows 8

taskbar tweaker poster

If you’re a Linux fan, then you’re probably also aware of all the user interface enhancements that come with distributions like Ubuntu.   In addition of the window animation and eye candy enabled by Compiz, one of the

One of the best usability tweaks I like is the vertical task bar that is enabled by default on Ubuntu.  Many smaller-resolution wide-screen displays can benefit from this as it allows you to use the entire height of your screen for applications., without having to resort to the “modern/metro” version

Duplicating this feature on Windows 8 is not without its caveats.  If you simply move the task bar to the left or right of the screen, then you have very little space for icons.  The width of the task bar is still wide even if you enable “small icons” in the task bar properties.

Now I’ll show you how to get a thin, usable vertical task bar in Windows 8 that offers enhanced functionality.

First Step

First, download “7+ Taskbar Tweaker” (link at bottom).  Then perform these steps:

1. Right-Click on the 7+ tray icon and select “Advanced Settings”. 

Select Advanced Options in 7-Plus

2. Change the “no_width_limit” setting to “1”.   You can now resize the taskbar smaller than originally allowed.  If the taskbar won’t move, then right-click the taskbar and uncheck “lock all taskbars”

Enable no_width_limit in 7+ Advanced Options

3. Right-click on the empty space on the taskbar and un-check “Lock the taskbar”.

Screenshot (7)

4. Now resize the taskbar as small as you like.  If you want to squeeze out a few extra pixels then you can disable your clock, or un-check “show seconds on the clock” from within 7+ Taskbar Tweaker.

After - thin vertical taskbar in Windows 8

5. Once you have the task bar as small as you like then you can lock the taskbar back in place.

Other tweaks

There are other tweaks you can do with this handy tweak utility.  Here are some of my favorites:

7plus taskbar tweaker

1. Double click on empty space.  Change this dropdown to “Task Manager”.

2. “Hide the Start button”.  It is completely unnecessary in Windows 8 (clicking in the lower-left corner or pressing the Windows (Action) button on your keyboard opens the Start screen.  You might want to leave it on if you’re using Stardock’s Start8, Classic Shell, or Pokki to replicate a Windows 7 menu.

3. In the “Decombine:” section, select “On mouse hover”.  This will ungroup items in your taskbar that are normally grouped together.  This can be annoying for some programs if you have “peek” turned on.

To really use all of the desktop space available, go ahead and change your desktop icons to a small size to match, too.  And install Stardock’s WindowFX5 (5.2 if you actually want it to not completely crash Windows 8) to get all of the Compiz eye candy.  Oh, and install Dexpot for multiple desktops.  Now you can pretend like you don’t need Linux.

Download 7+ Taskbar Tweaker from this link.

Download WindowFX here.

Alan is a web architect, stand-up comedian, and your friendly neighborhood Grammar Nazi. You can stalk him on the Interwebs via Google+, Facebook and follow his ass on Twitter @ocmodshop.