Taskbar Overlord

Posted Jun 4th, 2009 at 7:04 pm in Technology

I’ve been using the Windows 7 release candidate (still available from Microsoft) as my main and only operating system on both a desktop and laptop for the last month. I like it a lot.

One of the biggest differences is the new taskbar, where you can pin the programs you use most for easy access. In effect, the taskbar now handles application switching and launching. It also groups multiple windows of a program together under one icon, as seen in the screenshot below where two explorer windows are open. If you’re not an uber-nerd like myself and are hearing about this for the first time, you can read this brief overview of the taskbar’s new features.

Windows 7 Taskbar

My Two Issues

While the new taskbar is almost perfect, it’s inflexibility in a couple of areas really frustrated me.

First, I hate, and I mean hate the fact that when multiple windows of an application are open, clicking on the program icon pops up the thumbnail previews instead of restoring the last active window. I’m such an OCD multi-tasker that I could not get used to having to decide which window it was that I was working with. I also hate that it now takes two clicks to restore a minimized window instead of one. The inability to change this is all the more insulting since you can just hover over an icon and see the thumbnails when you need them. So why must clicking on the icon also show the thumbnails if I don’t want it to?

The second issue is simple enough. If you middle click on an icon, it opens a new window of that program. But you can already open new instances by holding down shift and left clicking. I wanted to middle click on an icon and close all of its windows, similar to how Firefox closes tabs if you middle click on them.

Taskbar Overlord – an AutoHotkey Solution

So I’ve written a little AutoHotkey script that takes care of this problem. Clicking on an icon restores the last used window and middle clicking an icon closes all windows. I’ve dubbed this program Taskbar Overlord.

The road to paradise is filled with potholes

I’ll link to the download in just a moment, but first I need to explain some stuff. It turns out that I ran into a little trouble when I built this script, and it all has to do with how Windows protects certain programs that run with admin level privileges. In a nutshell, if you have a program that’s running with normal rights (such as an autohotkey script), Windows won’t let it interact with a program that’s running with admin level rights.

Why does this matter?

Well, if you don’t run anything with admin level rights, then this academic discussion doesn’t matter. However, lots of applications require admin rights. For example – regedit, the resource monitor, etc, etc. And what I quickly discovered was that Taskbar Overlord simply stops working when trying to interact with an admin level program. Kind of defeats the purpose.

Any program that’s an overlord needs admin level rights

The solution is to compile the AHK script as an .exe, and then launch it automatically when you log into Windows in such a way that you never get prompted to give it administrative rights. After all, it’s an overlord. It shouldn’t have to ask for your permission all the time.

The How-to-Geek has a great writeup on running a program with admin level rights automatically with the task scheduler when you log on to Windows. So if you run admin level programs, I recommend this.


Since publishing Taskbar Overlord, I’ve learned one more thing. When you launch tasks via the task scheduler, they run with a lower than normal priority. This means when things get busy on your computer, Taskbar Overlord doesn’t demand resources and is too willing to share.

It’s very easy to fix, if a little convoluted. A google search produced the following, which is the only way I’ve discovered to to elevated a task’s priority.

What I did to adjust the priorities was to export the task from Task Scheduler. Then edit the .xml file with notepad and change the value under priority to what you want. 7 (below normal) is the default for the task scheduler, 6, 5 ,or 4 are levels of normal (see link below). Then save as a different name and then import to Task scheduler. You will then need to delete the original task.

So just export the task by right clicking on it in the Task Scheduler, save it to the desktop, right click on the .xml desktop file and choose Edit or Open with, and open it in Notepad, find the line that says <Priority>7</Priority> and change the number to the value desired. Then import it back into the Task Scheduler. I set the priority to 1, which is just below the highest possible level, and now Taskbar Overlord works reliably, even when the machine is under load.

Download Taskbar Overlord

Anticipating that not everyone wants the same thing, I’ve provided several versions of the program to download.

By downloading, you agree to the legal notice at the end of this document.

What’s the Overlord’s Secret?

It aint exactly rocket science. For the left click, Taskbar Overlord simply sends a control click if you’re over the taskbar. If you’ve been following Windows 7, you may recall that control + left click on an icon will cycle through the windows of a given program. Works great.

And for middle clicking, well it’s only slightly more complicated. The program sends shift + right click, and then types ‘c’ (for close all windows).

Future Releases

If future releases or bug fixes are needed, the following feed will announce new releases. http://www.ocellated.com/tag/taskbar-overlord/feed/

Legal Notice

This code is released under the Creative Commons 3.0 Attribution Non-Commercial Share Alike license. You can share the code and you can change the code if wish, but the license must remain in effect and you must attribute the original source. You cannot use the work for any commercial purpose.

While the code here has been tested repeatedly under different scenarios and is believed to work properly, by using it you agree to hold its maker harmless from any damages. This code is released WITHOUT ANY WARRANTY; without even the implied warranty of MERCHANTABILITY or FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE.

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109 Responses to “Taskbar Overlord”

  1. i dont know why but the middle butt action dosent work for me – it brings me a right click menu :( any idea why? i must have something instaled to make this work?

  2. Hmmm. The middle click sends a “shift, right click, waits 100 milliseconds, and then sends the letter “c”. I suspect if you’re seeing the right click menu, then the script needs to pause longer to wait for the menu to appear before sending “c”.

    Do you have Autohotkey installed? My suggestion would be to download the script file above and try changing the line “Sleep, 100″ to something like “Sleep, 150″ or even a little higher. Remember that each time you edit the script, you’ll have to reload the .ahk file (Right click in the system tray and choose “reload script”.)

    If that fixes your problem and pause isn’t too long, I can update the files above to use a slightly longer pause.

  3. Pretty good idea, although after reviewing the source i find it a bit unreliable. It detects the clicks within the taskbar only based on the resolution offset which means if you move the taskbar and/or resize it, it will catch the clicks improperly. I think a better idea would be to send the keys only when the mouse is over Shell_TrayWnd ahk_class which is the taskbar class. Although the system tray icons are part of that “window” as well, it seems they act the same if clicked or control-clicked.

  4. Good points Devocalypse. It’s pretty easy to change the behavior if you have a smaller taskbar or put the taskbar in another location.

    I think I tried using Shell_TrayWnd ahk_class and I don’t remember why, but it seems like I kept rarely running into trouble where it wasn’t working, and that my approach using the screen position seemed more reliable.

    If you can do a workup using Shell_TrayWnd ahk_class and find it works well, regardless of the taskbar size and position, I’ll certainly consider releasing a new version with this method.

    I probably should have thought carefully about things like this. Taskbar Overlord started as a homegrown solution to just make Win7 work the way I wanted it to. I’ve been using it for some time and I finally decided that it was better to get the thing out of the door so that others could hopefully enjoy it.

  5. i know what is the problem ma language ver of windows doesnt use “c” key to close but “k” when its one window and “z” when its multiple. got any ideas how to make this work?

  6. @wdowek: are you sure that the letters are different depending on whether it’s one window or more than one window? Because in English, the letter “c” works for both cases.

    Another possibility, assuming that the option to close all windows is the last item on the menu. Send an up arrow and the enter key. Replace this in the script:

    Send, +{Click %x% %y% right} ;shift right click
    Sleep, 100
    Send, C ;send c which is Close All Windows

    with this:

    Send, +{Click %x% %y% right} ;shift right click
    Sleep, 100
    Send, {Up}{Enter} ;send up and enter, which closes all Windows

  7. […] Taskbar Overlord (via Lifehacker) is a Autohotkey script which can be directly downloaded from the developer’s website. […]

  8. Hi there,

    Nice script, works like a charm! However, I’m sure you’ll agree that it isn’t an optimal solution to have an extra executable running in the tray at all times, just for the functionality that this script offers. Is there any way this small program can be made to hook into the OS, so that the program doesn’t actually have to be “running” in order for these functions to be added?

    Many thanks!

  9. Minimal mentions:

    Great idea, doesn’t work with a vertical taskbar though. I guess Shell_TrayWnd ahk_class would work as mentioned above just not sure how to use it.

    Also for those that don’t want the tray icon just add the following to the script.


  10. If, like me, you keep your taskbar on the left. You can easily make this work by replacing “if yBottom <=40 ” with “if x <= 40″ in both hotkeys (also delete the now unnecessary yBottom:= lines).

    Devocalypse’s method should also work. But I’m too lazy to actually write the code.

    Thanks for the great script! This makes the win7 taskbar just about perfect!

  11. @Minimal, Scott is right. If your taskbar is on the left side of your screen, just use

    if x < = 40

    Also, if some are using the smaller taskbar size, you can set the code to use a value smaller than 40. (I don't know what the size is but you can measure it.)

    Also, I wouldn't use #NoTrayIcon, simply because there are times when you need to suspend the script. For example, if you want to drag icons around on the taskbar, you need to first suspend the script.

    @David: Yes, I would love to have this functionality in the core OS. I begged and badgered Microsoft and finally got some replies that it wasn't happening. Yes, it's possible that someone could write a more robust script in another programming language using the Windows API. I use AHK because it's extremely fast and straightforward. Also, check your memory usage. It's probably what, 1 or 2 Megabytes? It's a small price for a big usability improvement, at least in my humble opinion.

  12. Awesomecakes. Wish I was able to configurate this stuff without the use of third-party scripts. Thanks muchly for the option!

  13. […] | Taskbar Overlord Tags barra de tareas windows 7 caracteristicas windows 7 customizar windows 7 mejorar windows 7 […]

  14. FiddlerStix states:

    Doesn’t work for me … same behavior as before in my RC1 install

  15. Thanks. This little utility makes the W7 taskbar behave the way it should have. Kudos.

  16. […] Taskbar Overlord [Ocellated] Tagged:autohotkeymousewindow managementwindowswindows 7 […]

  17. This works great for me, save for one thing. I have gotten used to using the jump list by dragging upwards with the left mouse button on a taskbar icon. This script disables that because it acts on mouse down events rather than mouse release. I’m not familiar with AHK coding, so is there any way you can fix this?

  18. Alex Porter asserts:

    I love this extension–thank you very much! I’ll throw in one feature request: Let’s say I’m looking at Excel and I want to switch to another excel window. I’d love if clicking the icon popped up the thumbnail previews. Right now, left-clicking on the active application does nothing. This would speed things up so I don’t have ti wait for the preview icons to pop up. Thanks again!

  19. @FiddlerStix. You likely have your taskbar somewhere else than the bottom of the screen? Read the comments to see how to fix this in the script.

    @Rokko. I feel your pain and wish there was a good way to fix it. I think the problem is that if I tried to fire it on a mouse up, Windows will detect the mouse down and launch a jumplist. It defeats the script’s purpose. This is precisely why I wish Microsoft themselves would support this feature instead of having to resort to something like my AHK script. I will say that AHK is very easy to learn. (Just look at how short the Taskbar Overlord script is. It also has comments so that you can read what each part does.) If you’re interested, look at the tutorials at http://www.autohotkey.com/.

    @Alex Porter. I seem to vaguely remember having an issue one time switching between Excel windows. However, this was somewhat of fluke (if it even happened) because it’s working fine for me since and now. Left clicking toggles between the two windows, as it’s supposed to. Showing thumbnail previews on a left click is precisely what this script is designed to defeat. I want preview thumbnails when hovering over an icon. I want window switching when clicking.

  20. Rokko expresses:

    Thanks for the reply, Jay. I definitely agree that this should have been included. I’ve just been putting off learning AHK, but I’ll get around to it this summer. If I figure out a way to fix this problem, I’ll post it here. In the meantime, I’ll just get used to right clicking.

  21. anonymuos remarks:

    Minor feature request: Can you add a tweak to make right click on a button always and always show the context menu (without holding down Shift)?

  22. anonymuos yaks:

    Basically, I want to make the jump list appear only on mouse left click drag up and the regular context menu on right click.

  23. anonymous, no! :) I like right clicking to show the jump lists.

    However, the point of releasing it as open source is so that you can do this. Getting right click to show the context menu is trivial. Look at the code, copy the left click functionality, and change it for right click. Send a shift + right click and you’ll see the context menu.

    However, the left click and drag to get jumplists is going to be much tougher. See comments above.

  24. If you could make a version that removes the white cross lines in the taskbar, it would be very nice.
    I want to get of the white cross line you can see in the taskbar (Areo on) and on the background (when you use areo peek)
    I only want to remove the white cross line at the button (40 pixel high)
    I have a Vista like border add to the button of my wallpaper and with this, I can make my taskbar looking better.

  25. anonymuos replies:

    I meant right click to show context menu since left click and drag already also shows jump lists. :-) Anyways, I got it working. Now how do you intercept a double click (to do a double click for new instance)? What to put in place of “LButton::”?

  26. […] If you want variations of Taskbar Overlord (only the left-click effect, or only the middle-click effect), you can download them at the developer’s website here. […]

  27. gutzz explains:

    Did anyone notice that after using taskbar overlord dragging taskbar icon is not working properly?

    Is that any way to solve it?

  28. @gutzz. I’m aware of this limitation. The easiest thing to do is just right click on the AHK icon in the system tray (it’s a green square with an H) and choose “suspend hotkeys”. Then turn it back on when you’re done dragging icons on the taskbar. If I ever get a chance, I might make control + left clicking allow dragging icons around, but I just haven’t needed it very badly and when I do, I just suspend the program.

    @Luke7. Try something like WindowsBlinds. You’re request is way outside the purpose of an AutoHotkey script.

  29. Alex Porter pontificates:

    Thanks–I have since realized it’s just Excel that I have a problem. Every other program switches windows when I click…just not excel. Maybe MS will fix it in the upcoming version of office.

  30. […] pueden resultar útiles, pero no es perfecta. Para mejorar su comportamiento hemos encontrado un pequeño programa llamado Taskbar Overlord con funciones muy […]

  31. […] Download Taskbar Overlord Here […]

  32. […] Download Taskbar Overlord Here […]

  33. […] Go ahead and download your Taskbar Overlord. […]

  34. The left click is cool, but it doesn’t work all the time. Sometimes when I click IE8, it didn’t bring up the IE8, only the previews. Sometimes, not all the times though,

  35. […] Overload, developed by Jay, customizes the taskbar and it came out of his own requirement ( Via On10 )than for a general public overview. He states two problems which you can read here and […]

  36. was about to post something about about the new task bar with Windows 7 and spotted reference to your app… was excited as I imagine if may solve what i had in mind… apparently now.

    Wouldn’t it be great if someone can hack or do an app that allow the user to set the preview windows size. Similar to how Expose work but I felt the thumbnail implementation with Windows 7 is great leap forward with Vista but much of the space / width of the screen is wasted. Imagine you have two windows for IE or Word… wouldn’t it be great if when you mouse over the taskbar, the thumbnail preview of the two windows will stretch to the width of the monitor given you much detail view of the windows… without even to mouse over the thumbnail just to see the actual windows on the desktop…

    That would be so much more useful in my opinion. Can someone hack or look into this?

  37. @mc. First make certain you’re running the app as an administrator, as described in the post. I’ve also updated my post with a little information on making sure that the task scheduler runs the app with a higher priority. Running at a below normal priority could especially cause an intermittent failure if your computer gets busy.

    @Mike Cherng. AHK won’t do anything like this, and I don’t even know if there’s a way in Windows to modify the thumbnail size. There was a hack I saw for Vista, but I have no idea if this (or something like it) is possible in Windows 7.

  38. […] Taskbar Overlord (via Lifehacker) is a Autohotkey script which can be directly downloaded from the developer’s website. […]

  39. Paul R. retorts:

    YOU”RE THE MAN !!!!!

  40. Bug 1: makes click and drag IMPOSSIBLE for touch and pen input, and problematic for mouse input. One thing I can’t do with the mouse is click and drag up to an option on the start menu in one click.

    Bug 2: as has already been mentioned, upward flicking on an icon to get its Jump List is disabled. Annoying for me as a tablet PC user.

    Otherwise: You ARE the man! Here’s my take on the topic:

  41. jeproks points out:

    hi there nice program buy i found something that is unusual when i run the taskbar overlord it works fine but it disabled my fire gestures in firefox… is there a way for them to work well together… It’s the only thing that’s preventing me from using your program.. thanks if you could help,great program btw

  42. @Daghead. This program really isn’t intended for touch or pen input. While I agree that it would ideally not cause these problems, I’m afraid I can’t fix it. To try and make it work, I’d have to try to build in logic that could distinguish between an actual click vs a click and drag. While this might be possible, it’s very likely that the script would become even less reliable. My advice would be to use Taskbar Overlord with a mouse only. As for the start menu bug, this seems minor but if you really want to fix it, you could modify the code so that the ctrl + left click does not get sent if one is over the start menu. You’d have to look at the X coordinates of the screen to know if you’re over the start menu or not. (The code includes logic for looking at the Y coordinates already, so you should be able to look at this as an example.)

    @jeproks. I sent you an email with an attachment that might help.

  43. silenus declares:

    I tried this little app but I’m a little disappointed with my results.

    So it works opening the last window I had opened but the thing is that this works as if I have the control key pressed so If you try that with a mouse with a scroll middle button when trying to go up or down on ex: a music folder, it just resizes the album previews icons.

  44. john v/d bergh elucidates:


  45. doronb2 responds:

    Thanks for your script!
    My left mouse button works just fine but my middle click don’t. If I press middle click the regular jump menu is been shown, this is the menu that opens when you press right mouse button in the program bar (that with the minimize, maximize and close button).
    Any help??

  46. @doronb2. Is your language version of Windows non English? If so, see this earlier comment above for a way to fix this.

  47. doronb2 pronounces:

    OK thanks, sorry I missed this comment.
    How can I edit the script? notepad and writer is no good…

  48. doronb2 responds:

    I was able to edit the script by downloading the ahk file.
    How can I compile it?
    I need to install this first – http://www.autohotkey.com/download/ ?

  49. Yes doronb2. You install autohotkey. Then you right click on the .ahk file and choose compile script. That will give you an executable. It’s really very simple. And on the bright side, if you want to write a few of your own ahk scripts, you can run them without having to compile them with ahk installed.

  50. doronb2 observes:

    OK its working!
    Thanks A LOT for your help Jay!
    May the force be with you.

  51. Thx for this script. The two issues it fixes are exactly what had been annoying me in Windows 7.

    But I had to make a few changes to make the middle-click work on my system. Without the changes middle-click would either do nothing or do nothing and then disable the left mouse button.

    The changes:
    comment out the lines

    SendMode Input
    BlockInput On
    BlockInput Off

    I don’t know if there’s anything special about my system but for reference it’s a eee pc 901 with Windows 7 build 7100 and a Microsoft Bluetooth Notebook Mouse 5000.

  52. Darkstriker explains:

    Some of the dislikings you discribe about the new taskbar have been “fixed” in newer releases such as that only one click is required to maximize after minimizing. You might want to try one of the newer ones and update your article accordingly.

  53. @Darkstriker. Do you have any documentation for this claim? A link to a reputable source for example that mentions it? I would be somewhat surprised if Microsoft made a change at this late date nearing the final release. However, such a change would make me very happy indeed and be a big improvement.

  54. Jay, this is a very nice script. Like others, I found having such a small script always running a bit of overkill. However, I had a bunch of other window management scripts that I already needed running as admin, so I added your stuff to mine and made what I call “Windows Overlord”. Your additions make it all the more useful

    And to anyone who hasn’t already, get AutoHotkey! It is a must have for anyone who wants to be more productive on their computer. There are also tons of great scripts on their forums, if you want to learn. Or if you just want to get started being more productive. AHK is literally one of those utilities that Microsoft should purchase and include with every release of Windows.

  55. Hi
    A useful additional feature would be to be able to drag the icons around, so maybe if you hold down the ‘alt’ key or something whilst clicking the normal action happens? I kinda miss being able to move the icons around, almost tempted to download taskbar shuffle!

  56. Arion Roberto Krause touches upon:

    Hello! I loved your script to close taskbar windows on Windows 7. I really missed that function as I always used it with Taskbar Shuffle on Windows XP and Vista.

    I took a look at your code and made some interesting changes I’d like you to see. By the way, the code works like a charm on my Windows 7.


    CoordMode, Mouse, Screen
    MouseGetPos, , , , WindowUnderMouseCursor

    if (%WindowUnderMouseCursor% = MSTaskListWClass1)
    BlockInput, On

    Send, +{Click, %x%, %y%, Right} ; Shift right click
    Sleep, 100
    Send, F ; Close window or windows group

    WinWaitNotActive, ahk_class Shell_TrayWnd, , 0.5 ; Wait for save dialog, etc

    if ErrorLevel = 1
    Send, {Escape} ; Hide context menu if no program icon clicked

    BlockInput Off
    else ; Send normal middle click
    Send {MButton}

  57. Arion Roberto Krause observes:


    Theres is a little mistake on the following line:
    if (%WindowUnderMouseCursor% = MSTaskListWClass1)

    change it to:
    if WindowUnderMouseCursor = MSTaskListWClass1

    and it should work.

  58. […] Download Taskbar Overlord ] var linkwithin_site_id = 32513; (function () { var elem = document.createElement(‘script’); […]

  59. FuturePerfect retorts:

    Jay: Thanks for a great contribution to Windows 7 taskbar operation!

    Not being a programmer at all, I am hoping you can offer some ideas to solve a companion problem I see with the Windows 7 taskbar.

    With a 1st click on a taskbar icon, your automation (using control click) provides an immediate display of the last window accessed. Good!

    But it does NOT allow for a [normal] 2nd click of this icon, which will minimize that window. (A 2nd click on any other icon with only 1 window, minimizes it).

    However, Windows 7 also does this if you depress Windows key + down arrow!

    My OCD lingers since Taskbar Overlord doesn’t do this, but can this be fixed?

    I guess the script would somehow have to remember if a particular icon had already been clicked a 1st time (triggering a control click) and then note that when you click it a 2nd time it minimizes (triggering a Windows + down).

    Can Autohotkey do this? Do you have any other ideas? Thanks for comments.

  60. Fantastic!!! Thank you!!!

  61. Hi,
    I’ve made a little change to the script to allow you to move programs, quick launch and system tray icons around. It requires a bit of mouse accuracy, but it’s quicker than suspending, moving, then resuming the script for me.

    Basically it lets you to use the top 8 pixels of the taskbar as normal, and the area below this will have the Taskbar Overlord behaviour. I’ve also added in a horizontal check so you can use the system tray and quick launch (I still have a use for it) as normal too.

    I went with 8 pixels at the top since I usually click on the middle/bottom of the taskbar when changing windows and 8 is small enough to not conflict with this, but large enough to be able to click. I’m using the small icon taskbar so this value could be raised for default icon users.

    The code below uses the ‘large’ taskbar icons (default), has a start button + quick launch of 150 pixels wide, a system tray of 300 pixels wide and a screen resolution of 1680×1050. 300 pixels is quite large for the system tray but I’m never going to have enough windows open to reach it (thanks to VirtuaWin). Adjust the dimensions as required, and remove the quick launch check if you don’t use it.

    This code starts after the ‘yBottom := A_ScreenHeight – y’ in the LButton section and replaces the if block (not the else part).
    ;Send a control left click if clicking on a taskbar item
    ;40 = large icon taskbar height
    ;32 = large icon taskbar height, click on top to move programs around
    ;30 = small icon taskbar height
    ;22 = small icon taskbar height, click on top to move programs around
    if (yBottom 150 ; 150px for quicklaunch
    and x < 1380 ; 300px of System Tray (1680 - 300)
    Send ^{Click %x% %y%}
    ;Else, send normal left click

    Then as normal for the rest. Nothing was changed inside the if block, just there for a reference point.

    Hopefully this helps someone out (compiling the script is dead easy, so don’t be scared away by that).

  62. Well that code section got destroyed…

    if (yBottom 150 ; 150px for quicklaunch
    and x < 1380 ; 300px of System Tray (1680 – 300)

  63. …and that one… it should read:

    if yBottom is less than or equal to 32
    x is greater than 150
    x is less than 1380 (1680 – 300)

    if (yBottom 150 ; 150px for quicklaunch

    and x < 1380 ; 300px of System Tray (1680 – 300)

  64. […] vienintelį dalyką, kaip būtų galima apeiti viduriniojo mygtuko lygą ant Windows 7 – tai Taskbar Overlord. Tiesa, tas daiktas veikia tiesiog macro principu (parašytu AutoHotkey pagalba) – kas nėra […]

  65. […] kaip būtų galima apeiti vidurinio mygtuko standartinę elgseną ant Windows 7 – tai Taskbar Overlord. Šis dalykas veikia macro principu (parašytu AutoHotkey pagalba) – kas nėra nei patikimą, […]

  66. @FuturePerfect. TaskBar Overlord shouldn’t interfer with minimizing a window with a 2nd click on an icon that only has one window. If you’re having that problem, it might be due to an odd program? Excel for example is notorious for being an @$$, since it doesn’t implement multiple windows as true multiple windows.

    Sorry for the slow response.

  67. Thanks for this great script, I was looking for something just like this. I had to apply the {Up}{Enter} fix which was mentioned above too, but not really a problem. However, I have one concern. When a program is not started, the {Up}{Enter} key combo makes it go to properties of the program, instead of starting it like win7 normally does. Any idea how to figure out if the icon below is a running program or just a shortcut?

  68. Salvation!

    I like Win7 but i missed the MiddleMouse-Click to close extremely.
    Kudos to all who participated in this solution!

  69. @Chris, two solutions come to mind. One, don’t middle click on a program icon that’s not running. Two, figure out which key will close all your windows if the “c” isn’t working. I think this is usually a language difference. If you don’t run an English version of windows, then C doesn’t work. But perhaps there’s another cause. There’s not really a good way in autohotkey to determine if the program icon you’ve clicked upon is running or not.

  70. […] Pokud si chcete ušetřit i tuhle činnost navíc (klikání na Ctrl), můžete si nahrát Taskbar Overlord, který právě tuto činnost skriptuje a vám pak stačí už jen klikat levým […]

  71. the left-click only version download is not functioning at the moment!


  72. No tax, they’re working just fine. If you tried to download any of the files directly from another site, then it would be blocked since hotlinking isn’t very polite.

  73. Hello. One question, have you updated the scripts with the changes suggested in the comments? (Just to know whether I should try to do it myself or download again the scripts…).

    Thanks to all!

  74. @menem. No, the scripts seem to work well for most people, including me. If you need any of the suggestions that have been made in the comments, you would need to add them to the script.

  75. […] I relied on Taskix for providing this feature. In 7, there’s no feature. I discovered that someone had created an AutoHotKey script that provides this feature in 7 I had to make modifications to it […]

  76. Is there any way to tell Microsoft that I really really want this feature to be added to Windows 7 in some future update? I can see why they don’t want it to be the default behavior, but there ought to be some option somewhere for power users that swaps the Click and CTRL+Click behavior. It’s such a huge improvement that I can’t believe they didn’t do it already. It doesn’t even have to be in the UI; just make it a registry hack or something, I don’t care.

  77. @Kaji. I’m with you 100%. I screamed at them (ok, I asked nicely at first) repeatedly throughout the beta and release candidate releases, only to be ignored. To me, they’ve truly taken an otherwise perfect taskbar and crippled it for users that heavily multi-task.

  78. […] Taskbar Overlordにて、同じくAHKで対応。 […]

  79. […] in June we highlighted a small utility called Taskbar Overlord that does some solid Windows 7 taskbar tweaking, but it’s a one-way street with Taskbar […]


  81. @MG. No. Though thanks for screaming in all caps.

  82. I thank you for this amazing little utility, this should DEFINITELY be an option in the taskbar settings by default. My workflow is flowing again!

  83. Stjaernan elucidates:

    I have been trying to download “Taskbar Overlord Executable – Left Click Only.” a numerous times now, always end up with “Hotlinking Is Not Cool” :( Please re-upload it in someway :)

  84. @Stjaernan. The link works just fine. The only time you should get that message is if trying to download the .exe from another site that links directly to the file (instead of linking to this page). The only other weird thing I can think of would be if you had some sort of browser plugin or other software that changed what are known as HTTP referrers in some way so that it looks like your traffic is coming directly from another site to the .exe file.

  85. Stjaernan declares:

    @Jay. Must be google chrome that caused the hotlinking message, used IE (for the first time in 5 years) and it downloaded with success :)

    Thank you for creating this awesome hotkeyscript, been using it since the day I moved on to win 7, reinstalled yesterday and this day has been a pita due to this missing :D

  86. I just want to say congrats you!

    I added a #Notrayicon in the left click script and now its gorgeous…

    Still learning about de UAC and priority issues in windows 7, but well, until now your script is working perfectly.

    Thanks a lot

  87. Is there any way to automatically suspend the hotkeys during fullscreen applications like games?

  88. Hi Will. Not really. About the best thing you could do is write a custom little function in AutoHotkey that would launch your game and at the same time turn off (or suspend) Taskbar Overlord. You’re best bet for figuring this out is the documentation and forums at autohotkey.com.


  90. The program runs in the system tray and the icon looks like a little H.

  91. If anyone has a busy task bar, switch off grouping and aero preview – alt+tab performance and experience is improved
    But I have found another set back when the taskbar reaches capacity for tasks to be shown in one tasbar line, it stacks them. In XP this was great because you could see them all. But with 7 a scroll bar shows up and you have to use it to see the second stack. Try to increase the width of the taskbar does not remedy this. It just simply makes the scroll bar wider.
    Does anyone know of a way to remedy this situation so we can see all open windows and not just those that fit in one stack of the task bar?

  92. Cubano interjects:

    Hi there,

    somehow, if I keep Alt key pressed, I can move the icons in the taskbar…

    Is this normal? If it is, why is everybody complaing the icons cant be moved?


  93. to delbydev:

    enlarge the size of the task bar (unlock it and double its size). You will see everything without needing to scroll.
    I know its quite not the bes solution, but you will see all the running programs once…

    One thing that bugs me its, because of my display resolution, my taskbar is very small, and I dont want to double it, i just want to make it bigger (but still single lined), icons largers and stuff, but well, without changing the size of everything in windows through resosultion options, there is no way to do this

    No customization sux…

  94. Robert Walker yaks:

    Great utility!!

    PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE… can you write a utility to replace the Windows 7 RIGHT MOUSE CLICK (on task bar running program icons) with SHIFT+RIGHT MOUSE CLICK (which gives the older and far more useful Windows XP style context menu popup). The new Windows 7 popup is really useless and (as others have commented) it is also in the wrong position – i.e. some distance above where you actually clicked!!

    Thanks a million!!

  95. Sorry. I like the right click just fine. You’re free to modify the script yourself though. It’s really not terribly hard if you read the Autohotkey documentation.

  96. Robert Walker comments:

    Here’s the extra bit of script if anyone else finds the Windows 7 right click menus a bit useless (in the taskbar area) – just changes them to a shift-right click:

    ;Handle right clicks on Windows 7 Taskbar to popup Windows XP style context menus

    CoordMode, Mouse, Screen
    MouseGetPos, x, y, WinUnderMouseID
    ;WinActivate, ahk_id %WinUnderMouseID%

    ;Get y position relative to the bottom of the screen.
    yBottom := A_ScreenHeight – y

    ; Select context menu for taskbar program on right click, if click on a taskbar icon
    if yBottom <= 40
    Send, +{Click %x% %y% right} ;shift right click
    ; else send normal right click
    } else {
    ;If right button is physically down
    If GetKeyState("RButton") { ;The Right button is physically down
    MouseClick, Right,,,0,D ;Right button down
    KeyWait, RButton ;to allow dragging
    MouseClick, Right,,,,0,U ;release Right button up
    } Else {
    MouseClick, Right,,


  97. in XP and Vista, there was a checkmark to enable or disable the taskbar always on top option (useful if you choose to autohide your taskbar when not in use) but it looks like Windows 7 has the “always on top” as default and there’s no option to disable it.
    If someone knows a way to disable the always on top, I will really appreciate it.

  98. Howard responds:

    I have two problems with Taskbar Overlord.

    1. I work under restricted account. I have problems with applications run in administration mode – I cannot bring them to front by clicking on the form of the application, I can only use ALT+TAB or click on the button in the taskbar.

    2. Sometimes my keyboard behave as CTRL key would be pressed still. I must physically press CTRL key a few times to stop this. I don’t know what causes it, but it happen average five times in one hour. It makes me very angry.

    OS: Windows 7 x64

  99. Hi Howard,

    My suggestions are:

    1) Take anger management classes. :)
    2) Run in admin mode as suggested above, and launch the program with the task scheduler so that it runs at a high priority.
    3) You might try a program called 7 Taskbar Tweaker (just search for it) which can handle the left click functionality but not the middle click functionality of Taskbar Overlord.

  100. Howard verbalizes:

    Thank you, I just found better solution, I no more need autohotkey for this matter.


  101. desiree observes:

    yo tnia esa barra cn las ventanas en miniaturaen windiws 7 y se me a kitado
    komo la puedo volver a poner ?


  102. […] que pueden resultar útiles, pero no es perfecta. Para mejorar su comportamiento hemos encontrado un pequeño programa llamado Taskbar Overlord con funciones muy […]

  103. John verbalizes:

    Hey Jay,

    I see not many people have commented in a while, but that’s ok. So I started using this back in 2009 when it got posted on Lifehacker. I downloaded and worked it into my own autohotkey main script, so thanks for that. My only problems with it were that one, the brute force approximation of the location of the taskbar could in rare instances be problematic, and two, like Howard it was messing with what seemed to be control click functionality on occasion.

    As far as the taskbar finding goes, as soon as the application starts I find the Window ID of the taskbar. Then, everytime I click the left button, I use

    “MouseGetPos, , , id, control”

    to save the id of the window under the mouse as “id”. I then compare the id to that of the taskbar. If they match, then I send the control click.

    For the second issue, in your source code, the second half of your code is meant to return left click and drag functionality to the left click when it is not over the taskbar, correct? The simple way to do this to specify “~LButton” as the hotkey rather than just “LButton”. This allows the hotkey to work, without getting rid of the original functionality of the key.

    So, my code just looks like this: (I didn’t include the part where I get the taskbar id, but it’s similar)

    MouseGetPos, , , id, control
    if (id = task)
    Send ^{Click}

  104. Hey, didn’t read the whole thing exactly, but do you know about the “Never combine” option? Right click on the taskbar and select “Properties”


    The screenshot shows the dialog box you need and my taskbar in its uncombined glory

  105. @berban: Except that a lot of people like the taskbar icons combined. I know I do.

  106. Taskbar Overlord changed the color and look of my taskbar to a blueish grey. How do I uninstall it?

  107. @Ken: I can assure you that it did not. There’s no possible way it changed the appearance of anything on your Taskbar. To change the color, you right click on the desktop, choose Personalize, and choose Window Color.

  108. What happened to “Left Click Only”? I do not want the one that does both because my clumsy fingers sometimes accidentally middle click and I don’t want to accidentally close everything I have open. Did you take away that file?

  109. tfouto expresses:


    Doesn’t work with Windows 8. Is it possible to make it work to windows 8?

This entry was posted on Thursday, June 4th, 2009 at 7:04 pm and is filed under Technology. You can follow any comments to this entry through this RSS feed. Both comments and pings are currently closed.