Taskbar Overlord Hilarity

Posted Jun 9th, 2009 at 9:30 am in Technology | 3 Comments

Since Taskbar Overlord, the small program I wrote to improve the Windows 7 taskbar has been linked to by LifeHacker, I’ve seen quite a bit of traffic to download the program.

A number of websites and forums on the internets have linked to the Taskbar Overlord post, and while some links are legitimate, many websites use an automated technology like an RSS feed to copy LifeHacker’s post verbatim. This is basically content theft, done in an attempt to increase their pagerank in search engines. People like this are disgusting parasites.

So when I’ve seen a link coming in, I’ve been checking them to see if they were real articles written by someone or stolen content. If the latter, they get deleted.

With this context in mind, another site linked to the Taskbar Overlord post this morning. Seeing that the page was in a different language, I was expecting the worst. It was however legitimate, and though I can’t read it, turned out to be one of the funniest things I’ve seen in a while.

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Taskbar Overlord

Posted Jun 4th, 2009 at 7:04 pm in Technology | 109 Comments

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.

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