I have a few personal favorites when it comes to some of the freeware that we have uncovered here on this site. The two freeware applications that I use the most are undoubtedly FastStone Capture and PhraseExpress, which both offer an amazing set of features and cost nothing! The latest piece of software that I came across this time is called TaskbarEx and it may very well be one of the most useful tools that I have on my PC.
Now I would point you to the homepage of TaskbarEx, but there is a slight problem…it’s not there anymore. Not only that but it also appears that the site is in Japanese so it wouldn’t do much good to anyone who isn’t fluent in reading Japanese.
So what is this application all about? It actually serves several different purposes and the first one that I would like to mention is pictured to the right. I have my Windows Taskbar lined up along the right-side of my monitor so the orientation might look a little weird, but as you can see it will show you a thumbnail preview of the window as you hover over it. Sometimes it doesn’t have a preview available and I haven’t quite figured out when it does/doesn’t, but don’t worry because that is not what you’re supposed to be in awe at.
The main feature that I would like to point out is having the ability to drag items off of your Taskbar onto your Desktop. That’s right, you can easily reduce the clutter of having a huge list of open Windows by putting some of them in other locations on the screen:
As you can see in the screenshot I can take all of my most commonly used programs and place them towards the top of the screen. It then serves as a little button and when you click it that particular window will pop-up. Now how great is that? There are several different options that you’ll receive when right-clicking including the ability to send the button back into the Taskbar where it came from (that’s what the “Return” command does):
There are two other things that I want to point out in that screenshot. First, the “Topmost” option is just a weird way of saying “Always on Top.” That means the button will always appear on top of any other windows that are open. The second thing that is important to notice is that this is a button, so you have to be able to click on it to switch to that window. If, however, you want to reposition it just left-click and drag the icon (circled in the picture) and you will be able to reposition the button.
Skins…these seem to be far and few in between so you’ll have to be grateful for what it comes with. There is a Windows 98 theme which is what’s used in all of the pictures above, but then there is also a Windows XP theme that might be a little more attractive for XP users:
There aren’t a lot of things that you can customize, but enough to satisfy most power users. You can adjust the transparency and customize the Taskbar thumbnail preview a little, but unfortunately you cannot adjust the size of the buttons:
I hope by this point you see as much as I do how valuable this can be. Now there is one thing that I have failed to mention at this point…how do you get this program? Luckily, I was given the ZIP file from a friend and it contains everything that you need to use the program which is great since you can’t download it from the website anymore. Actually, you don’t even have to install it…just download the ZIP file, extra the contents, and run the EXE located inside the folder. That download link points to a copy that we uploaded since it seems to be nearly impossible to find it anywhere else.
Download TaskbarEx (via our mirror since their site no longer exists)