One of my favorite features in Windows 7 has to be the redesigned Taskbar. The entire user experience is so smooth, and I think they really went down the right path with it. At work I’m stuck on XP, and I went looking for a way that I could get a lot of the same functionality as what Windows 7 offers.

That’s when I came across the free ViGlance. It’s a rather lightweight app (uses about 10MB of memory when running) that simulates the Windows 7 Taskbar. What I like is that it doesn’t replace the entire Taskbar in XP. Instead it replaces just the portion where the Taskbar buttons normally reside, and leaves the System Tray, Quick Launch, and other native sections untouched.

Here are some of the features:

  • Pin your favorite applications so that they serve as a shortcut when they aren’t running.
  • Hovering or clicking on an icon with multiple instances running will show thumbnails of each window, and you can then select the one you want. If just one instance of the app is running when you click on the icon it will instead minimize/restore the window depending on the window’s current state.
  • Drag and drop the icons in the order you want them to appear.

I expected this app to be nice, but I figured after using it for a week that I would have kicked it to the curb because of annoyances I would find. Surprisingly the features that are implemented are done pretty well. For example, I was wondering what would happen when someone sent me an instant message… how would ViGlance alert me? In a case like that the icon lights up orange as you can see in the screenshot above.

If you do decide to use this there’s just one thing that I want to give you a heads up about. When I first started using it none of the icons would show up, and I was rather perplexed. After some searching around I was finally able to fix the problem by switching my computer from 16-bit color quality to 32-bit in my display properties. I’m not sure why this prevents the icons from displaying, but it does. Aside from that I’d say it’s becoming a solid app, and a great solution for anyone who’s stuck using XP.

ViGlance Homepage (Windows XP only; Freeware)

There Are 27 Comments

  1. Hi Ryan,
    I tried it and it looks preety nive, but I hit 2 very annoying things

    1) The icons are too small when the taskbar size is 2 (as in win7). (for some reason are not happening in you screenshot.)
    2) The left side Orb is quite far away from the Superbar first icon. It seems the width is the same as the WinXP start button but it show the orb instead.

    My Screen resolution is 1280×1024 and I’m using 32-bit color.

    Any solution with this issue?

    • As far as the question of the distance between the start button and first icon, u can reduce the distance by changing the name of the start to only single alphabet like ‘s’ or something else u like.
      u can do this with the help of “resource hacker” software. There are many tutorials available on how to change the name of start button”.

  2. To keep memory usage low it probably doesn’t ship with 16-bit icons. Even when icons aren’t being used they are still loaded into memory.

  3. More “eye candy” to consume CPU cycles and waste valuable screen space by increasing the size of the taskbar. Instead of sticking with an effective interface that works well (which we have in XP), OS designers are always changing it (e.g. the “ribbon” in Word). The reason they do that is to pander to the human thirst for novelty in order to increase sales. The same thing has been going on since time immemorial. We see it in clothing styles, laundry detergents, breakfast cereals, etc. To make money they have to keep selling. There is no need for someone replace that which works, so they have to stimulate new sales by changing the product, then creating the impression that the changed product is “New!” and therefore “better.”

    XP is not perfect, but it is quite good overall and it works well without much fuss. Improving capabilities of the OS is good and necessary as new technology develops, but constantly changing the interface is counterproductive. Experienced users suddenly find that ways they have been doing things for years no longer work. Often interface elements have been relocated or, in some cases, are no longer even available. They are forced to learn new ways of doing things, which, in many cases, are no better than the “old” ways, just different for the sake of being different. In some cases the new ways are more cumbersome and awkward as designers continue to “dumb down” the interface in an attempt to appeal to people of ever-lower levels of understanding and expertise. If the OS designers must play this game of ever-changing interfaces with new versions, they should include the option to stick with the “old-style” interface for those who wish to do so. (Giving users the option to run “XP” in a virtual machine on Windows 7 is not satisfactory.)

  4. Damn, i installed 7 this past couple weeks and found the taskbar the most annoying thing ever. I already managed to insert quick launch again and the classic start menu. But don’t like the new behaving method. Pinning programs is not for me …

    In general i have to click more and more with this new taskbar when they say it takes less clicks. Also managed to crash 7 twice already … but file hdd handling is much much better than vista. Also windows explorer is much more unproductive than xp and somehow vista … and i already tweaked it a lot …

    But have to adapt …

    • You can change the taskbar in Windows 7 to behave just like it behaves in Windows from version 95 to Vista.

      You can disable the window grouping function, and you can use small icons on the taskbar.

  5. MacroMR you don’t have to adapt.. just say fuck you MS I don’t want your noobshit.

    XP still reigns king with all the extensibility for it. Nothing shitty 7 adds to the OS is all that good, even stuff like the bloated shite taskbar is good, as you and others have already said, its just a waste of workflow time as you spent more time clicking, that and can’t even visually see text informartion of running processes. Not to mention the extra %cpu for media files like videos. Very little control over what gets processed with the Aero functionality enabled.. its either On(crap transparent shite UI and flashy crap) or Off( super shite style, with even less polish and crap UI layouts)

    Majority of what MS has done with Vista is just shit, noobshit. Like that even more crap Explorer for example.. only fucking idiot could have made such stupid changes that has gone through, its WORSE than the XP version, and add insult to injury those fecking idiots broke the few good shell extensions that did improve the Explorer. Vis7a Explorer = asinine noob shite.

    • With thinking like that, we’d all still be runnning Windows 3.1. I happen to think the W7 taskbar improvements are terrific, and so do a lot of other people. It actually does save me time and workflow. I guess that makes me a “noob”, huh? Stupid too, right?

  6. Stumbled across your post while searching for “how to remove the XP taskbar.” Installed RocketDock + the Stack Docklet this evening, and spent some quality time stuffing 160 desktop icons into 8 pop-up stacks. Now down to 3 desktop icons, and XP looks almost as cool as my Macbook. :) Decided way back not to use Vista, and am trying to figure out why I might want to move to 7. No good reasons have come to mind so far. Now just need to figure out how to get rid of that last little blue remnant of the “auto hidden” taskbar. Rock on.

  7. I have been an xp hold out forever.. played with vista for about a week before it was thrown into the NEVER TO BE LOOKED AT AGAIN box of junk software. Last week I decided to try Windows 7 setup as a dual boot with xp… VERY BIG SURPRISE.. I am starting to really like it. After a week, I have gone from spending 15 minutes on 7 then rebooting to xp, to only booting xp when I really need to. The functionality of the new task bar is impressive, and it is easy enough to find your way past the pretty stuff to the nuts and bolts.
    Never thought I would hear myself say this, but when I boot to xp now, it feels very clunky by comparison. A bit like going from xp back to 95.

  8. Working quite nice. If you get low resolution icons in the taskbar, then do this: right-click on desktop > Personalize > Window colour and appearance > classic view properties (the link in the bottom) > advanced. Then from the drop-down choose icon and set size to 32 and click OK. The icons will look nice after a restart.

    There are some problems I found with this.
    1) It doesn’t work with Windows Live Photo Gallery.
    2) How do I pin an application that does not open any windows? :D For example some kind of a sys tray app.
    3) The sys tray icon of this program itself does not allow to be hidden from the “Customize notifications” option of Windows Taskbar.

    • Also it only works if your user has admin rights. If you want to use this on user with normal rights, then you need to copy the program’s files from the “Program files” folder to a folder that belongs to the user. Afther that you can uninstall the program and launch it from where you copied the files. Then it will work on a user with no admin rights.

  9. i love it wowwwwwwwwwww

  10. give me a download please… I want it because it’s so nice..

  11. i already use viglance but how did you get it blue mines black and when i open my computer it uses the old xp icon yours doesn’t, that is not viglance in the picture thats windows 7

  12. I would like to be able to download the titles to songs and names in Russian as I was able to do so in XP. I could even print them as graphics.
    Win-7 converted all of my indexes to ??? ????? and will not let me print any either. I notice that it does just fine with the Chinese and Japanese in my Spam mail.

  13. It no longer works and leesoft has abandoned the program.

    • hi.. i just want to ask how would i return my windows xp taskbar to its default setting? the “icon and title” taskbar ..

  14. wheres the download button

  15. where is the download button

  16. i want to download window 7 taskbar 2012

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