If you’re like me and work on a variety of tools, editors and software simultaneously then you probably have a hard time keeping all the applications together in the taskbar while simultaneously not compromising productivity and privacy.

Let’s look at how we can improve this using a simple registry tweak.

Windows provides 3 options for combining applications together in the taskbar:

  1. Always combine, hide labels
  2. Combine when taskbar is full
  3. Never combine

I usually have the 3rd option selected because it provides me a great deal of productivity while still able to manage a number of open applications.

But this option is not so great from the privacy point of view as it doesn’t hide the names of the opened applications.

The problem with 1st option is that, it takes more number of clicks to switch from one window to another if you have more than 1 window from the same application opened. First you have to click on the application in the taskbar and then on the corresponding window which in my opinion is just a waste of time.

Recently while I was playing around with the windows registry I had an idea which combines the 2nd and 3rd options. The idea is to select the 3rd option while decreasing the width of the buttons all the way down to the minimum. This results in better privacy while still not decreasing its usefulness.

  1. Click on Start
  2. Type regedit and open the Registry Editor
  3. Browse to the following key

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop\WindowMetrics

  1. On the right side, double click on the key named MinWidth.
  2. Enter the value 54 to reduce the taskbar button size to an appropriate width.
  3. Log off & log back in to see the changes.


After applying this tweak, the taskbar will look something like this.

Taskbar after the registry tweak

Taskbar after the registry tweak

And this registry hack works best with the built-in boss key of the windows as mentioned in this article.