Sometimes I’ll be at the home or business of a client, checking out a problem on their Windows computer, and I’ll notice that their taskbar is positioned on the top edge of the screen, or on the left or right side. Since the taskbar is normally on the bottom edge of the screen, I have sort of gotten into the habit of mentioning it.
“Hmmm – I see your taskbar is stuck to the right edge of the screen – is that where you like to keep it?”
Maybe 1 time out of 20, the client will say, “Yes, I have always preferred to have it over there.” The other 95% of the time, the response is more like, “No, I don’t really like it there, but somehow it ended up there a while ago and I never was able to figure out how to move it back to the bottom.”
That’s something that can happen by accident pretty easily when the taskbar is not locked into position.
What is the taskbar?
The taskbar is basically made up of 4 components:
- The Start button (it hasn’t had the word “Start” on it since Windows XP, but everyone still knows it’s the Start button).
- Programs that are “pinned” to the taskbar. This just means you can always see them and open them up with a single click on that icon.
- Windows of programs that are currently running. So if Word is running, you’ll see the big “W” in the taskbar (even if the Word window itself is minimized at the time).
- The System Tray – this is the group of little icons in the lower right corner.
It’s easy to check to see if your taskbar is locked or not. Just find an empty space in the task bar and do a right click. In the new menu that pops up, “Lock the Taskbar” will either be checked or unchecked.
You can click to unlock it, then take your mouse and drag the taskbar to some other edge of the screen – you’ll see how easy it is to do. That’s usually how it ends up somewhere other than the bottom edge – just in the course of using the computer, the user just inadvertently drags it somewhere without really intending to do so. Since they don’t know how they got it there, they also don’t know how to get it back.
Fortunately, moving it back to the bottom (if that’s where you want it) is just the same process. Unlock the taskbar, drag it to the bottom of the screen, then lock it again so it doesn’t get accidentally moved.
There another way to move the taskbar, if you prefer:
Right-click on the Start button and choose Properties. In the Taskbar tab, find “Taskbar location on screen” and choose from the options in the drop down menu. Then just click Apply. You can actually perform that procedure even if the taskbar happens to be locked at the time.