Linked by Thom Holwerda on Thu 25th Sep 2008 17:57 UTC
Windows Back when Microsoft's Julie Larson-Green demonstrated Windows 7's multitouch framework during the All Things Digital conference, many noted the different taskbar that she was using on the demo machine. When Walt Mossberg asked her about it, she smiled and replied "It's something we're working on for Windows 7 and I'm not supposed to talk about right now, today..." Personally, I was quite intrigued by this revamped taskbar, seeing how static and old the current one already is (Windows 95, people). Microsoft has remained mum on the issue ever since, but last Tuesday, the silence was broken when Microsoft's Chaitanya Sareen posted a detailed entry on the taskbar on the Engineering Windows 7 blog.
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Speculation
by shadow_x99 on Thu 25th Sep 2008 18:29 UTC
shadow_x99
Member since:
2006-05-12

Windows 7 will allow you to re-arrange taskbar entries, that much is clear. Spanning the taskbar across multiple monitors shouldn't be too hard either, and I can even envision a system where each monitor gets its own taskbar

That's complete speculation. If you read the Blog Post carefully, it doesn't tell you they plan to do... They only tell you what kind of feedback they received so far.

Will they act on that feedback? only time will tell.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Speculation
by google_ninja on Thu 25th Sep 2008 19:14 UTC in reply to "Speculation"
google_ninja Member since:
2006-02-05

A) The blog is info on how the windows team works, not specifics. The team was very open with vista, and got alot of expectations raised when they talked about directions they were going, or features they are working on. They have learned from that mistake, and have gone more "opaque".

B) The blog post was very high level about how they are thinking about the taskbar, what usage data they have accumulated, and what user feature requests are most popular. On top of that bulleted list, there is this paragraph

Here's a small sample of some things we'€™ve learned from our data, heard from our customers and what we'€™ve observed ourselves. One of favorite ways of gaining verbatim comments in a lab setting where we can validate the instrumented data but also gain in-depth context via interviews and questionnaires. In engineering Windows 7 we have hundreds of hours of studies like these. Please remember this is just a glimpse of some feedback €”this is not an exhaustive list nor it is implied that we will, or should, act upon all of these concepts.


You don't need to read between the lines, they explicitly say that it is just user requests that they are listing, not a feature list for windows 7.

Edited 2008-09-25 19:15 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE: Speculation
by eggs on Thu 25th Sep 2008 20:23 UTC in reply to "Speculation"
eggs Member since:
2006-01-23

There is a free utility for Windows XP (dunno about Vista) called Taskbar Shuffle that allows you to rearrange your taskbar items. It is very cool.

EDIT:
http://www.freewebs.com/nerdcave/taskbarshuffle.htm

Says it works with vista too.

Edited 2008-09-25 20:24 UTC

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Speculation
by gustl on Tue 30th Sep 2008 18:23 UTC in reply to "RE: Speculation"
gustl Member since:
2006-01-19

The problem with addons is, that most of the time they work badly.

Take for example virtual desktops.
Practically every Unix and Linux desktop nowadays has it, and it is very useful if you are part of the "has more than 9 applications open" crowd. People who don't need them can switch them off (reduce the number of virtual desktops to one).

There are several applications which try to mimic this behavior under Windows, but all of them ultimately get in trouble with the MS Office MDI philosophy. All open MS Office Documents of one kind can only be on one virtual desktop.

Which is completely killing the concept of virtual desktops. They are needed whenever I have one "USA", one "France" and one "UK" Project, for each Project I open one Spreadsheet, one Word Document and one Presentation, and 5 other Programs.
Gives me a total of 24 open Windows, 8 for each Desktop. I can make a fast and easy switch from one project to the next one in case a colleage busts in and urgently needs to know something, and don't have to search through 24 Windows, which are NOT groupable by project.

So for me THE killer feature of any new taskbar would be virtual desktops.

Making the system tray less noisy (and less spac-wasting) would also be a good idea.

Reply Score: 2

multiple displays, multiple taskbars...
by hobgoblin on Thu 25th Sep 2008 18:40 UTC
hobgoblin
Member since:
2005-07-06

(or maybe it should be named windowbar?)

the first idea/problem there would be, what if one could hook up multiple displays and inputs to a single machine, and have each set control a separate user session?

hell, the same user could run as a common user in one session and admin in another, so no need for role escalation (or whatever its called).

but the problem, for microsoft, with a setup like this is that of licenses. if a home user license can do what one need expensive multi user licenses for in the office they may implode their own market.

iirc, that was what killed of the "partner" to the tabletpc, the "smartdisplay" (a wince tablet with the ability to access the windows desktop by wifi).

Reply Score: 2

Bad lesson
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Thu 25th Sep 2008 18:58 UTC
Bill Shooter of Bul
Member since:
2006-07-14

The data on the non usage of the media player toolbar, is cited by microsoft as evidence that they've done some thing wrong int he presentation of the feature. I think a more likely cause, borne out of the data they've collected is that most people don't want it.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Bad lesson
by CPUGuy on Thu 25th Sep 2008 21:37 UTC in reply to "Bad lesson"
CPUGuy Member since:
2005-07-06

People don't want it because the taskbar is already filled up with other stuff and it just doesn't scale well. I would gander to say that quite a few people would love to have their media player at their fingertips like that, just not at the cost of making their application buttons that much smaller.

Reply Score: 3

RE[2]: Bad lesson
by WorknMan on Fri 26th Sep 2008 16:15 UTC in reply to "RE: Bad lesson"
WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

I would gander to say that quite a few people would love to have their media player at their fingertips like that, just not at the cost of making their application buttons that much smaller.


Media players that don't suck have global hotkey support, so you can control them across the OS. Plus, most keyboards these days have the media keys built right in, which kind of makes the toolbar unnecessary.

Reply Score: 2

RE[3]: Bad lesson
by Bill Shooter of Bul on Fri 26th Sep 2008 16:23 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Bad lesson"
Bill Shooter of Bul Member since:
2006-07-14

Media keyboards are always poorly implemented. They require a resident service running in windows to interpret the key presses into media commands. Most computers i see that have them, don't work due to crappy software or media player incompatibility. Most people queue up a playlist and go. Not much of a need to have a series of short cuts. Any adjustments that need to be made usually require more of the full interface to choose a different playlist or what not.

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: Bad lesson
by Bleistift on Fri 26th Sep 2008 19:07 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Bad lesson"
Bleistift Member since:
2007-05-18

Resident service? Not really...

Reply Score: 1

RE[4]: Bad lesson
by WorknMan on Fri 26th Sep 2008 20:56 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Bad lesson"
WorknMan Member since:
2005-11-13

Media keyboards are always poorly implemented. They require a resident service running in windows to interpret the key presses into media commands. Most computers i see that have them, don't work due to crappy software or media player incompatibility.


You must buy shitty keyboards ;) And anyway, I prefer the global shortcut keys myself.

Most people queue up a playlist and go. Not much of a need to have a series of short cuts. Any adjustments that need to be made usually require more of the full interface to choose a different playlist or what not.


So you don't ever have to pause the audio, adjust the volume, skip to next track, etc? Really, I shouldn't have to bring up the player just to do these things.

Reply Score: 2

v Comment by cocoliso
by cocoliso on Thu 25th Sep 2008 20:49 UTC
RE: Comment by cocoliso
by PlatformAgnostic on Thu 25th Sep 2008 20:53 UTC in reply to "Comment by cocoliso"
PlatformAgnostic Member since:
2006-01-02

That would be pretty boring... not to mention the fact that some people don't like the mac way of doing it.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Comment by cocoliso
by cocoliso on Thu 25th Sep 2008 20:55 UTC in reply to "RE: Comment by cocoliso"
cocoliso Member since:
2005-11-26

just being sarcastic...:-D

Reply Score: 1

RE[3]: Comment by cocoliso
by Nanotube on Fri 26th Sep 2008 12:55 UTC in reply to "RE[2]: Comment by cocoliso"
Nanotube Member since:
2008-05-11

I get the sarcasm, but the truth is that Windows taskbar is somewhat better then the Mac OS X Dock.

I use both Macs and Windows for many years now... but that's just my humble opinion.

Reply Score: 2

RE[4]: Comment by cocoliso
by Kroc on Fri 26th Sep 2008 14:49 UTC in reply to "RE[3]: Comment by cocoliso"
Kroc Member since:
2005-11-10

Yes, I'd agree in that the dock is not all that great on it's own; it's Exposé that makes me prefer OS X.

Reply Score: 2

RE[5]: Comment by cocoliso
by Daniel Borgmann on Fri 26th Sep 2008 22:56 UTC in reply to "RE[4]: Comment by cocoliso"
Daniel Borgmann Member since:
2005-07-08

I believe this is an interesting point.

What's a better path, improving the taskbar, or reducing the need for a taskbar?

The obvious answer isn't "both", because if you reduce the need for a taskbar, you can replace it with other functionality. E.g. the Mac dock seems to be superior to quicklaunch for task launchers, and superior to the system tray for displaying task status.

Reply Score: 2

Linux did it! :P
by Moredhas on Thu 25th Sep 2008 21:14 UTC
Moredhas
Member since:
2008-04-10

Is it just me, or does it seem that all of those features at the end have already been covered in Gnome and/or KDE? I can rearrange my windows on my panel by clicking and dragging, Compiz gives you thumbnail previews when you hover over a task, and it's a simple matter to get Gnome and KDE to only show the tasks on the current desktop on the panel; although I've never used multiple monitors, it seems to me that that wouldn't be too different to the additional desktops Linux users are used to.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Linux did it! :P
by CPUGuy on Thu 25th Sep 2008 21:38 UTC in reply to "Linux did it! :P"
CPUGuy Member since:
2005-07-06

Compiz copied the feature from Vista, which first had it demoed like 2003-2004 time-frame.

Reply Score: 2

RE[2]: Linux did it! :P
by Vide on Fri 26th Sep 2008 07:55 UTC in reply to "RE: Linux did it! :P"
Vide Member since:
2006-02-17

And even before there were already a taskbar for KDE3 which did exactly the same.

http://www.kde-apps.org/content/show.php/Taskbar+v2+(flat+%2B+t...)?content=16261

which is from 2004. I cannot remember any similiar feature in Longhorn builds.

Reply Score: 2

Heh
by StephenBeDoper on Thu 25th Sep 2008 21:30 UTC
StephenBeDoper
Member since:
2005-07-06

There isn't always enough text on the taskbar to identify the window I'm looking for.


Reminds me of an old screenshot taken by someone searching for info on getting rid of cockroaches. Because of the number of entries in his taskbar, Windows truncated the title to "Search for: cock..."

Reply Score: 3

Whatever
by Phloptical on Thu 25th Sep 2008 23:17 UTC
Phloptical
Member since:
2006-10-10

I just hope they get rid of the butt-ugly Vista sound and network icons in Vista. I mean, come on, white/flat icons when everything else has a little color and shadow to it? It looks terrible, it sticks out like a sore thumb. It totally shows how unfinished Vista truly is.

Reply Score: 2

Uh?
by sakeniwefu on Fri 26th Sep 2008 02:16 UTC
sakeniwefu
Member since:
2008-02-26

Looking at the data, nobody turns on autohide, and many people turn off having the taskbar on top, ergo...
Doesn't compute. Most people aren't using the taskbar at all!

Reply Score: 1

RE: Uh?
by B. Janssen on Fri 26th Sep 2008 07:57 UTC in reply to "Uh?"
B. Janssen Member since:
2006-10-11

Your conclusion can not be substantiated with the available data.

Reply Score: 2

RE: Uh?
by joshv on Fri 26th Sep 2008 13:33 UTC in reply to "Uh?"
joshv Member since:
2006-03-18

Looking at the data, nobody turns on autohide, and many people turn off having the taskbar on top, ergo...
Doesn't compute. Most people aren't using the taskbar at all!


According to the graphic, 99.1% of people have the "keep taskbar on top" option selected. So if by "many people" you mean 0.9%...

Reply Score: 2

Polluted usage statistics?
by Volt on Fri 26th Sep 2008 03:02 UTC
Volt
Member since:
2006-06-23

In many computer labs and libraries I've seen, the settings are locked or automatically reverted so users can't customise much of the user interface. If you ask me, it's not that users are necessarily satisfied with the defaults. They could be, but they might not have a choice anyway.

So I wonder if that data is also sent to Microsoft. They said it's volunteered, but I don't know much about it other than that.

Full disclosure: I barely scanned the original article.

Reply Score: 2

Uh?
by renox on Fri 26th Sep 2008 11:49 UTC
renox
Member since:
2005-07-06

An extract of the blog:
[[As an aside, Windows XP had Quick Launch turned off by default in an attempt to reduce the number of different launching surfaces throughout Windows. Based on your feedback, we quickly rectified this faux pas]]

Uh what? Quick Launch is the first thing I disable on a new PC: I need space in the taskbar for *tasks*, if I want to open frequently an application: I put a shortcut on the desktop and use Win+D to iconify all the windows to access the shortcut: very easy and I can put more shortcuts in the desktop that in the quick launch bar..

Reply Score: 2

RE: Uh?
by axilmar on Fri 26th Sep 2008 13:38 UTC in reply to "Uh?"
axilmar Member since:
2006-03-20

On the other hand, the first thing I do on a fresh WinXP installation is to make the Quick Launch pad visible and store my most frequently used programs there.

I don't use the desktop at all. I store my documents into folders. I admit though that I am a minority: most users fill their desktop with a lot of documents.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Uh?
by stooovie on Fri 26th Sep 2008 16:26 UTC in reply to "Uh?"
stooovie Member since:
2006-01-25

Quicklaunch is there to be always present. In order to get to Desktop, you`ve got to minimise everything, with QL, you don`t. That`s the whole point. It`s like MacOS` top bar.

Reply Score: 1

RE: Uh?
by BluenoseJake on Fri 26th Sep 2008 18:05 UTC in reply to "Uh?"
BluenoseJake Member since:
2005-08-11

Most of my users live by the quick launch bar. Most normal users don't tend to care about the taskbar, they use ctrl-tab, at least the ones I work with.

Reply Score: 2

No bluescreen ?
by holywood on Fri 26th Sep 2008 18:26 UTC
holywood
Member since:
2006-09-25

No bluescreen in the demonstration.

Sorry i couldn't resist ;)

Bluescreen during the Windows 98 presentation:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TGLhuF3L48U

Reply Score: 0

RE: No bluescreen ?
by Bleistift on Fri 26th Sep 2008 19:12 UTC in reply to "No bluescreen ?"
Bleistift Member since:
2007-05-18

*yawn*

Reply Score: 1

Why one task bar?
by spotter on Tue 30th Sep 2008 15:00 UTC
spotter
Member since:
2005-07-06

Why is the windows task bar limited to a single entity with everything required to be on it? Why can I separate the notifications area and put it in a different place? Why can't I use all four edges of my desktop for different items and control them separately?

Most of the time, I use a laptop with both the built-in screen and a larger LCD. I do most of my work on the LCD, and have lesser used things on the laptop screen. Particularly in that mode, I'd like to have the task band on the larger screen, but leave the notifications and QL on the laptop screen (although I wouldn't mind pulling my clock off notifications; I ended up installing FoxClocks so I had a clock on my browser, its better but not perfect).

One thing I think is good with what I've seen of Vista is that there is only the Windows logo for the start area, not all the wasted space of the word. But, again, every keyboard built in about the past 10 years has a Windows key on it, why does the Start button need to be anything more than a QL icon?

Reply Score: 1