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Tips from Tonna for your PC
Quick Launch on the Taskbar
by Tonna Kutner

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Q: My friend has a little icon on the Start Bar that takes her directly to the desk top.  How can I do that on my machine?

A: This is a time saving feature available on operating systems with Windows 98 and later.  It’s called the “Quick Launch” toolbar.  It’s a good feature as it allows you to quickly get to the icons on your desktop without minimizing or closing other open windows.   Quick launch usually contains icons that take you to the internet, email and other applications.

The Start Bar or Taskbar is often at the bottom of the screen.  You can click-and-drag it to any side of the screen as needed.  (For more information on managing the location of your Taskbar check out Where's My Taskbar?) If it is invisible, touch Ctrl-Esc so you can see it.   You have probably already noticed that the Taskbar has buttons that correspond to any programs you have open.  Clicking on those buttons lets you easily switch from one task to another.  It is much more efficient to switch from one task to another than to open and close the programs each time.  

To use the Quick Launch toolbar, right-click on a blank area of the Taskbar.  If you have a hard time finding a blank area, move your mouse just above the Taskbar until it turns into a double arrow.  Then click-and-drag this border up a bit.  This expands your Taskbar so there’s more space.  Some people use a fat Taskbar all the time.   You can always click-and-drag the border down to shrink the Taskbar when needed.   The Taskbar can be shrunk to nothing so it disappears.  To restore the Taskbar, move your mouse to very bottom of the screen until the two-headed arrow appears (sometimes you can only see one head of it).  Then click-and-drag the border up. 

When you right-click on a blank area of the Taskbar, a menu pops up including the word “Toolbars.”  Regular left-click on Toolbars to see the Toolbar Menu.  Quick Launch is one of the menu options – click on it to activate.  The Toolbar choices are toggle switches.  Click once and they become checked or active.  Repeat the process and they are unchecked or inactive.  I feel the Quick Launch menu is the most useful, but feel free to try out the others as well.

Most often, people like Quick Launch in a small section on the left side of the Taskbar, but it doesn’t always come up that way.  Once you have activated Quick Launch, look at the Taskbar.  You will find two small vertical bars – one next to Start and one between the Quick Launch icons and the other open tasks.   If you have trouble finding them, glide your mouse over the Taskbar; when you’re over one of the vertical bars, the mouse turns into a two-headed arrow going sideways.  If you click-and-drag the vertical bar furthest from Start all the way back to the Start button, the position of the two areas will switch.

The Quick Launch section may have lots of icons and you can move these around so the ones you use most often are first in the sequence.  For example, to move the desktop icon into the first position, simply click-and-drag it to the position you want (the desktop icon looks like a rubber spatula on something with turquoise corners).  I find it most useful to have the desktop, internet and email icons showing, but choose the ones you use most frequently.

You can click-and-drag the vertical bar just a bit to make the Quick Launch area smaller or larger.  If you make if small, the last icon will be a double carrot >>.  If you click on that, the other Quick Launch icons will be available.

If you have a computer question you would like answered in this space, send it to tonna@computer-lynx.com.

Tonna Kutner, Computer LYNX, works with companies to list and develop their web sites.  Phone (206) 575-3979 or email tonna@computer-lynx.com. Visit Tonna’s website at www.computer-lynx.com.

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