The Windows 7 feature interview series continues:

Yesterday I hit the cafe down the street for lunch and almost tripped over the popular Windows celebrity feature, Taskbar.

TB: Say, there, pal, watch your step, can you?

JG:
Hey, not my fault. You're nearly always lurking down at the foot of things, and half the time you're hidden.
TB: Statistically you're right. Most people keep me at the bottom of the Windows desktop, and quite a few take me up on my offer to stay out of the way unless they need me. There are all sorts of ways to influence my behavior, though. I can be at the top or to the side of things, for example, or I can be hidden when not in use.

JG: But I've noticed you pop up sometimes without a user pointing to you.
TB: Sure, well, sometimes Windows has to get the user's attention – like I said, they need me. I am, after all, the 24-hour-news-channel of the Windows environment.

JG: OK. But honestly, you don't look much like a talking-head-network.
TB: Well – look – I do deliver Breaking News, not to mention the current time, in my notification area. Also, one of my primary purposes is to provide previews, although I don't call them teasers like the news channels. People can point to a program icon on my midriff and I'll show preview windows of open programs and documents.

Taskbar previews

Taskbar previews show you what's happening on your desktop.

JG: So how are you doing in the ratings wars?
TB: I'm immensely popular. People check with me to locate a current event, as it were – a running program or an open file. A glance at me shows icons for all current windows, whether on the desktop or minimized. Why try to keep track of everything when I can do it for you?

JG: So you're the fastest, easiest way to locate a window?
TB: Right. And a click on an icon toggles the minimize-and-restore mode for those windows. The facts are all here.

Taskbar switching

Click a taskbar button to switch to that window.

JG: I notice you have some other program icons on your torso there, but those programs aren't running. Are those tattoos?
TB: No, I'm tat-free. Those are some of my user's favorite programs, which have been pinned to me.

Pin a program to the Taskbar

Pin a program to your taskbar for easy access.

JG: Anything else you want Windows users to know about you?
TB
: Sure: I can help cut through all the noise. Just point to the Show desktop button at my far end. Instant clarity will emerge (at least, whatever clarity is available behind that pile of windows).

Notification area

The notification area and show desktop button.

With that, Taskbar took his tray and headed over to a table of ... pundits? And I brought my lunch back here. Tune in again soon when Start menu joins me for an in-depth discussion of searching, pinning, and more.

Jeff