Tuesday, 3 September 2013

Auto Align Taskbar Icons for Windows (Open beta!)

One thing that has always baffled me is the decision to align the task icons to the left of the taskbar in Windows 7.  Sure, that's where the start button lives, but things that you do tend to be in the middle of the screen.  I know the dashboard in my car isn't on the passengers side, it's right in front of me.  When I go to a movie, I don't sit as close to the edge of the screen as possible.
Why are you hiding in the corner?

To fix this, I have created a tool that will ensure the icons are kept in the centre of the taskbar.  Now for a bulleted list!

  • Smooth sliding transitions as icons come and go!
  • No extra background processes!
  • No changes to files on disk!
  • No permanent changes!


Is there anything you need to know?

Yes.  For a start, there are different versions for the 64bit and 32bit versions of Windows 7. I have only tested this on Windows 7 64bit because I only have one Windows licence.  If you are still running a 32bit version, feel free to try the 32bit version (At your own risk of course.  Might crash, might do nothing.  Be prepared!).  Drop a comment below if it works for you or not.

Also, this only works for horizontal taskbars at the moment.  Running this with a vertical taskbar results in some (temporary) weirdness.

Finally, I wouldn't be surprised if some antivirus programs think this is up to no good. I haven't seen it with any of the ones I have tried, but the technique used to make the changes could easily look suspicious to an overly keen antivirus.

Does it work with Windows 8?

No idea. Might do, see above.

So how do you use it?

Extract both files to a folder somewhere.
Either 
  • Run Loader.exe and click 'Apply Patch'

or
  • Create a shortcut to Loader.exe with --autostart (e.g. "C:\Folder\Loader.exe --autostart").  This shortcut can go in your startup folder when you are happy it works for you.

Downloads



Leave a comment to let me know how it goes or if you have any suggestions.

How does it work?

The C# form injects a dll into the explorer process.  The dll contains code that tracks updates to the taskbar, monitors the width of the group of icons and positions it accordingly. Tada!