Request From The Windows Guys

I want to make a request to the guys working on Windows: Manually Ordered Taskbar Buttons.

What does that mean? It means that when I have a taskbar button for Window A, Window B and Window C, I want to be able to drag Window B before Window A, like I do with the QuickStart icons.

It’s a small thing (I think), but it could allow me to have my taskbar sorted the way I want it to be sorted and not the way windows get opened. For instance, I like having my Outlook window the leftmost window all the time, but when it gets closed, I have to re-open it and it’s the rightmost window! Argh! When I’m really pissed, I just close all of the windows that’s buttons are to the left of the Outlook one.

Ah, all’s well…

Argh! I closed Outlook! No, I didn’t really mean it! Crap!

If you could incorporate this into a Windows that’s before Longhorn, I’d appreciate it a lot.


16 thoughts on “Request From The Windows Guys


  2. Its amazing how anal we are about where windows should be but i totally agree. I HAVE to have explorer on the left, then outlook, VS.NET, SQL enterprise manager, SQL query analysiser, SQL Profiler, and THEN I have IE windows or office applications.

  3. Yeah….get right on it!…..just like they did for the oh-so-simple VS2005 IDE request from Frans Bouma for a multi-line find/replace feature (see ).

    Unfortunately, methinks we’re about 2-3 years too late on this feature request! (I actually asked for it verbally and in several emails 5-6 years ago during Win2K beta testing. When I explained that I always had the task bar on the left-edge, most PMs and evangelists were incredulous that a programmer having at least 2-3 dozen windows constantly open would actually WANT or DO such a thing! Of course, they wish-listed this exact item back then and it’s obviously been lopped off the bottom of the list long ago…since EVERYONE keeps their task bar on the bottom of the screen, RIGHT?!?!?!)

    At the LEAST (in case drag-and-drop reordering support or a rearrangement dialog box is thought to be too hard), the task bar should contain "Sort tasks by" on the context menu with a sub-context menu containing "Name", "Ascending open-time", "Descending open-time", "Minimized tasks before open tasks", and maybe a few other sort keys. The current default of sorting by ascending open-time is quite often helpful, but not always.

    I’m SURE this’ll open the same can of flame-worms that Frans opened!
    Fire away! 5-6 years for a simple shell GUI enhancement is PLENTY! I’m tired of waiting…and gave up until there’s enough OTHER people who have "found" the same missing feature.

    I honestly believe some of these "no brainer" suggestions that I have repeated DOZENS of times at PDCs and DevDays have gone into deaf ears or been filtered out due to the attitude of "Well, WHY would ANYONE want to do THAT!".

  4. To be even more specific about the history of this feature request, my emails and verbal begging goes further back then Win2K beta days…

    Some history: I had been a faithful user of Central Point’s PC Tools for Windows, which contained a Win3.1 PROGMAN.EXE shell replacement. That replacement had dozens of features that PROGMAN.EXE did NOT. Upon introduction of Win95, Symantec revamped (er, CUT drastically) the product it had inherited when it bought Central Point, by releasing "Norton Navigator for Win95". It contained many shell extensions that satisfied my numerous configurability needs…

    During Win98 beta testing, Symantec announced they were dropping "Norton Navigator" (i.e., not enhancing it anymore). (Personally, I just think they didn’t want to get it all working with Win2K… Unfortunately, I didn’t have the $Million they wanted for the source code!)

    I can’t remember if taskbar rearrangement was one of the features in PC Tools or Norton Navigator, but it ended up on a list of a dozen features I requested during Win98 beta testing.

    Thus, this feature (along with many other no brainer shell extensions) were wish-listed back in 1996-1997 timeframe…and then again in 1998-1999 Win2K beta tet timeframe.

    All said, this bunch of features have long turned into pumpkins waiting for some Prince Charming to give them the "kiss of life" (endorsement and support).

    Do I sound frustrated? YES! Hopefully, some evangelists will step up the plate and help these kind of lowly feature requests from getting "wish-dropped" in the future. The new product feedback center is a step in the right direction (transparency-wise), but there still need to be some evangelists whose jobs are to help vett feature requests that are blatantly being ignored release after release.

  5. Hi Omar, there is a free utility to do this called "Windows Taskbar Commander", but you have to disable taskbar grouping to get it to work in XP…like you, I have Outlook far left but I also wanted grouping. Sigh.

  6. I couldn’t share your wishes any more. I almost can’t work if I don’t have Outlook on the left, then VS, then other dev/management tools and then the IEs.

  7. Phil Weber’s link/utility rocks…

    Not only does it seem to be just what the Dr. ordered but comes with the source too.

    Very nice…

  8. I thought I was the only NUT that thought this way.

    Hey, how about when Explorer.exe crashes and all your taskbar buttons now show up in reverse order :o)

    Serious AMEN!!!

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