Since Windows 7, the taskbar has used a new style of icon for open programs, a small square that doesn’t tell you much about the window that’s open other than being highlighted when the software is opened.



Before we start, make sure you have enough room on your taskbar for the full size icons as they take up quite a bit more room. You can check our article on Windows taskbar out of space / too many icons for help with this.

  1. Now that we’ve got enough space on the taskbar, you’re going to want to right click the taskbar and select taskbar settings.
  2. Once the settings window opens, scroll down to Combine taskbar buttons and change it to When the taskbar is full, or Never. When the taskbar is full will make the icons show smaller versions when the taskbar fills up, Never will always keep them at full size.

Now if we look at our taskbar, we can see that the open programs show the full window title, while closed programs show the normal small icon.



Having the full taskbar icons enabled helps if you’ve got a lot of documents open in the same program, such as word or excel, and want to quickly switch between them without having to guess which is which, the taskbar will show the name of the document.

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