Thursday, January 21, 2010

Collapsible Taskbar Buttons (Windows)

Those of you that use Windows XP will likely be familiar with the taskbar and its support for collapsible taskbar buttons when the taskbar gets a bit too crowded. Windows XP seems to do a pretty good job with collapsing like items, but there's a feature that I find useful but missing. Maybe there's a way to do it, so if you know how, please share.

Here's a screen capture of a Microsoft Outlook task with 6 open e-mail messages. Windows has appropriately collapsed them into a single button and reports that there are 7 tasks (1 for Outlook and 6 for the open messages).

Now, we know that the Outlook task is the parent, and the 6 open messages are children. What I want to do is close out all the children tasks, but keep the parent open. There is a Close Group option when you right click on the collapsed task group, but that closes everything including the parent.

Is there any easy way to get back to a single parent task open without having to resort to closing the group and then re-launching whatever is the parent application? I understand that sometimes Windows will group tasks where there isn't a parent... that's fine, as I don't expect that there's a mind reading OS that can figure out what subset I want closed. However, this seems like a nice feature that is lacking.

Anyway, help me if this is in fact possible and you know how to do it. Thanks.

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