Windows 7 Dual Monitor Taskbar: How to Extend Windows 7 Taskbar to a Second Monitor

  1. Introduction
  2. Multi-monitor Taskbar: Windows 7 Features
    1. Essential Controls: Start Button, Notification Area (System Tray), Show Desktop Button
    2. Pin
    3. Live Previews and Aero Peek
    4. Jump Lists
    5. Taskbar Toolbars
    6. Visual Enhancements
  3. Multi-monitor Taskbar: Additional Features
    1. Individual/Mirror Mode
    2. Group Window Operations
  4. Conclusion


1. Introduction Windows 7 logo

In Windows 7, Microsoft has significantly redesigned one of the most essential parts of Windows user interface - the taskbar. Users got a lot of new features and facilities, like Pin, Peek, Jump Lists, and more.

However, even the new Windows 7 still has no special tools for a multiple displays environment. One of the most obvious and wanted features is the ability to extend the new taskbar across all available displays: multi-monitor users would like to have the new task management features on secondary monitors as well.

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General Windows 7 taskbar on dual monitors

Although there are several third party solutions that allow duplicating the taskbar on secondary monitors, they still have no or just partial support of the new taskbar features presented in Windows 7. Actual Multiple Monitors is the first and only multi-monitor software that provides the exact replica of Windows 7 Taskbar on secondary displays.

2. Multi-monitor Taskbar: Windows 7 Features

After installation, Actual Multiple Monitors immediately adds a copy of the main Windows Taskbar to each secondary monitor. Each copy supports the following features:

2.1. Essential Controls: Start Button, Notification Area (System Tray), Show Desktop Button

Having such essential controls as the Start button, the notification area (a.k.a. system tray) with the clock and the Show Desktop button in a second monitor's taskbar eliminates the necessity to drag the mouse to the primary monitor each time you need to perform one of the following common tasks:

  • launch a program fr om the Start Menu
  • access some background program's icon in the notification area
  • open the Date and Time Properties dialog
  • peer past all open windows straight to the Windows 7 desktop

With Actual Multiple Monitors, you can perform any of these tasks while working with any display.

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Taskbar with its essential controls on a second monitor

2.2. Pin

Pin feature is a smart replacement of the Quick Launch toolbar: it allows having certain application icons persistent on the leftmost position in the taskbar. Each icon allows both launching the pinned application and activating it (when it's launched already).

In Actual Multiple Monitors, you can have different sets of pinned applications on different monitors. You can pin an icon in any of the following ways:

  • via context menu command
    Pin a program to a secondary taskbar via taskbar button

  • via drag-n-drop of the application's shortcut
    Pin a program to a secondary taskbar by drag-n-dropping its shortcut

2.3. Live Previews and Aero Peek

Live Taskbar Previews are actual thumbnail images of open windows. A preview appears when you hover over a taskbar button for a while. Previews support the Aero Peek feature: hover over a certain window's preview to quickly reveal that window buried somewhere on the desktop.

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Aero Peek on second monitor's taskbar

Actual Multiple Monitors taskbars have the full support for Live Previews: they appear for single buttons, for group buttons (multi-preview with a thumbnail for each window in the group) and for tabbed web browsers (multi-preview with a thumbnail for each browser's tab).

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Multi-preview for several Internet Explorer tabs opened on a second monitor

2.4. Jump Lists

Jump Lists give you a quick access to the recent files and common tasks of a certain application via its taskbar button (either usual or pinned). To call a Jump List, just right-click the required icon in the taskbar (note that the old system window menu can be called using the Shift-RightClick combination).

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Jump List for a Windows Media Player button

Actual Multiple Monitors shows the Jump Lists on secondary taskbars as well.

2.5. Taskbar Toolbars

Actual Multiple Monitors allows adding any toolbars onto second monitor's taskbar, including the standard toolbars (like Quick Launch, Address, Desktop, Windows Media Player, etc.) and any custom ones.

Secondary taskbar
Secondary taskbar's context menu for managing toolbars

2.6. Visual Enhancements

Secondary taskbars in Actual Multiple Monitors support such small but visually appealing features as colorized highlighting for a button under the mouse and progress bars on buttons' background showing a progress for actual application's task (downloading a web page, writing a DVD, packing files, converting a video, etc.).


3. Multi-monitor Taskbar: Additional Features

3.1. Individual/Mirror Mode

Multi-monitor Taskbar can work in two different modes: individual (default) and mirror. In individual mode, each taskbar displays the buttons only for windows which are on the same monitor. This mode is recommended if you would like to treat your monitors as separate desktops devoted to different activities.

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Multi-monitor Taskbar in individual mode

In mirror mode, all taskbars display all open windows no matter what monitor a particular window is on (i.e. all taskbars show the same set of buttons). This can be useful if you have some of your displays installed and would like to control all running applications from any display.

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Multi-monitor Taskbar in mirror mode

3.2. Group Window Operations

Secondary taskbar's context menu provides the commands to manipulate several windows at once ("subject monitor" mentioned below is the monitor wh ere you invoked particular command):

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Secondary taskbar's context menu

  • Minimize all/Restore all commands - if you are using the individual mode then you can quickly minimize all open windows on the subject monitor and restore them back in a single click (in mirror mode windows will be minimized/restored on all monitors at once). You can use the Aero Shake feature as well

  • Gather all windows here command - puts windows from all monitors onto the subject monitor

  • Get here all windows from command/submenu - retrieves all windows from a specified monitor and puts them onto the subject monitor

  • Send all windows from here to command/submenu - transfers all windows from the subject monitor to a specified one


4. Conclusion

With the release of Windows 7, users got a lot of new task management features but with the release of Actual Multiple Monitors everyone can extend the new functions to all available displays. At the moment, Actual Multiple Monitors is the only software that extends Windows 7 taskbar to secondary monitors and replicates it as exact as possible.