IE8 on Windows 7: The New Taskbar


Internet Explorer Team Blog

IE8 on Windows 7: The New Taskbar

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Hi again! I’m Helen Drislane, a Program Manager on the IE team and I will be discussing how IE integrates into the new Windows 7 taskbar.

Since the new taskbar was completely redesigned to improve window management, I will first describe the new behavior of the taskbar, then talk about how IE takes advantage of that behavior, and then wrap it up by answering some of the common questions we get asked about IE and the new taskbar.


As Chaitanya describes in great detail in his blog post “The Windows 7 Taskbar”, the Windows 7 taskbar merges the quick launch and the task buttons into one single unified bar that reworks how you launch and restore applications.

How it works:

  • If you have no instances of the application running:
    • Clicking on the icon in the taskbar will open an instance of that application
  • If you have one instance of the application running:
    • Clicking on the icon will restore that already existing instance
  • If you have more than one instance of the application running:
    • Clicking on the icon will bring up a set of previews of all the instances you have running

If you have, for instance, three IE windows open, clicking on the IE icon will bring up the following thumbnail previews:

The Windows 7 Taskbar showing thumbnail previews.

In the diagram above, I show three windows. Unlike Vista, which would only show a thumbnail preview for the active tab of the last viewed window, we worked closely with the Windows 7 team to give you previews of all tabs open in IE.

Peek Previews:

Mousing over each of these previews will show you where (on any of your monitors) that instance or tab is located. (This “Peek” feature is also mirrored in Alt+Tab.) Clicking on the thumbnail preview will bring up the corresponding tab.

Opening a new instance:

There are a few ways to open a new instance if one is already open:

  • You can right-click on the IE icon and select “Internet Explorer”
  • You can drag up on the IE icon with the mouse and select “Internet Explorer”
  • You can shift+click or middle+click on the IE icon
  • If IE is in the first position (next to the start button as in the diagram above), you can press “Win + 1” and this will launch a new instance (same as Vista). If you move IE to, say, the third position from the start button, “Win + 3” will launch a new instance of IE


Jump lists, new to Windows 7, give you a quick and easy way to open frequently opened items or favorites without first opening IE. Either by right-clicking on an icon in the taskbar or dragging up with the mouse, you can expose IE’s frequently visited sites (from your history) and common tasks.

IE Jump list which contains frequently used sites and tasks.

Pinning items:

The jump list also allows you to pin items – which is another way of making a mini list of Favorites right from the desktop! There are two ways to pin items:

  • You can drag the icon from the address bar and drop it on the IE icon in the taskbar
  • If an item shows up in your Frequent list, you can simply click the tack/pin icon that appears on hover over the item

If I were to hover over, for example, the shortcut to “Tilth Info”, I would see the pin icon appear:

IE Jump list.  A pin icon appears when you hover over an item in the frequently used sites list.

Clicking on that pin will result in the following jump list:

IE Jump list after a site has been pinned.

Common Tasks:

Based on feedback from Windows 7 Beta users, we added two tasks to the jump list. Users can now open a new tab on the window that was last active, or they can start InPrivate browsing (which will open a new window). To learn more about Browsing InPrivate, please see Andy’s blog post here.


I only want to see one preview for each window (like in Vista). Can I turn off the feature that shows all tabs of all windows in the Superbar?

Yes. If you go to the tools menu, select Internet Options, and then select the Settings button in the Tabs section of the first tab, simply uncheck the option that says “Show previews for individual tabs in the taskbar” and restart IE.

I can’t find Run IE as an Administrator. Is there another way to run IE with Administrative Privileges?

Yes. Simply Ctrl+Shift+Click on the IE icon on the taskbar.

That sums up the ways in which IE integrates with the new Windows 7 Taskbar. Thank you for trying the Windows 7 Release Candidate and I look forward to hearing your feedback.

Helen Drislane
Program Manager

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