Visual Task Tips is a little freeware application for Windows XP which displays a preview image if you move your mouse over a folder in the taskbar. Simply download the 90K file from the developers homepage. After installation you have the option to run it and add it to your windows startup files. To disable that, start the program again and it will display a prompt to you so that you can disable the feature again. Or, edit your startup folder automatically, for instance with the excellent Autoruns application.
This can be very useful if you want to preview the window of a program on your system without activating it. You can use it to display the current web page that is open in your web browser of choice, the contents of a Windows Explorer instance, or any other program that is currently open and running on your system and displayed in the Windows taskbar.
Update: The program homepage is no longer available, and returns a parking page instead of the original program page. This may have something to do with the release of the Windows 7 operating system, and its native integration of the feature.
When you hover over an open program in the Windows 7 taskbar, you see a preview of the program's window displayed as a thumbnail image that is automatically updated to reflect what you would see when you would open the window on the desktop.
The feature even works if multiple instances of a program are open, enabling you to quickly identify and switch to the instance that you'd like to access at the time.
Windows XP and Windows Vista users unfortunately do not have access to the feature, and there does not seem to be an alternative available for them to add previews to their operating system.
Update: We have uploaded the latest version of Visual Task Tips to our own server. You can download it to your local system. Note that you should only run it on XP or Vista systems, as Windows 7 and newer operating systems support the feature natively. [Download not found]
Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.