Customize group similar windows

Martin Brinkmann
Jul 12, 2007
Updated • Oct 19, 2015
Windows, Windows tips
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Windows has a feature that groups similar windows, for example seven Windows Explorer windows, under one taskbar button which is great if you like your taskbar as clean as possible, or have that many windows open at all times that you run into space issues as they do not fit on the taskbar together at the same time.

On Windows 7 and newer versions of the operating system, you define the grouping behavior of the taskbar in the following way. Right-click on the taskbar and select properties. Here you find the preference taskbar buttons listed under the Taskbar tab.

It supports the following three states: Always combine, hide labels, combine when taskbar is full, or never combine.

Changes that you make here are applied instantly, which means that you do not have to restart the PC or log off and on again for that.

There is however no direct way to change the number of windows that are needed before Windows starts grouping them.

Note: Microsoft has removed the preference described below in Windows 7 and newer versions of Windows. It is only valid if you are running Windows Vista or older versions of Windows. Windows 7 users can only use the preferences displayed in the taskbar properties.

To change the default behavior you need to edit a value in the Windows Registry and add a new key to it.

Open the registry by pressing Windows R, typing registry and hitting run.

Navigate to the following key: HKEY_CURRENT_USER \ Software \ Microsoft \ Windows \ CurrentVersion \ Explorer \ Advanced.

Create a new DWORD and name it TaskbarGroupSize.You do that with a right-click on the Advanced folder and the selection of New > Dword (32-bit) Value from the context menu that opens up. Name the new preference accordingly, and double-click it afterwards to set a value.

You can now assign the following values to the key:

  • 0 - group windows based on age starting with the oldest
  • 1 - group the biggest groups first
  • 2 - group all windows with at least 2 instances
  • 3 - group all windows with at least 3 instances

Close everything and restart your computer, or sign out and on again.

Summary
Customize group similar windows in Windows
Article Name
Customize group similar windows in Windows
Description
Find out how to customize the group combining functionality of the Windows taskbar.
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Comments

  1. Dan Donx said on January 15, 2023 at 10:29 am
    Reply

    What mental age of reader are you targeting with the first sentence? 10?

    Why not write an article on how to *avoid* upgrading from W10 to W11. Analogous to those like me who avoided upgrading from 7 to 10 for as long as possible.

    If your paymaster Microsoft permits it, of course.

  2. Dexter said on January 15, 2023 at 11:14 am
    Reply

    5. Rufus
    6. Ventoy

    PS. I hate reading these “SEO optimized” articles.

    1. cdr said on January 15, 2023 at 3:32 pm
      Reply

      I used Rufus to create an installer for a 6th gen intel i5 that had MBR. It upgraded using Setup. No issues except for Win 11 always prompting me to replace my local account. Still using Win 10 Pro on all my other PCs to avoid the bullying.

  3. sv said on January 15, 2023 at 6:40 pm
    Reply

    bit pointless to upgrade for the sake of upgrading as you never know when you’ll get locked out because ms might suddenly not provide updates to unsupported systems.

    ps…. time travelling?
    written. Jan 15, 2023
    Updated • Jan 13, 2023

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on January 16, 2023 at 5:49 am
      Reply

      This happens when you schedule a post in WordPress and update it before setting the publication date.

  4. Anonymous said on January 16, 2023 at 8:24 am
    Reply

    Anyone willing to downgrade to this awful OS must like inflicting themselves with harm.

  5. basingstoke said on January 16, 2023 at 11:18 am
    Reply

    I have become convinced now that anybody who has no qualms with using Windows 11/10 must fit into one of the following brackets:

    1) Too young to remember a time before W10 and W11 (doesn’t know better)

    2) Wants to play the latest games on their PC above anything else (or deeply needs some software which already dropped W7 support)

    3) Doesn’t know too much about how computers work, worried that they’d be absolutely lost and in trouble without the “”latest security””

    4) Microsoft apologist that tries to justify that the latest “features” and “changes” are actually a good thing, that improve Windows

    5) Uses their computer to do a bare minimum of like 3 different things, browse web, check emails, etc, so really doesn’t fuss

    Obviously that doesn’t cover everyone, there’s also the category that:

    6) Actually liked W7 more than 10, and held out as long as possible before switching, begrudgingly uses 10 now

    Have I missed any group off this list?

    1. Heinz Strunk said on September 19, 2023 at 3:57 pm
      Reply

      You have missed in this group just about any professional user that uses business software like CAD programs or ERP Programs which are 99% of all professional users from this list.

      Linux doesn’t help anyone who is not a linux kid and apple is just a fancy facebook machine.

  6. ilev said on August 24, 2023 at 7:34 pm
    Reply

    Microsoft has removed KB5029351 update

    1. EP said on August 24, 2023 at 9:21 pm
      Reply

      only from windows update though
      KB5029351 is still available from the ms update catalog site

  7. Anonymous said on August 24, 2023 at 11:05 pm
    Reply

    1. This update is labaled as PREVIEW if it causes issues to unintelligent people, then they shouldn’t have allowed Preview updates ot install.

    2. I have installed it in a 11 years old computer, and no problems at all.

    3. Making a big drama over a bluescreen for an updated labeled as preview is ridiculous.

    This is probably another BS internet drama where people ran programs and scripts that modified the registry until they broke Windows, just for removing stuff that they weren’t even using just for the sake of it.
    Maybe people should stop playing geeks and actually either use Windows 10 or Windows 11, but don’t try to modify things just for the sake of it.

    Sometimes removing or stopping things (like defender is a perfect example) only need intelligence, not scripts or 3rd party programs that might mess with windows.

  8. john said on August 24, 2023 at 11:17 pm
    Reply

    Windows 11 was a pointless release, it was just created because some of the Windows team wanted to boost sales with some sort of new and improved Windows 10. Instead, Microsoft cannot support one version well let alone two.

    1. John G. said on August 25, 2023 at 12:08 pm
      Reply

      Windows 11 is the worst ugly shame by Microsoft ever. They should release with every new W11 version a complete free version of Starallback inside just to make this sh** OS functionally again.

  9. EP said on August 25, 2023 at 3:10 pm
    Reply

    motherboard maker MSI has recently released a statement regarding the “unsupported processor” blue screen error for their boards using Intel 600/700 series chipsets & to avoid the KB5029351 Win11 update:
    https://www.msi.com/news/detail/MSI-On–UNSUPPORTED-PROCESSOR–Error-Message-of-Windows-11-Update-KB5029351-Preview-142215

  10. EP said on August 29, 2023 at 7:32 pm
    Reply

    check out the following recent articles:

    Neowin – Microsoft puts little blame on its Windows update after UNSUPPORTED PROCESSOR BSOD bug:
    https://www.neowin.net/news/microsoft-puts-little-blame-on-its-windows-update-after-unsupported-processor-bsod-bug/

    BleepingComputer – Microsoft blames ‘unsupported processor’ blue screens on OEM vendors:
    https://www.bleepingcomputer.com/news/microsoft/microsoft-blames-unsupported-processor-blue-screens-on-oem-vendors/

  11. Leonard Britvolli said on August 30, 2023 at 10:33 pm
    Reply

    While there may be changes or updates to the Windows 10 Store for Business and Education in the future, it is premature to conclude that it will be discontinued based solely on rumors.

  12. sembrador said on September 5, 2023 at 9:32 pm
    Reply

    My advice, I left win 15 years ago. Now I’m a happy linux user (linuxmint) but there is Centos, Fedora, Ubuntu depending on your needs.

  13. EP said on September 6, 2023 at 11:55 am
    Reply

    motherboard maker MSI has recently released new BIOS/firmware updates for their Intel 600 & 700 series motherboards to fix the “UNSUPPORTED_PROCESSOR” problem (Sept. 6):

    https://www.msi.com/news/detail/Updated-BIOS-fixes-Error-Message–UNSUPPORTED-PROCESSOR–caused-BSOD-on-MSI-s-Intel-700-and-600-Series-Motherboards-142277

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