Remember Fences? The program helped users organize their computer desktop by offering advanced grouping and hiding options. The developers of Fences are currently working on a new project called Bins, which they call a Taskbar Organizer.
The main idea behind Bins is to merge multiple pinned taskbar items into one icon. You may have read about similar programs that utilize jumplists to provide quick access to multiple applications.
Bins is different as it combines the icons directly. How does it work? Taskbar icons are basically dragged on top of each other (more precisely, they are dragged on the icon first, a popup opens that displays all grouped icons and that's where the new icon needs to be dropped).
Bins indicates this with a small nub on top of the icon, and the fact that the original taskbar item is minimized to make room for up to three other taskbar icons that have been merged with it.
Update: Please note that Bins is no longer free. It is now sold for $4.99 at the developer website instead.
The program can display up to four minimized icons as one taskbar item. It is possible to merge more than four icons but four is the maximum number of icons that will be shown. All icons are accessible on mouse-over.
The original program can still be launched with a left-click on the new taskbar icon. All remaining programs are started by moving the mouse over the icon and selecting the appropriate program from the icon bar that opens.
Who benefits from Bins? Users with many taskbar items, especially with taskbars that are filled to the brim, could utilize Bins to free up room on the taskbar. Then there are users who like the idea of joining multiple pinned taskbar items into logical groups. Instead of having icons for Firefox, Opera, Internet Explorer and Chrome on the taskbar, one could merge them all together to access the individual web browsers from one icon on the taskbar. The same can be done for pinned websites for instance.
Icons that are part of a Bin can be dragged and dropped to the taskbar at anytime to ungroup them. Another option is to right-click an icon and select unpin from group. Bins is compatible with vertical and horizontal taskbars.
The settings can be used to enable or disable features. It is for instance possible to remove the indicator nubs that are placed above icons, move the AeroPeek display above the Bins' popup, or enable that clicking the taskbar icon cycles through all open programs that are grouped together.
Bins has a few limitations currently.
The program has compatibility problems with jumplists and the developers recommend to leave all icons with jumplists that the user makes use of ungrouped.
Taskbar Classic Users can use Bins, but some functionality, like the merged icon or the nubs on top of the icon are not available.
Bins is a handy program for Windows 7 and newer systems, especially those where the taskbar is filled with program icons. It is also useful to group program types together, for instance web browsers, messaging programs or productivity tools.
The one thing that may keep users away from using Bins is the rather high memory usage. The Bins processes accumulated about 100 Megabytes of computer memory after installation.
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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.