My pet peeve with Windows 7 and 2008R2 (and Windows 8) is the ‘thick’ taskbar. It takes way from desktop area real estate, especially when you have users that still insist on using a 1024×768 resolution. I work with a product that requires a minimum of 1024×768. In reality it should be any resolution higher than that because with you have the thick taskbar enabled by default the bottom of the windows get cut off. It also has hard to distinguish icons, and without the title next to the icon the end users can’t tell how many windows they have open or which one they are looking for.
So here are the Group Policy changes you can make in your domain to have a clean taskbar on every desktop!
To start, enable the Group Policy Object to disable grouping of task bar icons. My preference is to create a new Group Policy Object called “Desktop Standardization” for this.
Next, we will create a custom template to create a group policy entry to turn on the “Use Small Icons”. There is not a GPO for this by default. The following was not created by me but found on two other (probably more) blogs out there.
- With your favorite text editor, copy and paste the text below:
CLASS USER CATEGORY "Taskbar Extras" KEYNAME "Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced" POLICY "Enable small icons on taskbar" EXPLAIN "Enabling this policy will enforce the use of small icons on the taskbar. If not enabled or disabled large icons will be used." VALUENAME "TaskbarSmallIcons" VALUEON NUMERIC 1 VALUEOFF NUMERIC 0 END POLICY END CATEGORY
- Save the file with the extension of .adm
- Launch Group Policy Management from your domain controller.
- Locate your “Group Policy Objects” and create a new object, or right click an existing one and click Edit.
- Expand out User Configuration -> Policies -> Administrative Templates. Right click on Administrative Templates and choose Add/Remove Templates.
- Browse to and select the .adm file you created in step 2.
- You should now the following ‘Classic Administrative Templates’ with Taskbar Extras. Enable the policy.
- Don’t forget to link your object if you did this in a new object!
- Enjoy your clean desktops and two less steps each time you deploy a new workstation or image.
- I wonder if saving the .adm files as .admx in step two would act differently? Bueller?