IE8 on Windows 7: The New Taskbar

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

Comments (31)

  1. truespursfan says:

    What about if you have two browser windows open, one with just one tab and the other with 3 tabs? How would that look on the taskbar.

  2. John says:

    If I subscribe to several RSS feeds is there a way to refresh all of them at once?

    If not there should be.


  3. chace says:

    could you add more jumplist tasks like reopen last browsing session

  4. Lester says:

    Does the "Jump" list show items from "History" that were not generated from IE like IE7/IE8 does on Windows XP(/other versions)?

    Original Bug Report (

    e.g. If I use Firefox or Chrome and download a video that plays in Windows Media Player… then delete the video, and delete my Firefox/Chrome history is it *STILL* going to show up in my "Jump" list?  Ditto for files opened up in exploring windows… e.g. if I open up config.xml in my text editor am I going to see this garbage in my Jump List?

  5. @John, you might already know yet, but just in case … you can right click on a feed and select "Refresh All" to update all feeds.

  6. Heya,

    I find something very problematic with the jump lists, it’s that if my default browser is not IE, and I right click IE’s entry and hit an item from it’s jump list, the site is not opened with IE but with my default browser, which is NOT what I want, if I clicked IE it’s for a reason.

    Do you have any plans to fix such behavior ?


  7. abhilashca says:

    I came here with one doubt and the "FAQ" solved it. I find it really annoying to show all the browser tabs in mouser-over. Bcos, user will get screwed when they open multiple browser windows having multiple tabs.

    One thing I really feel in Win7 is, IE8 is fast im Win7 as compared with WinXP & Vista (sometimes atleast for me).

    Thanks & Cheers & tc.

  8. GoodThings2Life says:

    Great stuff, but how about doing it for the 64-bit version of IE as well… seriously, no jump list for 64-bit?!

  9. BYE BYE IE6 says:

    Microsoft confirms that even they are dropping support for IE6!

    Can’t wait till its gone!

  10. hAl says:


    [quote]IE8 is fast im Win7 as compared with WinXP & Vista[/quote]

    Thhat is likely due to having more and older addons on XP/Vista.

    Windows 7 was a clean install with IE8 having few addons insstalled and if you did install any you probably installed the most recent versions.

    On XP/Vista the IE8 was an upgrade of a previous IE version taking over the already installed old addons from the previous installation. That means unnescesary addons and out of date addons that can slow IE8 down.

  11. Sterling says:

    Have you guys thought about adding the tab grouping feature in IE8 to the Windows 7 Taskbar? I think that would be a nice visual cue and maybe could add a feature to close a group of tabs.

  12. >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.

    Why not just add a task "Run as…" in the jump list menu when you right-click the IE icon?

  13. GT says:

    It does not work correctly with tablet PC!

    Click the hand button on IE 8 Tablet PC, zoom the screen to 110% and then use IE8 for 5 min none, stop, scroll using the hand button, click on the links using the hand button.

    after 2 min: The links are not clicked, or the wrong once open, you click one and it opens another one, IE8 in Windows 7 RC, just does not support tablet pc anymore.

  14. Viktor: because it’s a seldomly required feature. You can always right-click the "Internet Explorer" entry in the jump list to get "Run as administrator", though. This works with every program.

    IE Team: Your list of options to open a new instance is wrong starting with the RC. The taskbar changed behavior, so Win+Number doesn’t open a new instance if one is already running but rather switches to it (which I find irritating as I liked the Beta behavior better which you describe here). Opening a new instance when one is already running can be done with Win+Shift+Number.

  15. Mike says:

    anyway I’m experiencing this in RC build when first launching IE 8 using the "New tab" in jumplist task it does not show the New tab page instead it’s showing my msn homepage.

  16. Mike says:

    could you add the one click favorite button in IE 8 jumplist tasks?

  17. When Microsoft killed off the ability to customize the OS with Vista and decided to dictate what and how users should use instead of letting them decide then all the great new features automatically went null. Add in all the excess junk and all the eye candy, improvements (Solitaire comes to mind mostly), and added technologies really don’t count for anything. I’ll live just fine as a gamer too with DirectX 9. Backwards compatibility isn’t just about programs not crashing, it’s about not getting rid of the features users use. Classic start menu? Gone! Cut, copy, paste, delete buttons in Windows Explorer? Gone! The ability to move the *ENTIRE* My Documents folder to a different physical hard drive? GONE! 7 is nothing more then Vista++ and what we really want is XP++.

  18. Xepol says:

    Sorry, this is perhaps a complaint for the entire Win7 team, but this immediately failed my usability test.

    I put my wife in front of a win7 machine and almsot immediately I was asked "how do I open another window?  it doesn’t do anything when I click it"

    Sorry, but I gotta say it: UTTER FAIL.

    Once I explained it to her, she can do what she needs, but even I find the right click on the icon to open a new window to be pretty kludgy.

    And that is why it is such an utter fail.  It is one thing to replace old behaviour with something more intuitive, but this isn’t.  It is akward, hard to use and even harder to find.  If someone doesn’t explain it to them, many users will simply never find it.

    In many ways Win7 is clearly superiour.  How they mangled the task bar is NOT one of those ways.  

    Because the icon changes what it does based on some implicit context, many people will not adapt well.  They will get frustrated and annoyed that it does not always do the same thing when you click it.  It will be considered "broken" and people WILL hate it.

    Users do not like having to guess what something will do when they click it.

  19. DT says:

    If I want a new window in IE personally I’ll hit the shortcut I have in quick launch (at home) or the browser selection toolbar (at work). As I understand it neither of these are recommended under W7. Fine fine.

    If my mother wants a new window in Firefox she will hit File/New Window, which has an equivalent in IE. This function was also copied into the Page menu when that was introduced.

    If a shortcut user wants a new IE window they hit Ctrl-N.

    You can also hit the IE icon in the start menu and on the desktop. You can also Open In New Window from some context menus, although this is situational.

    Are you saying that all of these options have been removed from W7 IE8?

    I don’t know that a right click menu is going to be hard to find, honestly. Remember that this is the world that on the whole tends to go through the obtuse right-click menu on remove hardware rather than the simple left-click menu. It seems more that this might be hard for people that don’t understand right-clicking in general than anything else.

    As for the icon actions changing, the action is the same for no windows and one window: it gives you an IE window. That it creates one if one doesn’t exist is only an issue if the user is caring more about the mechanics of what’s happening than what they’re trying to do for some reason. The only time it changes is when there are multiple windows open, in which case it functions effectively the same as a collapsed multiwindow IE application in current taskbars.

    That is to say a) It’s an enhanced taskbar, not an enhanced quick launch bar. If you create a new window whenever you click on IE how do you get to the old windows? Actually, I wonder how your wife thought that was going to work.

    And b) Why do you care whether it opens a new window or an existing window when you ask for an internet window? If tabbing didn’t exist I could see it being somewhat of a problem, but it is trivial to open a new tab or window in-application.

  20. anonymous says:

    I can’t separate 2 IE windows and put another program in between two IE windows. I HATE THIS ANNOYING BEHAVIOR AND REGRESSION FROM PREVIOUS WINDOWS VERSIONS BUT THE WINDOWS 7 TEAM JUST LIKES MAKING DECISIONS FOR US. Why does the IE team even bother allow customizing IE tab grouping if the Windows team doesn’t allow customizing taskbar grouping (not to be confused with combining)? Make IE always group similar tabs and take away that option too!

  21. Wilson H says:

    Lester’s question about the IE History bug from Windows XP/IE and Vista/IE being still present in Windows 7 wasn’t addressed.

    Is this bug still present in Windows 7/IE ?  If so does the scope of the bug grow further to include the Windows 7 taskbar jump list?

    I would love to rant about the unsortable-ness of the taskbar itself in the last 12 years but privacy-failures like the IE history bug are much more important at the moment. Can we get clarification from Microsoft/beta testers if this bug still exists?

  22. Wilson H says:

    I forgot to add that this is highly related to feature #3 in the related link in the PC World advert for Inprivate browsing – since the bug that affects IE currently isn’t solved by Inprivate browsing.

  23. MusK says:


    I’ve the same question as "GoodThings2Life" – why there is no support for 64-bit verison of Internet Explorer?

    I can’t stand the lack of support for 64-bit IE from Adobe Flash team or Silverlight team, but you guys should support 64-bit version at the same level as 32-bit IE…

    I hope to see jump list for 64-bit in the next (or final) version of Windows 7.



  24. Dan says:

    Musk, think about it.  You cannot pin the 64bit version of IE for exactly the reason you identified: none of the plugins would work.  Can you imagine how confusing this would be for normal users?  They’d get stuck with a 64bit version on their taskbar, have no idea that it’s 64bits, and wonder why it doesn’t work.  Then they’d go download someone else’s 32bit only browser and off they go.

    There’s really no reason to use 64bit IE at all; the only reason it exists is that 64bit apps need the core technologies it provides.

  25. Lee says:

    "Once I explained it to her, she can do what she needs, but even I find the right click on the icon to open a new window to be pretty kludgy.".

    Personally it works for me but i can understand the problems with other users.  Maybe have an option to open a new window when clicking on the icon in the task bar.  Then the existing windows can be accessed by hovering over the icon (then the 3 windows appear above as in the first screen shot above).  The one issue with this is that it wouldn’t work brilliantly with touch though and i can’t think of a nice way for this without it conflicting with the current gestures but maybe handle single and double tapping differently to handle the 2 cases.

  26. MusK says:

    Dan, I understand your argument but I don’t want to change the default behavior (default setup) of Internet Explorer in Win7. It’s good 32-bit IE is by default on taskbar (same as in WinXP x64 and Vista x64), BUT I’d like to see an option to add 64-bit IE to the taskbar and use jump list goodies.

    Same goes for Windows Media Player x64 – this app should also get the same jump list functionality as its 32-bit counterpart.

    As I wrote – I strongly agree 32-bit IE should be the default option but at the same time we should get the chance to use 64-bit IE with jump list…

    And yes – there are reasons to use 64-bit IE – by default all 64-bit Windows apps use DEP (well, 32-bit IE can use it too…) and more importantly – 64-bit web browsers decode jpeg (image) files faster than 32-bit versions. The difference isn’t that big, but still it’s faster.

    As for me I usually use 64-bit IE with "Open this page in 32bit IE" button (by EricLaw) for sites with Flash or Silverlight. Works just fine.



  27. dlh2009 says:

    It would be really cool if we could drag tabs from one browser to another and from one browser to our desktops to open up another browser. That would be a useful feature.

  28. M. Paradise says:

    I think I like this, were it not for the annoying bugs:

    1. Icons graphics sometimes disappear, being replaced with a white/blank document.   Manually setting the icon does not fix this. The button still works correctly, though.

    2. More annoying: I have an entry in my taskbar that is a lebeled "TaskBar".  I cannot delete it.  It apparently links to the user TaskBar folder, but it does not have a fodler icon. When I click on it, Windows prompts me with a "What do I open this with?" style dialog.  Deleting it tells me I need permission to delete it from … me.  The currently logged in user.  

    3. More annoying: I created a shortcut to cmd.exe in the taskbar.  Suddenly the icon went away (can’t think of any causing factor).  I click on it – and unlike when other icons have disappeared (1, above), it also can’t find the program.    The thing about this I also can’t delete this empty "placeholder" from the taskbar – it keeps telling me that it can’t find the file it’s trying to delete. There’s no "unpin" option.  The shortcut is not present in the folder which contains tthe other shortcuts…

    Don’t let the issues fool you – I think I really like the way this is going. Some innovative new ideas that will work well as people get used to them.  

    However, the implementation is buggy right now.  Unfortunately, I can’t find any tools for reporting bugs/issues, so figured I’d post here in hopes that it was noticed.  (What’s the point in having people d/l an open RC if you only let them send feedback when something crashes or hangs?)

  29. DanG says:

    I am experiencing a significant problem with Win7 RC7100 X64 regarding the taskbar:

    When I open a large number of browser windows (either IE or Firefox), the grouping becomes a scroll list (which is fine and how I want it) however, the problem is that the ORDER of windows in the list combined with the SCROLLING of the list, makes for an extremely counter-intuitive situation. I’ll explain:

    Let’s say I have 50 browser windows open (yes, i’m crazy. that’s how I work)

    Now I open a new window.

    The position of that window in the taskbar grouping button list, is LAST AT THE BOTTOM.

    This gets worse because the SCROLLING of said grouping list, starts from TOP TO BOTTOM, which means, if I minimized that new window, in order to get it back, I have to scroll allll the way down in the grouping list, in order to get to it.

    this means that all the new windows are the least accessible in this situation.

    this is very problematic for workflow.

    Two simple solutions can be utilized:

    1. change the ordering of new windows to be on top of the list instead of bottom.


    2. change the order of the scrolling to start from the bottom and scroll up, instead of starting up and scrolling to the bottom.

    (and for god sake, don’t do both, because that will keep the situation the same, just reversed)

    either solution would be good enough to solve this issue, which to me is really significant in affecting my workflow terribly.

  30. Snothinee says:

    Hello. I am Jenny. Im new to the forum and just wanted to say i welcome all of you and hope we will have some fun here together 🙂

  31. Danny D says:

    i am also having an issue with the icons in start menu where the icon beside the respective program/folder is replaced with a white/blank document.  also, if i click on multiple program groups, it opens the 1st few, and takes quite a while to open the rest.  while it waits for those to open, a magnifying glass is desplayed over the folder icon.

    Windows 7 RC1


    System is an i7 920, 6Gig DDR3, Radeon HD 4770 512Mb DDR5.

    Any help would be appreciated as this is very annoying.


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