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A Look Into Windows 8 Features For Application Window Management In A Multi-Monitor Setup

Nowadays, most people like to use multi-monitor setup. Not only more than one monitor provides extra screen real estate, but it may prove to be a big time saver, especially if you’re a heavy multitasker. Windows 7’s approach to multi-monitor setups is nothing short of brilliant, making full use of resolution in games, applications, slideshow presentations and whatnot, but what it lacks is taskbar support for more than one display. For instance, if you wish to expand taskbar across all connected display monitors, you need to use third party applications, as Windows 7 (or any of its predecessors) doesn’t have this option by default. With Windows 8, it looks like Microsoft finally listened to the users and has addressed this issue. Not only does Windows 8 spans the taskbar across all your screens, but it also provides a few useful options to handle the running applications (accessible from taskbar). In what follows, we will explain how you can make use of multi-monitor setup related options available in Windows 8.


The screenshot below shows the Taskbar Properties sheet we all know about. In case you’re unfamiliar, it can be accessed by right clicking the taskbar and then selecting Properties option. It looks pretty similar to Windows 7 Taskbar Properties sheet, but it also enables you to toggle the taskbar, and contains “Show taskbar buttons on”  section that includes some multi-montor setup specific options including All taskbars, Main taskbar and taskbar where window is open, and Taskbar where window is open.

Taskbar Properties_2012-09-03_15-07-17

If you select All taskbars, applications that are pinned to taskbar will be displayed on all of your screens, along with applications that are currently running. This option is useful in situations where you basically want a central display to handle application windows, which are spread across all the display monitors.

All Taskbars-Taskbars

The second option, Main taskbar and taskbar where window is open, is also quite handy. It keeps taskbar buttons of running applications on all the displays (only pinned apps are kept on primary screen). For instance, this option is useful when you want to restore or minimize (or even close) apps from the display monitor in focus. Keep in mind that if you close multiple windows of applications like web browsers even from one display, every instance of the application will be closed from all the connected displays.


The third and last option, Taskbar where window is open, is for those who want to manage application instances separately on each screen. It only displays the application taskbar button on screen where the application is running. For example, if application’s instances are running on different display monitors, closing an application windows from one display will not close the application windows on other display monitors.


If you, for instance, right click Firefox taskbar button, which has multiple windows opened on different displays, clicking Close all windows on this display will only close windows on the current screen.

Close all windows on this display

It must be noted that when you select All taskbars from Taskbar Properties sheet, you will be able to close all opened windows of an application from the taskbar.

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