Space on the Windows Taskbar is very limited. If you open too many programs, Windows forces you to scroll inconveniently to see all the buttons. To switch between applications, you must then click your way through with small arrows to the correct page.
If you know the icons belonging to the program anyway, you can do away with the plain text descriptions and shrink the buttons to a minimum width. For that, open the registry editor in XP with “Start | Run”, “regedit” and a click on “OK”. In Vista, you can instead directly type “regedit” in the search field of the Start menu and hit enter. In the tree structure on the left side of the editor, navigate to the “HKEY_CURRENT_USER\ControlPanel\Desktop\WindowMetrics” key and create the entry “MinWidth” with “Edit | New | Character string”. Then open it by double clicking and in the “Edit character string” dialog, enter “-270” as the “Value”. Confirm with “OK”. Close the registry editor with “File |Exit”.
The taskbar is now more lucid and offers more space for icons. Contrary to Vista, XP leaves a small remainder of the name visible which cannot be removed. Information such as the name of a Word document is displayed by Windows as soon as place the mouse cursor hovers over the relevant application's button on the taskbar.