Wednesday, April 1

Works for You: Sorting Program Buttons?

Today the powers that be (Kristen over at We Are THAT Family) have decreed a Backwards Works for Me Wednesday! That means I get to ask you to tell me how to do something. I hope you can help.

Okay, this is the point where I must admit I have moments of complete computer geekiness and I just can't help myself. Are we all okay with that? Good. Now we can move on to my little dilemma.

I use Windows XP. I have the lovely blue taskbar across the bottom that shows me which programs I have open. I'm a bit ... particular about the order my programs are listed. I like to have Firefox, for example, all the way to the left of the bar, right next to the Start button.

So, the program buttons' default position is the order in which they were opened. Normally that's not a problem for me, but once in a while, I've opened programs in one order, then I'll need to restart one or I find I'm cutting text back and forth between two programs or whatever and I just need the buttons in a different order.

I know I could close out of the programs and re-open them in the order I'd like, but it seems like there must be a simple way to just re-sort them without having to go to that bother.

So, for all of you computer-savvy folk who are willing to hold off on the "just switch to linux" discussions, please, tell me I can do this (and that you know the simple three-step procedure that will revolutionize my computing experience).

Thank you. That is all.


  1. I don't know of a way to do what you're asking, other than closing and re-opening stuff like you mentioned, but if you get an answer, I'd love to know what it is.

    In the meantime, do you know about ALT-TAB? (This might be a no-brainer for you, I just don't want to assume, because its a big help to me when copying text back and forth, especially).

    If you hold down the ALT key and press TAB once, then let go of both, you'll automatically move to the last program (or window) that was open. If you keep holding the ALT key down, you'll see a window pop up with an icon for each window you have open. You can press TAB repeatedly to move to the next program, and so on. Whatever is selected when you let go of the ALT key, that one will become active.

    Hope that makes sense - I've found that by using ALT-TAB, the order of programs on the taskbar don't bother me nearly as much.

  2. What a fascinating question. I've often thought about doing that, but never cared enough to really dig into it.

    I did a quick Google search, and found a cool utility that is both free, and appears to do exactly what you're looking for. Try:



  3. I also don't have any advice for you specific request, but...

    Another great option I've discovered for copying text back and forth is to hold the CTRL button while clicking on the programs you are copying between, and then right click and select "Tile Horizontally". You can also tile vertically. This way they are both (or all) visible at the same time.

  4. Amy,

    Hi, this is Stacey's husband. I have been using a program called Taskbar Shuffle for several months now. In fact, I make it part of the standard installation on any new computer I use. It's free and it works great.

    I like to always have my email as the first item in my taskbar and I used to have a problem with it crashing. When it did, everything got out of order. Now, I can simply drag everything where I want it.


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