7+ Taskbar Tweaker v4.5, with Windows 8.1 Update 1 support

7+ Taskbar Tweaker v4.5, the stable version that is compatible with Windows 8.1 Update 1, is finally out!

Two months ago, I’ve created a blog post describing why adding support for the new Windows update is not trivial, and provided a way for you, the users, to support the porting effort with donations. I was pleasantly surprised by the quick completion of the goal. I want to thank everybody who supported the porting effort: Charles George, Justin Shillock (Platypus Man), and other contributors.

In addition to the support of Windows 8.1 Update 1, 7+ Taskbar Tweaker v4.5 fixes a couple of minor bugs comparing to v4.4.6. One issue that is still left unsolved is the lack of proper support for Metro taskbar items. Windows 8.1 Update 1 has a separate handling logic for Metro tasks, so it will require some effort. I plan to get this fixed in one of the future versions.

You can get 7+ Taskbar Tweaker v4.5 here.

Posted in Software, Updates at May 10th, 2014. 12 Comments.

7+ Taskbar Tweaker for Windows 8.1 Update 1: early alpha version

An update for Windows 8.1, called Update 1 or the Spring Update, was officially released by Microsoft a couple of days ago. This update broke compatibility with 7+ Taskbar Tweaker. I’ve published a post, 7+ Taskbar Tweaker and Windows 8.1 Update 1, explaining the reasons for the breakage.

Today, I’m happy to announce that the first pre-release alpha version is available for testing! If you have donated for the effort, you can get the link here.

Currently, only the 32-bit version is available. I hope to get the 64-bit version done within the following week. Stay tuned!

Update (April 17): The 64-bit version is available as well! Please try it, and report any issues you stumble upon.

Update (April 26): A new version is available, which fixes a couple of issues. Also, this is the first alpha version which can be installed, unlike previous alpha version which were available as portable versions only.

Update (May 2): A public beta version is available here.

Update (May 10): 7+ Taskbar Tweaker v4.5, a stable version with Windows 8.1 Update 1 support, was released.

Posted in Software, Updates at April 13th, 2014. 105 Comments.

7+ Taskbar Tweaker and Windows 8.1 Update 1

As some of you know, Microsoft is working on an update for Windows 8.1, called “Update 1″. Also, some of you might know that 7+ Taskbar Tweaker doesn’t work with this update installed. There’s a topic on UserEcho about it, and users are wondering how come I don’t fix the issue. In this post, I’d like to shed some light on the situation.

Why doesn’t the tweaker work with the update installed?

It’s just an update, right? Not a new Windows version. The taskbar looks the same. How come that the tweaker is not working anymore?
Well, the thing is that the tweaker depends on the exact structure of many internal elements of explorer. Any small change can make the tweaker break, and the fact that it doesn’t can be attributed to the great care of Microsoft for backwards compatibility. At least, that’s the way it was until “Update 1″.

Since Windows 7, the earliest OS supported by the tweaker, Microsoft didn’t introduce major changes to the OS while the NT version number stayed the same. Even with Windows 7 SP1, the tweaker worked without adjustments. With Windows 8.1 Update 1, the situation is different: the OS has changed, but its version stayed the same.

What does it mean in the short term?

In order to add support for Windows 8.1 Update 1, lots of adjustments have to be made, similar to the adjustments I had to make when adding support for Windows 8 and Windows 8.1.
While I’d be glad to add support right away, there are a couple of things to consider:

  • Availability of the final RTM version of Windows 8.1 Update 1. To be able to add support for the OS, I need to be able to work with it. They say that there’s a leaked build of the RTM version, but recent news mention a newer version, which means that the leaked one is probably not RTM. Google for Windows 8.1 9600.17042.
  • Availability of debug symbols. While they’re not a must, they significantly simplify the porting process. As far as I know, there are no debug symbols available for the binaries of Windows 8.1 Update 1 yet.
  • Time. Porting requires time, and there’s not always plenty of it.

What does it mean in the long term?

The fact that Windows 8.1 Update 1 is the first time when the OS changes, but the OS version doesn’t, means that Microsoft is changing its tactics. It seems like Microsoft tries to move to a more rapid development cycle. The question is – how rapid is it going to be? If the updates are going to be too frequent, I might not be able to keep the tweaker updated.

How can I help?

Unless you work at Microsoft, you probably can’t help me with the first two points mentioned above. But you can help me with the third one.
You can donate the project to help me dedicate time for the porting.
Include the w8u1p (Windows 8.1 Update 1 Porting) word in the donation comments to specify that your donation is targeted for the porting.

Below is a progress bar of the donations, with the goal set as the estimated time the porting is going to take, with an average wage.

$1204 out of $1000

All donors will get access to early alpha versions during the porting process.
Also, the top three donors will get mentioned in the changelog.
If the goal is hit before the RTM is released or before the debug symbols become available, I’ll start working with what we have.

Thanks in advance for your help!

Update (April 14): The goal was reached! I want to thank everybody who took part and donated for the porting. The first alpha version is available for testing (more details).

Posted in Software, Updates at March 15th, 2014. 54 Comments.

7+ Taskbar Tweaker: beta versions

Starting from today, I’m going to publish beta versions of 7+ Taskbar Tweaker along with the regular, stable releases.

There are several rationals for this decision:

  • Avoiding bugs in stable releases. This is usually the main purpose of beta versions.
    Two of the tweaker’s most recent releases were followed by a hotfix the day after, just because I missed a minor thing or two. This is also quite relevant to the next point.

  • Minimizing the frequency of update notifications. The tweaker automatically notifies when a new version is available. While this is a great feature, it can be annoying if the notification appears frequently, especially if it appears two days in a row.
    Silent updates were suggested as an alternative solution, but first, they have to be implemented. Second, I’m not sure that 7+ Taskbar Tweaker is the right tool for this feature. It’s a low-level system tool, and it can screw things up, so if something goes wrong you can see it was caused by an update.

  • Providing fixes which affect a very limited amount of users. There are issues which affect only users with a particular setup, a unique combination of options, etc. In such cases, it’s important to provide them with a fix, but it’s not a good idea to push this update to most of the other users, especially if the latest version was just recently released (see previous point).

Read More…

Posted in Software, Updates at January 9th, 2014. 12 Comments.

7+ Taskbar Tweaker v4.4

7+ Taskbar Tweaker v4.4 is out.

  • New option: Hide the Start button.
    The option works for Windows 7 and Windows 8.1.
    To open the Start menu in Windows 7, you can click on the corner where the Start button was located.
    To open the Start screen in Windows 8.1, you can click the lower-left corner of the screen.

    Before
    w81_startbtn_before

    After
    w81_startbtn_after

  • New option: Show Start menu/Start screen by double/middle clicking on the empty space.
    7+ Taskbar Tweaker allows you to assign an action to double middle clicking on the empty space of the taskbar.
    Now there’s one more option to choose from.

  • Advanced Options Editor.
    Read More…

Posted in Software, Updates at November 12th, 2013. 59 Comments.

7+ Taskbar Tweaker v4.3, now with Windows 8.1 support

7+ Taskbar Tweaker v4.3 is out, which finally introduces support for Windows 8.1.
In addition, the new version contains some bug fixes and small improvements, so it’s a recommended update even for non-Windows 8.1 users.

Posted in Software, Updates at October 4th, 2013. 19 Comments.

7+ Taskbar Tweaker: experimental version with partial Windows 8.1 Preview support

Here is an experimental version of 7+ Taskbar Tweaker which mostly works on Windows 8.1 Preview:

Removed. 7+ Taskbar Tweaker now officially supports Windows 8.1.

Options that currently do not work:

  • Thumbnails: Left click on the active thumbnail minimizes the window.
  • Combining: Combine grouped buttons.
  • Other: Don’t show jump list when dragging a taskbar item towards the desktop.

Technical information

So, why did the options above stop working? Not much was changed about the taskbar in Windows 8.1, after all.

Short answer
Because Microsoft uses better code optimization, it became more difficult to control the code functionality.

Long answer
Read More…

Posted in Software, Updates at July 10th, 2013. 24 Comments.

Hung windows and taskbar buttons rearrangement

Did the above ever happen to you?

I sometimes encounter the issue, which is not critical, but may be very annoying at times.
I’ve also received a couple of bug reports about it, so I decided to take a closer look.
Read More…

Posted in Software, Updates at April 26th, 2013. 20 Comments.

7+ Taskbar Tweaker v4.2

7+ Taskbar Tweaker v4.2 is out.

  • New option: Display seconds on the tray clock.

  • New option: Don’t show jump list when dragging a taskbar item towards the desktop.

    By default, when you drag a taskbar item towards the desktop, the jump list appears. This option disables it.

  • Simplified Chinese translation of the help file.

    Translated by horan. Thanks!

  • Better injection method.

    I’ve got several reports about an issue where the tweaker showed the following message: 7+ Taskbar Tweaker: Could not load library.
    I don’t know what might cause this, and it seems to be quite random, e.g. a user told me he could solve it by installing the tweaker to a different path.

    In this version, I improved the injection method, so this issue may be solved.

    Another thing I did is adding an identifier to the error message, which will give me a clue about the cause of the error.
    If you encounter an error similar to the screenshot below, please contact me, providing the exact message. Thanks.

    7tt_42_inject_error

  • Other small fixes.

Posted in Software, Updates at April 13th, 2013. 48 Comments.

7+ Taskbar Tweaker v4.1

7+ Taskbar Tweaker v4.1 is out.

The most important change is the new help file, which explains the available tweaks. It should make it easier to get started with the tweaker.

Also, 7+ Taskbar Tweaker has a new bug/feature tracker.

Among other changes:

  • Update notification: A checkbox for not notifying about a particular version.
  • Latvian translation, thanks Aigars Jacmenkins!
  • Windows volume control (SndVol.exe) runs in higher priority for better performance.
  • Fixed right drag detach on vertical taskbar (“Drag within/between groups using right mouse button” option).
  • Rebuilt the portable launcher to support older processors (versions 4.0.4 to 4.0.10 supported only processors with SSE2 instruction set).

Note
There is a bug in versions 4.0.10 and lower, which may lead to a crash when trying to update.
If you encounter such an issue, please download and update manually.
Sorry for the inconvenience.

Posted in Software, Updates at December 14th, 2012. 22 Comments.