Windows 7 Tricks: Speed Up Taskbar Items Preview
Article by George Norman
On 10 Feb 2009
Now that you are able to automatically skip the logon screen and are aware of how to enable quick launch and enhance the Send To menu, it is time to present one more Windows 7 tweak, mainly how to speed up taskbar thumbnail preview. By simply hovering your mouse over the taskbar (where tabs of the open applications and documents are displayed) you will be able to see a thumbnail preview of the aforementioned app or doc. This is a great feature I will admit, but it does tend to hang a bit.

Eye candy is good, but efficiency is even better; why else would you bother with things like the new Windows 7 keyboard shortcuts? The same goes with this taskbar thumbnail preview; when the “wow” factor gets old we would much rather get a faster preview as opposed to the default time of 400 milliseconds.


Follow this simple step by step guide if you find the default time set for the thumbnail preview is not to your liking:
- Windows + R to access the Registry Editor. Alternatively you could just as easily type in “regedit” into Run (here is how to put it back in the Start menu).
- Locate HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Mouse.
- Double click MouseHoverTime and modify the Value data (the default was 400, just enter 0 for the fastest possible taskbar thumbnail preview).
- Save the changes and close the Registry Editor.

If you have properly followed the instructions presented above then you will get a much faster thumbnail preview in your Windows 7 OS. Verifying this is as simple as hovering your mouse over a taskbar item.

For the security oriented Windows 7 user I have to mention the fact that the UAC (user account control) seems to be flawed: a person with malicious intent could disable it and malicious applications could elevate their privileges. Microsoft did say that they will address the issue in future Windows 7 RC, but until then you would best set UAC to “Always prompt”, even if it is more annoying.

Tags: Microsoft, Windows 7
About the author: George Norman
George is a news editor.
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