Computer: Desktop: Windows
Active-window Taskbar Sub-button Indicator   (+3)  [vote for, against]
Just to help remind me which sub-button is the active window

This idea is an improvement (in my humble opinion!) of the Windows feature of grouping related buttons on the taskbar.

Sometimes I have several windows open whose taskbar buttons are identical. The most common example is when I have open several e-mail messages with the same subject line.

Without the grouping feature, I can tell which button represents the active window because it's the button that's "pushed in." However, if the grouping feature is on, and buttons are grouped into one main button, the only way to confirm which sub-button represents the active window is by trial and error. I'd like to see some visual indicator on whichever sub-button represents the active window.

It would be nice to have this in alt-tab, as well. There could be some sort of visual indicator of which icon is currently active (the little box shows something else: which icon will be active when the alt key is released).

I realize that, in the alternative, I could simply keep continuous mental track of which window is active.
-- bnip, Feb 27 2008

M$-Windows is like a pizza, the crust of which is made of dog feces: no matter how much you change the toppings...
-- FlyingToaster, Feb 28 2008

I'm curious - if the window is active (and by definition, on top) why the need to select it from the taskbar?

Anyway, if you press Alt+Tab - keeping your findger on the Alt button - you will get a list of active windows in their Z order on the desktop. Repeatedly pressing Tab will cycle through the list so you can select a particular window. Note that if all the windows have the same title, you still won't be able to tell them apart, but that's a software issue not an OS issue.
-- phoenix, Feb 28 2008

To the previous note: There is a powertoy available from msft which will display pictures of the windows as you alt-tab through them.

To the idea: I turn off the "grouping" feature. It is annoying at best.
-- ericscottf, Feb 28 2008

Nuh-huh, the "grouping" feature works great if you have the Taskbar docked on the left or right side of the monitor. It functions differently there than it does when the taskbar is on the bottom row. Try it.

However, it still doesn't highlight which windows are active, and that would be a nice visual improvement.
-- phundug, Feb 28 2008

I added a paragraph about a related alt-tab idea.

//I'm curious - if the window is active (and by definition, on top) why the need to select it from the taskbar?//

I use taskbar buttons to minimize, maximize, and close windows, but you're right that there's never any *need* to use them, since all those functions are available elsewhere. It's just that I do like using taskbar buttons for these functions a lot of the time.

Thanks for the annos, and the buns were delicious.
-- bnip, Feb 28 2008

random, halfbakery