Updated: 06/02/2020 by Computer Hope

The taskbar is an element of an operating system located at the bottom of the screen. It allows you to locate and launch programs through Start and the Start menu, or view any program that's currently open. On the right side of the taskbar is the Notification Area that allows you to check the date and time, items running in the background. The taskbar first introduced with Microsoft Windows 95 and is found in all subsequent versions of Windows.


Users more familiar with Apple Macintosh computers can think of the taskbar as the Dock.

Windows taskbars

The picture above shows the Windows taskbar throughout Windows history. Except for the Quick Launch feature, the taskbar in Windows 95, 98, ME, NT 4.0 resembled the Windows 98 taskbar. With the release of Windows Vista and 7, Microsoft removed the Quick Launch, added the Start Orb, and allowed icons in the Windows Notification Area to be hidden. With Windows 8, Microsoft removed the Start button, but later added it back in Windows 8.1. Windows 10 resembles Windows 8.1, but with a new Cortana search box. Below is an overview of the Microsoft Windows 10 taskbar with each of its major elements listed.

Windows taskbar

Should I use "taskbar" or "task bar" in my writing?

Always write "taskbar" as one word and in lowercase.

Live taskbar previews, Operating system terms, Quick Launch, Task