My question is about the annoying (in my opinion) pop-ups that come up whenever
you hover your mouse over any open icon on the task bar (they show a thumbnail
of the open page). I would really like to know how to safely disable this
feature. I have searched Google, but the solutions given seem a bit scary. From
my searches, I know that this is a problem for many users.
I did some looking around (as you did) and I found that you’re definitely not
Personally, I find it handy and appreciate it.
But as we’ve seen time and time again, one person’s feature is another
Unfortunately for this particular feature, there’s no simple switch to throw
to turn it on or off (Which I can also understand, because there’s no way that
Microsoft could possibly introduce a UI setting for every possible feature or
So, we have to improvise.
Live Taskbar Previews
First, a quick clarification of the feature that we’re talking about.
The concept is simple: If you hover your mouse over the icon of a running program in your taskbar, a small preview window showing the current contents of that application appears.
In Windows 7, you can point to a taskbar button to see a live preview of its open windows-including webpages and live video. Move your mouse over a thumbnail to preview the window full screen, and click it to go open the window. You can even close windows and pause video and songs from the thumbnail previews-a big time saver.
Like I said, to me, it’s kinda handy.
To others, the fact that it obscures what’s behind it is more annoying than helpful.
There are two approaches to dealing with this feature.
The sledgehammer: Turn off Aero
Live Taskbar Preview is part of the Aero feature set that provides glassy-looking window borders, some fancier task switching looks, and so on.
One way to deal with this is to simply turn Aero off.
Right-click an empty area on your desktop and click Personalize:
Simply choose a theme from the “Basic and High Contrast Themes” section. You can then re-apply any custom background image or other changes that you’ve made.
Live Taskbar Preview will no longer happen.
The scalpel: Edit the registry
This doesn’t so much remove the feature as move it out of the way for a while.
Using the registry editor, we can add a value that tells Windows how long to delay the display of the live preview. Normally, it’s instantaneous, but we can set it to be some amount of time. That way, it’s less likely to happen.
Run the registry editor. (Start -> Run and enter “regedit” followed by Enter, or type Windows Key + R and enter “regedit” followed by Enter).
Navigate to HKEY_CURRENT_USER \ Software \ Microsoft \ Windows \ CurrentVersion \ Explorer \ Advanced by clicking on the small right-pointing triangle next to each element in turn, until you reach “Advanced”. Click Advanced:
With Advanced selected as shown above, click the Edit menu, then the New menu item, and then the DWORD (32-bit) Value sub-menu item:
Enter ExtendedUIHoverTime (exactly) as the name of the newly created registry key and press Enter:
Right-click ExtendedUIHoverTime and click Modify…:
Make sure that Decimal is selected and enter the number of milliseconds that Windows should wait before displaying the live preview. In the example above, I’ve entered 20000 to make the delay 20 seconds.
Click OK and close the registry editor.
You may need to reboot for this new setting to take effect.
Now, when you hover over a running application in the task bar, you’ll simply get the window title in a tooltip:
That will disappear after the normal tooltip timeout; sometime later, after the timeout that you specified above, the Live Preview will be displayed.
Avoiding the scalpel, but…
If you trust me, and only if you trust me, click this link:
That’s a link to a “.reg” file that, when run, will add the ExtendedUIHoverTime setting with a time of 20 seconds.
Because downloading “.reg” files from the internet is often considered a security issue, your anti-malware tools may complain. If that happens, you should be able to right-click, save that to a folder on your machine, and then double-click on the file to run it.
In either case, you’ll be presented with the following warning:
If you click Yes, then the registry value will be added and you’ll get this confirmation:
You still may need to reboot for the change to become effective.