TaskSwitchXP has many features, but there are really two that I already
started getting quite used to:
- A bulleted list of the available tasks, as shown above.
Windows’ default task switcher only shows you icons of the tasks, and will
only display text when you put the focus on one of them. With
TaskSwitchXP, you can see the name of the tasks right away and navigate
there in a completely foolproof way (you can also use the mouse and multiple
- Being able to move any task to the system tray. Not all
programs let you minimize them in the tray and end up taking up an entire
slot in the task bar, which can become sparse pretty quick.
You don’t really realize how much you depend on task switching until you try
another utility than Window’s default one. And when you do, the first
thing you really want is for the behavior to be exactly the same. Not only
do I use Alt-Tab and Alt-Shift-Tab a lot, I now have very
precise expectations on the stacking order of my windows.
I use both Windows XP and Linux at work, and I realize this fact the hard way
every day whenever I try to task-switch on KDE. Not only is the task
switcher ugly and very hard to use (very small icons), it uses a stacking order
logic that I still haven’t been able to completely figure out.
As far as I can tell, TaskSwitchXP is completely compatible with the default
task switcher and it also adds interesting features like being able to switch
only between the instances of your current window (for example, you are in a
FireFox window and you want to switch to another FireFox windows). The
default hotkey for this functionality is a bit awkward, so I ‘ll probaby want to
change it (TaskSwitchXP is completely configurable), but once I have found one
that I want, I will probably start using this feature a lot.
I’m curious to revisit this choice in a few weeks and find out if I have
gotten hooked to it. In the meantime, try it, it’s small, inconspicuous
and completely free.