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Bounty(Paid!) for Increasing Windows Vista Taskbar Preview Size

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Ever since Windows Vista came out, I’ve been trying to figure out how to increase the size of the tiny Windows Vista taskbar preview windows. I’ve scoured the registry, used process monitor to try and find hidden registry keys, and looked at every setting I could find anywhere with no luck.


So I’ve decided in honor of us hitting the 10k subscriber mark, I’m going to offer $103.15 to the first person that can figure out a way to increase the size of the native preview windows shown here.


Here’s the rules:

  • Solution can be a registry hack or an application, but must utilize the built-in previews or if it’s a replacement, it must at least use the new window compositing engine.
  • Solution must allow the user to choose the size, either in specific or relative proportions.
  • If the solution is an application, it must be open source so we can all truly enjoy it.
  • If it’s a registry hack then it can’t be published somewhere else first. How-To Geek readers should get to read it first.
  • I don’t want to hear about VisualTooltip or Visual Task Tips. While they are both fine applications, they are made for XP and don’t use the compositing engine, so they are much slower than the built-in previews. Hint: You should be able to watch a video in the preview like you can with the built-in previews.
  • Payment will be either amazon gift card or visa gift card… I have no idea how that works, so I’ll look into it.
  • Submit any entries to me via email.

I’m very interested to see what the community comes up with. Why $103.15 exactly? I dunno, it just felt right. If anybody else would like to pledge money towards this cause, let me know.

Update: Reader Shawn won the bounty by writing in with a link to Vista Thumbnail Sizer, a utility written by Andreas Verhoeven. More details after the jump…

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 07/12/07

Comments (20)

  1. Ryan Wagner

    Looks like I’ve done a lot of the same things you have by going through the registry and trying to figure out where those settings are stored. But it’s probably just the people at Microsoft who know how.

  2. The Geek

    Yeah, I don’t think there’s a built-in setting for it… but I figured there might be some way to hijack the process, or at least create a really efficient replacement.

  3. Scott

    I hope this works and if so, I’ll fund a similar contest to get Active Desktop running in Vista :)

  4. Cody

    Here is exactly how you do it:

    1. Remove Vista.

    2. Install Ubuntu w/ Compiz Fusion.

    3. Send me my $103.15.

  5. The Geek


    Where do you think I got the idea? I want the same thing in Vista, dammit! =)

  6. Ted

    I found this for PhotoGallery, maybe it changes the thumbnail size ‘globally’. The taskbar just shows ‘dynamic thumbnails’, so maybe manipulating the thumbnail system in one application will put it globally…

    Just a thought.. Here’s the how-to.

    A toolbar across the top of Windows Photo Gallery offers shortcuts to tasks and information, while the familiar left-hand navigation bar provides easy access to organizational elements. You can use the control bar at the bottom of the screen to launch a slide show with a single click, and use the slider to quickly resize your thumbnails for comfortable viewing.

    Of course, I run Kubuntu, so I’ve had wobbly windows before wobbly windows were ‘in’. LOL!
    GL! and I will keep looking, please let me know if this works or fails. I do NOT have Vista to test with, so you are my guinea pig.

  7. Tony Diaz

    I submit my solution by email.

  8. Mark Zeeler

    Geek, doesn’t it make more sense to give the money to the guy that actually wrote the freeware app than an end-user of his? Or at the very least, split it 50-50….

  9. The Geek


    Of course… the author will get paid too, don’t worry =)

    I think next time I’ll be more clear about who gets paid for what and how much…

  10. Scott

    Hey Geek,

    Just wondering if you noticed that while this fix works great, you lose the ‘real-time’ functionality. When you hover over a mimized program in the taskbar, the flyout is at a time you last looked at that page.

    Noticed on a stock page of mine, the prices weren’t flashing (I do believe they did with the original, smaller thumbnail).


  11. Scott

    Okay, I removed the -hide switch and it seems to be updating. Please disregard previous comment.

    Thanks, Scott

  12. The Geek


    You might notice that the thumbnails don’t update when the window is minimized… I think that’s the default behavior for the compositing engine in Vista.

    All this tweak does is modify the size of them, not the way they are drawn… I’ve gone through the source code so I could understand it myself =)

  13. Scott

    Ah, I see. The way around this is to not minimize the program, just open a different one. When I do it that way, I get the flashing prices, when the page is minimized first, I do not.

  14. The Geek

    Yeah… I thought the same exact thing you did when I first was testing it for this article. =)

  15. Nate

    not mine but i found this:

  16. The Geek


    That’s the one we are all talking about =)

  17. Eli

    Did any one get paid already?

  18. joesmo

    hey i cant get the preview to work at all. suggestions or instructions?

  19. chris

    I’m glad you found an answer to this but it would have been nice to have it a tweak only solution – I’ve already got VirtuaWIN to give me multiple desktop spaces (like Linux) and My Expose to give me F9 window sorting (like Mac)

    I worry about having a million apps starting at start up and eating my precious ramz’

    (Ironically I also boot linux (red hat) and OSx and they don’t feel as nice to use as Vista.)


    AVE Thumbnailsizer is what i use for this solution.And the box is adjustable.Enjoy if you dont have it already.

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