True Launch Bar is an interesting utility that extends the capabilities of the Quick Launch Toolbar (even on Windows 7, where it doesn't exist any more).
To enable the program, right-click your taskbar, and select Toolbars > True Launch Bar. And immediately you'll see what looks like the Quick Launch Toolbar appear right next to the Windows Start button.
This won't look too impressive, at least initially, but spend a moment learning how the program works and you'll begin to see the advantages. Right-click the True Launch Bar and click New, for instance, and you'll find you have the ability to create menus on the bar, that will display folders or shortcuts. In just a few minutes you can create easy ways to quickly launch all your favourite applications.
True Launch Bar can also be extended with a host of plug-ins, gadget-like tools that deliver all kinds of useful functionality. A little address book shows your contacts as a menu; the Device Manager shows your installed hardware; the Wireless Monitor reveals signal quality of local wireless networks; and there are tools to display the weather, play media files, control Windows Startup programs, display slideshows, start and stop Windows services - the list goes on.
Support for Aero Glass (and Visual Styles on XP) means this all looks great. And the huge number of skins available makes it easy to customise your system in a whole range of ways (take a look at what's on offer here).
What's new in v6.5:
- Glow color for highlighted items text.
- Hotkey support for the "rest items" button (the button with two arrows).
- View modes for the "rest items" menu.
- Hold down CTRL key to run some shortcuts without closing menu.
- "True transparency" for the standalone toolbar (toolbar is transparent, the icons/text are opaque).
- Skins for the Standalone True Launch Bar.
- The Standalone TLB now more similar to the taskbar (with the taskbar style).
- Some minor enhancements.