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windows xp taskbar icons
windows vista taskbar icons

Windows 7 comes with a redesigned Taskbar which has a lot of improvements, one of them being the buttons which only show the icons in the taskbar. You can achieve something similar for Windows XP and Vista, by using Taskbaric (thanks to BlogsDNA for the tip), a small program with a simple purpose: to iconize Windows taskbar buttons.

Displaying Program icons instead full program name helps to save real estate of taskbar making is easier to switch between applications.

How to use Taskbaric

Firstly, you need to download Taskbaric and then run the appropriate executable for your Windows (XP or Vista). No installation is required and reverting the changes is really simple: just run the .exe file again. You may want to add the Taskbaric .exe to your startup items. But don't worry, once the program has been started, it won't stay loaded into your computer's memory.

Secondly, you need to run a .reg file created by Vishal which you can download from HERE. The purpose of this registry file is to shrink the buttons to the icon's width. The downloaded archive comes with two .reg files: one for applying the changes and one for reverting so anything you modify can be restored to it's original state!

That's it.