One of the most obvious changes you’ll see when you first boot into Windows 7 is the new taskbar dubbed the “superbar”. Most people like it, some don’t, but I think overall its a large improvement over that little strip of screen real estate which has not had a major renovation since Windows XP.
For some users, one hurdle of the new “superbar” is its enormous size, or so it appears. To set the record straight, I conducted a little side-by-side experiment with two quick-launch items and two active applications on both Vista and Windows 7. Together with a measuring tape in one hand and a magnifying glass in the other, I counted. Soon enough, I grew impatient and resorted to Photoshop instead. Here’s how they measured up.
In conclusion, some interesting findings. The Windows Start “pearl” button actually shrunk by about 8 pixels. Quick launch items are given more than twice the width and three times the width with Windows 7′s small and large icons respectively. Application buttons have relatively remain unchanged from Vista (and do not change in width with small icons), at the same time appearing much more elegant.
In summary, if you want a taskbar experience as close to Vista as possible in terms of real-estate, then enabling “small icons” will get you there. On the other hand, the default “large icons” won’t kill you either. In fact, if you don’t pin anything to the taskbar, then you’ll only lose 2 pixels per application whilst gaining 8 pixels from the Start button. What will you ever do with all those extra pixels.