An Introduction to Windows Live Toolbar v3.0

by Ross McKillop on August 22, 2006

This article will serve as an introduction and “setup guide” for the Windows Live Toolbar, version 3.0. The Windows Live Toolbar requires that you have Internet Explorer 6 installed, and must be using Microsoft Windows XP SP2, Windows Server 2003 or Windows 2000 SP4. It’s also suggested that you have a screen resolution of 1024 x 768 (or higher).

To download and install the Windows Live Toolbar, visit
http://toolbar.live.com/ and follow the instructions from there.

After you’ve installed the Toolbar, one of the first things you’ll want to do is customize it to your liking. Start by opening the Toolbar preferences. To do so, select the drop-down arrow next to the main Toolbar icon (see image below) and select Toolbar Options…

Windows Live Toolbar options

From here you can add or remove the buttons and tools. Start by removing some of the buttons or tools you know that you won’t use. For example, if you’re not ever going to use the Microsoft Live Writer to update your blog, it’s a good idea to remove it from your Toolbar.

Windows Live Toolbar options display
Click to enlarge

One of the interesting (and surprising) features is that you can change the default search engine that the Windows Live Toolbar uses. To do so, select Web Search from the list of options in the left column of the Options.

To make Google your default search engine in the Microsoft Live Toolbar, select Other search service and then enter: http://www.google.com/search?hl=en&q=$w

Windows Live Toolbar options web search
Click to enlarge

The Windows Live Toolbar also (finally) introduces Tabbed Browsing to Internet Explorer 6. Click the large blue + (plus) sign to open a new tab. You can also open a new tab just by double-clicking on a blank space in anywhere in the Toolbar row.

Windows Live Toolbar add a new tab

You can also create “sets” of tabs – which can be very handy if you like to start each day by reading a number of different web sites. To create a set of tabs, one by one open each site in its own tab. When you’re ready, select the small arrow next to the Open My Tabs button, and choose Set Current Pages as My Tabs from the drop-down list.

Windows Live Toolbar set of tabs

If you’re prompted to over-write your current My Tabs, click Yes

Windows Live Toolbar confirmation window

Another handy way to use Tabs is to open a group of favorites all at once. For example, if you have a Sports folder where you save all of your favorite sports sites, you can open them all at once (each in their own tab). Start by selecting the small arrow next to the My Tabs button, then Open Favorites in Tabs, then the folder name, and finally Open in Tabs.

Windows Live Toolbar open favoritesin tabs
Click to enlarge


Download and install more buttons and tools for the Windows Live Toolbar by visiting the Toolbar Gallery.

Obviously you’ll want to install the Simplehelp button :)

Customize your Windows Live Toolbar even further with buttons for your favorite web sites by using the online at tool at http://gallery.live.com/createcustombutton.aspx.

  • http://www.wflinn.com The Gonz

    First Comment: I installed this a few weeks ago. IE on one of my machines was having some funky problem probably due to a patch, and installing this toolbar magically fixed it. I am not a big fan of add-on toolbars, but I will say that I have found a lot of good functionality with this tool bar.

    Second Comment: I will be interested to see how the IE7 upgrade interacts with this toolbar if people have it installed. The reason I mention it is because IE7 is going to be offered via Windows/Automatic Updates in Q4 of this year. This tool bar has many features of IE7. I am just curious to see if it leaves a second tool bar with repeat features. And to be honest with you (might be off-topic here), I’m not sure yet if it will be wise to allow IE7 to be automatically offered for installation – especially for thse folks who always operate in “Spouse Mode” and just hit “Yes”, “Yes”, “Yes” every time they see something appear on their screen. Might be a good idea to maybe put a blurb about the IE7 blocker. I will put that in my blog as well – since you and I are linked to each other’s sites, we will have it covered.

    “The Gonz”

  • http://www.simplehelp.net Ross

    Gonz,

    I’m a bit curious what will happen w/ IE7 too. The “RSS reader” (Onfolio) built into this Toolbar is flakey at best (I could only get it to work about half the time). I know IE7 will have its own built-in RSS reader, so I wonder what will happen w/ Onfolio.

    Same with tabs – I know IE7 has tabbed browsing built in, so there’s another feature of this Toolbar that may become very out-of-date very quickly once IE7 is final.

    It’s also entirely possible that this Toolbar simply won’t exist for Vista (and they’ll build the “Live” stuff right into IE7).

    Ross

  • http://www.wflinn.com The Gonz

    I’ve been getting Onfolio to work pretty well here, but yeah, IE7 does have a feed reader that seems to work OK. I had IE7 Beta 2 installed, but then found out it wouldn’t work with one of the collaboration tools that we use (SameTime with Lotus Notes), so I had to uninstall IE7 to get my online meetings to work. Haven’t had a chance to try the latest beta/release candidate.

    Anyway – you’re doing a great job with this site – keep up the good work.

  • Wayne

    Thanks for the line that sets Google as the default Web Search. I find it odd that I could not find this on the Google website as easily as I found your post.

  • David Fulton

    Will I lose my Google Bookmarks if I download the Windows Live Toolbar?

  • tarek

    thanksssssssssssss ssssssssssss sssssssssss

  • mrsmuffins

    an someone please tell me how to remove windows live toolbar? It is not in the installed program file that gives you the option to uninstall and the stupid thing keeps downloading the same update everytime I turn my computer off!

  • lise kitza

    je veux desinstller windows live toolbar et c’est pas evident. ou allons nous car je ne l’aime pas du tout. et votre site pour le toolbar est bien confus I don’t want it please hep me to find a way very simple you don’t think of the older personn went you do this site. thank you Lise