In Windows 10 Technical Preview 2, Microsoft has configured the taskbar with two huge wastes of on-screen real estate: The Cortana search bar and the Task View button. Cortana can be significantly shrunk down, but I recommend removing both controls since both are superfluous.
UPDATE: I have completely written this tip for the shipping version of Windows 10. See Windows 10 Tip: Reclaim Wasted Space on Your Taskbar for more information. –Paul
To see what I mean by “waste of on-screen real estate,” consider the following. Here, you can see these two controls—to the right of the Start button in the taskbar—taking up a lot of space. That’s space that could be used by shortcuts to 5-8 applications you actually use every day.
With Cortana, you could simply replace the search box with a search icon, which would dramatically shrink down the wasted space (the icon is the same size as any other taskbar shortcut). To do so, right-click a blank area of the taskbar and choose Search, Show Search Icon.
But the Cortana search box and search icon are both superfluous. You can access Cortana by clicking the Start button and typing; it works exactly as if you had clicked the Cortana search box or icon. And if you’ve enabled the “Hey, Cortana” voice-controlled search feature, you also don’t need this search box or icon. So just get rid of it: right-click a blank area of the taskbar and choose Search, Disabled.
Now, let’s take on the Task View button. Task View is a power user feature that lets you use multiple virtual desktops where you group related applications into their desktops. The button is there so users will see and click on it, and discover Task View—an application switching UI—and virtual desktops.
But if you already know about Task View, you don’t need the button. You can enable Task View at any time by typing WINKEY + TAB. (Power users have a keyboard, after all.) To remove the Task View button, right-click a blank area of the taskbar and choose Show Task View Button (deselecting that option).
Voila. Your taskbar is back and can be used as you wish, not as pre-configured by Microsoft.