In previous versions of Windows I could minimize Outlook to the Notification Area (or System Tray) and then either relaunch it again via an Outlook shortcut I had in the Quick Launch section or by double clicking the Outlook icon in the Notification Area.
Now, whenever I use the Outlook icon on the Taskbar to relaunch Outlook, it actually creates a new Outlook window instead of relaunching the Outlook window that was already running. To actually close Outlook then, I have to close all the additional windows as well.
How can I stop this and make it reuse the original Outlook window?
The difference in behavior is because Windows 7 has combined the Quick Launch portion and the running applications portion of the Taskbar of Windows.
Aside from training yourself to use the Notification Area icon when it’s there, there are also some other ways around it.
Pinned to the Taskbar
If you have pinned Outlook to the Taskbar and have also set the Outlook option “Hide When Minimized” then the pinned Outlook shortcut will launch a new Outlook window when clicked again.
In this case, it might be wise to simply disable the “Hide When Minimized” option completely. After all, if you have pinned Outlook to the Taskbar, minimizing it to the Notification Area will not free up any space on the Taskbar anyway.
To disable this option, right click on the Outlook icon in the Notification Area and disable “Hide When Minimized”.
Not pinned to the Taskbar
If you do not have Outlook pinned to the Taskbar but for instance to the Start Menu or have a shortcut to Outlook on your Desktop, make sure your shortcut holds the /recycle switch. The default Outlook shortcut does not hold this switch and cannot be added to include it. You’ll have to create a new Outlook shortcut for this;
- Right click on an empty space on your Desktop and choose New-> Shortcut
- Type the path to outlook.exe between quotes or browse to its location via the Browse… button
- Type an space behind that and /recycle
- The entire line should now look like this (example is for Outlook 2007 on a 32-bit Windows);
"C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office\Office12\OUTLOOK.EXE" /recycle
- Click Next
- Name your shortcut for instance: Microsoft Office Outlook
- Click Finish
Note: The downside of using a custom shortcut for Outlook 2010 is that it will not include the Tasks option when right clicking on the Outlook icon in the Taskbar (to reveal the Jump List).