[Did You Know] Hidden Secret “DeskBar Options” Tab in Windows 98 Taskbar Properties

Time to refresh your memories! Let's ask a simple question. Did you know about a hidden secret tab "DeskBar Options" which was present in Windows 98 SE (Second Edition) Taskbar Properties? Most probably your answer would be NO.

There are very few people who know about this interesting fact. You can consider it as an easter egg or a bug but it was something else actually.

Recently we talked about this interesting stuff at our official Facebook, Google Plus and Twitter pages and there were a few people who asked us to provide more details about this hidden option, that's why we decided to create a separate topic about it here on AskVG.

First some details about this hidden option:

Normally Windows 98 Taskbar Properties contained 2 tabs: Taskbar Options and Start Menu Programs. But if you press and hold "Ctrl" key while opening Taskbar Properties, you get a new hidden tab "DeskBar Options" in Taskbar Properties window as shown in following screenshot:


Unfortunately this tab was useless. Everything in the tab was grayed out. There were 3 buttons given in the tab: Add, Remove and Properties but all 3 buttons were disabled. A big list area was also present but it didn't contain anything inside it. So basically the whole "DeskBar Options" tab worked like a dummy tab. It was not functional at all.

Check out following video showing this secret "DeskBar Options" tab live in action:

Now some question might be coming in your mind such as why was this extra tab put in Taskbar Properties? What was the use of this tab? Why was everything in the tab grayed out and not functional? Was there any way to make the tab functional? etc, etc...

Don't worry! Here are the answers to all these questions:

"DeskBar" was an interesting feature which was planned by Microsoft to introduce in Windows 98. With the help of this feature, Windows 98 users could download Desktop toolbars (Deskbars) from their favorite websites. These mini toolbars could update themselves automatically based on a predefined time interval and could provide latest information from the websites so that users didn't have to visit the websites in web browsers.

Microsoft implemented this feature in Windows 98 beta builds and thought that webmasters will develop such toolbars for their websites but webmasters didn't like this idea. This idea was going to harm both website owners as well as advertisers because if users were getting latest articles, news information right from their Desktop, why would they visit the actual websites? It could decrease both website pageviews and advertisements views.

Since the idea didn't work as planned, Microsoft decided to remove this feature from Windows 98 RTM version. They decided to hide the tab and that's why this tab was not functional because the necessary code to connect this tab functionality with Desktop toolbars was not present in Windows 98.

That's the mystery behind secret "DeskBar Options" tab present in Windows 98 Taskbar Properties.

What do you think about this idea? If Microsoft puts such an option in Windows 8.1 or future versions of Windows, would you like to use it? Feel free to share your comments...

Also check out following similar hidden features of Windows:

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