Rafael Rivera has figured out how to enable the “Awesome Bar” (sorry, “new enhanced taskbar”) in Windows 7 M3:

During PDC ‘08, I was passed a note indicating that I should dig deeper into the bits to discover the snazzy new Taskbar. Upon cursory analysis, I found no evidence of such and dismissed the idea as completely bogus.

I got home and starting doing some research on a potentially new feature called Aero Shake when I stumbled upon an elaborate set of checks tied to various shell-related components, including the new Taskbar.

Simply download a copy of a tool I whipped up for either x86 or x64 (untested thus far), drop it into your Windows\ directory and execute the following commands as an Administrator in a command prompt window:

  • takeown /f %windir%\explorer.exe
  • cacls %windir%\explorer.exe /E /G MyUserName:F (replacing MyUserName with your username)
  • taskkill /im explorer.exe /f
  • cd %windir%
  • start unlockProtectedFeatures.exe

After changing the protected feature lock state, you can re-launch the shell by clicking the Launch button.

Brilliant. Here’s a shot I took earlier today:

Yeah, it works. :)