Hide when Minimized on Windows 7, Windows 8 or Windows 10

In previous versions of Windows I could minimize Outlook to the Notification Area (or System Tray) and then either re-launch 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 re-launch Outlook, it actually creates a new Outlook window instead of reusing the Outlook window that was already running. To actually close Outlook then, I have to close all the additionally opened windows as well.

How can I stop this and make it reuse the original Outlook window?

The difference in behavior is because since Windows 7 (and continued in Windows 8 and Windows 10) the Quick Launch portion and the running applications portion of the Taskbar of Windows are combined.

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, click on the Outlook icon in the Notification Area and disable “Hide When Minimized”.

Disable Hide When Minimized for Outlook on Windows 7 in 3 clicks
Disable “Hide When Minimized” for Outlook in 3 clicks.

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;

  1. Right click on an empty space on your Desktop and choose New-> Shortcut
  2. Type the path to outlook.exe between quotes or browse to its location via the Browse… button.
  3. Type a space behind the path and then add: /recycle
  4. The entire line should now look like this (example is for a 32-bit version of Outlook 2010 on a 64-bit version of Windows);
    "C:\Program Files\Microsoft Office (x86)\Office14\OUTLOOK.EXE" /recycle
  5. Click Next.
  6. Name your shortcut for instance: Microsoft Office Outlook.
  7. Click Finish.

Creating a custom Outlook shortcut with the “recycle” command line switch. (click on image to enlarge)
Creating a custom Outlook shortcut with the “recycle” command line switch.
(click on image to enlarge)

Note: The downside of using a custom shortcut for Outlook 2010 or later is that it will not include the Tasks option when right clicking on the Outlook icon in the Taskbar (to reveal the Jump List).