I have been working recently with a client using specialized software that stretches across 4 monitors in a 2×2 grid. The operating system is Windows 7 and the primary monitor needs to be the top-left. The problem is that the Windows Start button and Taskbar floats on top of this software. The ‘always on top’ nature of the Taskbar was undermining the main software. Taskbar auto-hide is not a solution because the sliver of a Taskbar is still visible and pops up any time you take the cursor from monitor 1 to monitor 3 (the monitor in the lower left slot). Moving the Taskbar to the top or left sides of monitor 1 was an improvement but still wasn’t ideal.
I searched around the web for a way to kill the Start button and Taskbar. I found many options stemming from individuals that use custom shells in place of Windows Explorer. Obviously, I could kill Explorer.exe but that lost a lot of functionality. Other options that I found were a bit incomplete for my needs as they would launch and then require a keyboard shortcut to activate hiding the Taskbar on-demand. Others would hide the Taskbar but not the Start button. Of course, there were plenty of annoying people in the forums asking why people would want this functionality and insisting that auto-hide is sufficient.
Finally, I found a full solution through Taskbar Magic, a miscellaneous add-on utility for RocketDock, a Windows launcher/dock. The portable utility works on Windows Vista and 7 but only kills the Taskbar on one monitor with Windows 8 and 10. Windows 8 and 10 have a Taskbar property that allows you to turn off showing the Taskbar on each monitor (Right-click the Taskbar, Properties, under the Taskbar tab, in the Multiple Displays section, uncheck the box.) so you should be able to work around that.
Taskbar Magic, what the download was called, or Taskbar Hider, what the program calls itself works pretty simply. You launch it and it hides the Taskbar. You can create a shortcut in the Startup folder of the Start Menu to have it launch at login. The program then continues to run from the now-hidden System Tray. You can recall the window with the keyboard shortcut Ctrl+Alt+Esc. If launching another program brings back the Taskbar, this program will hide it again within two and a half seconds.
From the Options window, you can manually choose to show or hide the Taskbar, move it to one of the four sides, and reserve a certain number of pixels from the monitor edge. You want to reserve 45 pixels if you are using RocketDock. You will also want to configure the Taskbar to auto-hide so that Windows does not needlessly reserve the full height of the Taskbar as well.
Taskbar Magic is quite old but still quite functional for this unusual need. The other options that I found had different default behaviors or quirks that didn’t really solve the problem. I was happy I found Taskbar Magic and so was the client.