Nearly all computer monitors today (and televisions too) are much wider than they are tall. Where once we used screen resolutions such as 1024 x 768, we now use 1920 x 1080, 1600 x 900 or 1366 x 768. Although 1024 x 768 pixels doesn’t sound square, the monitor was in fact square and it was just that the height of the picture was divided among just 768 pixels, whereas it was divided into 1024 horizontally. The pixels themselves were not square.
Monitors and laptop screens today are letterbox shaped and they are very wide, but not very tall. Given that the vertical space is limited, the question is, does it make sense to allocate so much of it to the taskbar? There is so much space horizontally that surely it makes sense these days to have the taskbar on the left or right edge of the screen. There are acres of space to spare at each side.
Let's look at Windows 8 first because it is the simplest for moving the taskbar. This is because it does not have a Start menu. It is simply a bar containing buttons. It makes little difference whether the buttons are displayed horizontally across the bottom of the screen or vertically down the edge because they work in exactly the same way.
A slight snag with Windows 8 is that the left edge is used for swapping between the apps that are running, and the right edge is for displaying the charms bar. However, the taskbar still works fine at the edges and it doesn’t cause too much confusion.
In Windows 7 and 10 the left and right screen edges are not used for anything, so there is no problem with positioning the taskbar there, but the Start menu looks a bit odd at first. However, you soon get used to it. Windows 10's Start menu is very different to Windows 7 and it actually works quite well at the left or right side of the screen.
By not having the taskbar at the bottom of the display there are more pixels to use for your apps and at the edge it doesn’t get in the way so much.
To change the location of the taskbar, right click an empty part of it and select Properties from the menu that is displayed. Select the Taskbar tab at the top and next to Taskbar location on screen, select Left or Right as you prefer. There is so much space there is probably no need to tick the Auto-hide the taskbar option. You can have it on the screen all the time.