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From the Tips Box: Pin Any File to the Windows 7 Taskbar

2011-06-23_155836

Every week we dip into the tip box and share the tips you send in. This week we’re highlighting a great tip and the accompanying tutorial video that shows you how to pin any file to the Windows 7 taskbar.

Robert Jasiński writes in with a clever way to pin any file you want to the task bar. By default if you drag a text document to the taskbar it will pin it to the Notepad executable—the same thing happens with any other file that has an association with an executable.

What if you want to pin that specific text file to the taskbar and not to the executable (or any other file for that matter)? Robert shares his method: 

1. Create a place holder file (like a New Text Document).

2. Rename the file with the .EXE extension

3. Drag the extension onto the Windows Taskbar to pin it.

4. Go “C:\Users\USERNAME\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch\User Pinned\TaskBar” where USERNAME is the username of the account you are using.

5. Replace the “empty” executable file with a real shortcut to your file. Make sure you amend the shortcut you create so that the new shortcut matches the pinned shortcuts name exactly.

6. Restart Windows (or use Taskmanager to force restart Windows Explorer) to force the taskbar icons to refresh. Enjoy!

And there you have it. You’re no longer restricted to pinning files to the taskbar attached to their applications but can pin them independently if you desire. Thanks for writing in and create a video to go with your tip Robert!


Have a tip of your own to share? Tutorial video or not, shoot us an email at tips@howtogeek.com and you might just see your tip on the front page.

Jason Fitzpatrick is warranty-voiding DIYer and all around geek. When he's not documenting mods and hacks he's doing his best to make sure a generation of college students graduate knowing they should put their pants on one leg at a time and go on to greatness, just like Bruce Dickinson. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 06/23/11

Comments (13)

  1. 01nb

    Freaking fantastic!!!

    THANK YOU!

  2. MJ

    Really interesting tip! Thanks for sharing!

  3. Andrew James

    I guess this is useful. I generally just right click on my pinned notepad and check recent thou. Not usually have a certain specific file that is the only kind I open.
    *Meaning I have loads of notepad files, why pin individual files.
    When you can use the recently opened feature inherit in pinned programs?*

    I’m trying to think of when I would use this. But I really cannot think of an occasion.

    Who would use this?

  4. Jon

    Another method. Suppose you want to pin “C:\Docs\List.txt”
    Create a new shortcut to :
    %windir%\system32\notepad.exe “C:\Docs\List.txt”
    You’ll can change it’s icon and then pin it. This way you don’t have to restart Explorer.

    You can also change the default ‘Libraries’ opened by Windows Explorer. Edit it’s shortcut path to
    %windir%\explorer.exe “D:\Jon”

  5. Robert

    ” You can also change the default ‘Libraries’ opened by Windows Explorer. Edit it’s shortcut path to
    %windir%\explorer.exe “D:\Jon” ”

    >>move Computer icon and create link
    >>place somewhere this link
    >> add “path_to_link\Computer.lnk”
    >>hit ‘Libraries’ and Computer will open

    Jon thnq :)

  6. Joe P

    You can pin any favorite to the taskbar by dragging the favorite to the
    taskbar and deleting the favorite from the favorite bar. This can be used
    for favorites that you open often.

  7. Kevalin

    Or, you can just download RocketDock, place whatever files/programs you want on out AND give them cool-looking icons.

  8. Roi

    You don’t have to go through all this process when you could just edit the link itself:
    -After pinning the fake .EXE, right click the pinned item and click on “Properties”
    -Edit the “Target” field under the “Shortcut” tab to the link that you want.
    -Change the Icon to whatever you like
    -Restart Explorer

  9. zarnaik

    I’m still a big follower of the quick launch bar because of all the bs that Windows 7 bar brought. You actually have to hack/trick it to be able to do the most easy things.

  10. Brumm

    Just open the program. Right click on the taskbar icon and select “Pin this program to taskbar”.

    Done! :-)

  11. Frank

    good tip thanks

  12. xZinou

    An easier way to add a file onto the taskbar will be by just adding it “normally” (this will create a shortcut to the associated program), then right click this new shortcut in the taskbar > right click on the program launcher link > properties > change the .exe target path to the path of the desired file > detach the file link from the taskbar new created shortcut (in order to have just one link to the file).
    and it’s done.
    Sorry for my terrible english.

  13. jennifer

    THANK YOU!!!!

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