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How To Pin an External Drive to the Windows 7 Taskbar

Do you have an external drive connected to your Windows 7 computer and would like to access it from the Taskbar? Here we show you a work around that will allow you to pin it to Taskbar.

Adding Drive to Windows Explorer

You would think the process would be as easy as dragging the external drive icon to the Taskbar. Unfortunately that isn’t the case. If you try to drag the external drive icon to the Taskbar, it just adds it to Windows Explorer.

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Then if you right-click on the Windows Explorer icon, you’ll be able to access it from there. This might be enough for some users, but we want to add it to the Taskbar as an icon.

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Steps for Pinning External Drive to Taskbar

With a quick work around we can add the drive as an icon. First what you need to do is right-click an empty area on your desktop and select New \ Text Document.

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Then name the text doc whatever you want to call it and change .txt to .exe. Like in this example we’re adding the external E:\ drive, so we named it Drive E.exe then hit Enter.

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After hitting Enter you will get a message asking if you’re sure you want to change the extension, click Yes.

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Now you’ll have the “dummy” executable on the desktop. Right-click on it and select Pin to Taskbar.

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Now you’ll have the executable icon on the Taskbar. Right-click on it, then right-click on the name of the file and select Properties.

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Under the Shortcut tab change the Target to the drive letter and Start in to the drive letter as well and click OK. You can actually use this technique to add any folder to the Taskbar too. The main thing to remember is changing the Target to the correct path.

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While you’re there, you might want to change the icon to something more appropriate like a hard drive icon. Or if you want to change the icon to something not included in Windows 7, check out our guide how to customize icons in Windows 7 and Vista.

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And there you go! As you can see we have a more appropriate looking hard drive icon on the Taskbar…

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And when we click on it, it opens up to our external USB drive so we can access its content.

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Or maybe you want to have the drive open to a specific folder. Just change the Target path to the folder you want it to open in.

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Then when you click the icon it will open to the directory you specified.

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Although it might seem like a goofy method for simply pinning a drive or other folder to the Taskbar, the work around is effective. This will allow you to access the external drive with only one click and save a few steps in navigating to it.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 09/3/10

Comments (18)

  1. yethz

    very very useful trick… thank you very nice…

  2. Jordan

    Love this! Thanks so much :-D

  3. Gary Copeland

    Great thanks for that useful tip

  4. JOHN THIRSK

    I love the concept, but can’t get it to work for me. When I create the text doc with the .exe file extension, I
    get any warning notice. On right-click, I have no option to pin it to the taskbar. Any ideas ?

  5. sam

    gR8

  6. manxoom

    @john thirsk “Go to Control panel>Personalisation>FolderOptions…Select View..Uncheck hide extension for files..apply…hope this will solve ur prob…”

  7. Mauro

    doesn’t wor for me, in the properties does not show the shortcut tab insted I have program tab, font, memory, screen and misc tab

  8. albert

    I was able to attach the drive to the task bar but cannot change the icon on the task bar. It appears changed in the properties box but not the task bar.

  9. Swarnendra Singh

    xtremely awesome !!!!!!!!!!!!

  10. cliffie

    Much easier way on Vista:
    1) Go to My Computer and find your external drive
    2) Create shortcut on desktop
    3) Drag and drop to Start Menu
    4) Right-click and choose properties to point to a specific directory

  11. Steve

    Why not simply use a taskbar “toolbar”? Simply right click on the task bar, highlight Toolbars –> New Toolbar. Point it to the directory of your external drive, and voila. Then, when you click on it, it will open an entire list of what is in the directory that you can select from. Seems easier to me to do it this way.

  12. B1663R

    CRAP!! this also works for networked drives!!!

    BEST TIP EVA!!!!!!

  13. John

    great, Im running win7 home, and I had to edit my Folder Options first, because I dont have Personalization tab in Control Panel, I searched Folder Options in Control Panel, unchecked Hide Extension Files, only then could I rename it and save it to the taskbar as so on

    very handy trick thank you, but all this could be avoided by downloading a customisable toolbar

  14. Eddie

    Thanks!

  15. Lord Calculon

    Thanks a million!
    I first had to go to Folder Options in Control Panel, and unchecked Hide file extensions for known file types, but afterward everything worked perfectly!!

  16. ha bil

    how you all guys know this much
    perfect
    thanks

  17. j

    perfect!

  18. Dan

    Thanks! This is a great help!

    On a side note, it is absolutely shameful that Windows does not allow you to pin specific folders or a drive directly onto the taskbar. They need to poach some design and usability guys from Apple or something. This is inexcusable on their part.

    Again, this workaround is great! Thanks!

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