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Dock Quick Launch or Address Toolbar to Desktop in Vista

A popular feature in previous versions of Windows was the ability to dock a toolbar to the side of the desktop. Most people used this for an auto-hiding quick launch or address toolbar, or both.

To do this in Windows Vista, you’ll first need to create a folder somewhere like your user directory.

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Now drag this folder all the way to either the side or the top of the screen, and it will magically dock to the side. Make sure you drag the mouse as far to the side as you can or else it’ll just move the folder to the desktop.

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Now right-click on the folder and choose Toolbars, where you can select any toolbar registered with the system. In this example we’ll choose the Quick Launch toolbar.

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And there we are… the quick launch toolbar is docked to the side, although you will probably want to tweak it.

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First, you can remove the folder that we created by right-clicking, choosing Toolbars and then removing the selection for the folder name (in this case it was called Toolbar)

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To make the icons smaller, right-click and choose View and then Small Icons. You could also choose to Auto Hide it if you want.

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The address toolbar works much better if you dock the toolbar to the top of the screen.

You can use this for the Google toolbar, iTunes, Windows Media Player, or anything else that has a toolbar.

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 09/5/07

Comments (14)

  1. Pete

    Thanks I’ve been trying to figure this one out for a day or two now.

  2. Simon

    This is a great tip! I only discovered the possibility in xp by accidentally dragging the two little arrows next to a menu on the taskbar. I was disappointed that the feature was not available in Vista OR SO I THOUGHT!

    Is it possible to tweak the appearance to fit with the aero theme?

  3. EJAY

    IS IT POSSIBLE TO CHANGE THE COLOR OF THE DOCK FROM THE DEFAULT BLUEISH TINGE ?

  4. willow891

    Thanks for this one, have been looking to do this for a long time with Vista. I loved this feature in XP!

  5. erunyauve

    Awesome! I’ve been trying to do this for over a year. I finally have the full taskbar back, and I don’t have to be so stingy about adding new items to Quick Launch.

  6. scofield from SINGAPORE

    user rocketdock @ http://www.rocketdock.com..
    its way more nicer,..

  7. Jude

    AWESOME!!!! Many thanks!!!

  8. Dragon-Fur

    I’ve taken this just a bit farther. I like things grouped into categories…
    I do wish there was someone who knows a registry hack to fix the color… :-)

    Adding ToolBar with sub-group categories to Vista Desktop (unfortunately, still light blue in color)

    -> Create a toolbar on your Desktop using the instructions shown above or from the local Vista help files (key words “tool bar desktop”)

    -> Create a folder to be used as your ToolBar container.
    (Select a folder name and location of choice; remember, this is a separate entity from the actual toolbar created on the Desktop.)
    -> While in that folder,
    -> Create sub-folders named for different categories (example: Admin);
    -> Add into each sub-folder any shortcut(s) that you want in that category.

    For example:
    -> Create container folder in your account named “ToolBars”
    -> Create sub-folder “Admin” and add shortcuts to Control Panel, regedit, perfmon, taskmgr, etc.
    -> Create sub-folder “Partitions-Folders” and add shortcuts to various explorer windows set to open different partitions and folders.**
    -> Create sub-folder “MediaWorks” and add shortcuts to MovieMaker, Photoshop, and various games.

    Once you have your sub-folders set up the way you like them,
    -> Right click on your new ToolBar on your Desktop.
    -> Select Toolbars -> New Toolbar -> Browse and “Select Folder” the desired sub-folder to add it to your ToolBar.

    Options:
    -> Drag the side of the ToolBar to make it more or less wide (wider allows the icons to sit side by side).
    -> Select large or small icons and whether or not to view the accompanying text.
    -> Once created, Add icons to a sub-section by dragging and dropping them into place (or open appropriate the sub-folder and add the shortcut manually).
    -> Remove icons from a sub-section by right clicking on the shortcut and deleting it.
    -> Remove a section from the ToolBar: Right click on the ToolBar->Toolbars->(Deselect) the section.
    -> Each sub-section can have “small” or “large” icons as desired
    -> Add your custom “ToolBars” container to the TaskBar if you like.
    -> Sub-sections to your main ToolBar are easily added from the bottom->up; you can add the categories in the order in which you want them to appear.
    For example: If you want Admin stuff ordered first (top), add it first and then drag the category to the top of the toolbar.
    Next, Right Click at the bottom of the main toolbar and add the next toolbar category you want to see.
    ——————————————————————————————–
    ** To create a specialized “explorer” window that
    opens to a desired partition/folder, add the following
    to the Properties target line (and remember to rename your new window
    in the General Properties tab):

    /e,:\

    Examples: C:\WINDOWS\explorer.exe /e,D:\
    C:\WINDOWS\explorer.exe /e,D:\Downloads
    ———————————————————————————————
    If I’ve not miss-typed any bits, that should do it…

  9. Louis G. Thompson

    Thanks much for this tip on docking toolbars in Vista. I had a sinking feeling that the feature might have been deleted.
    -Lou

  10. foxhop

    This functionality seems to be lost in windows 7 . Any help would be great …

  11. Roi

    yeah I tried in Windows 7 but it doesn’t work :(

  12. Patty

    Very sad….this doesn’t seem to work in Win7. How depressing! I LOVED this feature!

    Has anyone found a way to do it in 7?

  13. Toko

    i’ve got win7 and having prob in creating dock ( desk top toolbar ). anybody can help?

  14. Toko

    following instructions of creating it but doesn’t work..

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