How-To Geek

Add an Application to the Quick Launch Menu in Vista

The Quick Launch menu is one of the most useful features in Windows, and Vista makes it even easier to add a program to the menu.

For those of you that are total newbies, the quick launch menu is the little icons by the start button:

You can either drag an application to the quick launch bar… or you can right click, and choose Add to Quick Launch:

If the option for “Add to Quick Launch” does not show up, you can hold down the Shift key while right-clicking on it to make the option show up. Note that you could also use Pin to Start Menu…  

For extra credit, you can also learn how to start quick launch applications with the built-in hotkeys.

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 01/13/07

Comments (17)

  1. Bob Bismal

    You can also make the icons larger by unlocking the taskbar, right click on blank space in the quick launch area. Then click on View, large icons.

  2. Billy

    I accidentally deleted my beautiful ‘show desktop’ icon from the quick launch and I would love to know how to get it back please. I’ve tried most things but I end up with the ugly show desktop of Windows XP. How can I get the Vista picture as well please?

  3. The Geek


    If you look at the properties of your icon, you can choose the “Change Icon” option.

    Use this as the path: %SystemRoot%\system32\imageres.dll

    You should see the old icon in the list, you can choose it.

  4. Billy

    Thank you so much. You must be the ultimate geek to know stuff like that!! I’m very grateful. YAY!!!

  5. Billy

    Oh no, It didn’t work. I had two show desktop icons. One was an actual show desktop icon and one was a shortcut. For the shortcut, I was able to put the picture but as soon as I deleted the original file on the desktop, it wouldn’t work. And for the real show desktop icon, I could not add a picture because when you go to my properties of the icon, there is no ”shortcut” tab where you can change this picture. Is there another way you can suggest? Or could you possibly guide me through the entire process please?

  6. Billy

    Phew, I’ve never worked so hard in my entire life! I’ve got this far with what I can figure out:


    And to save as an .scf file, then load on desktop. But it’s not quite right as I get the first picture as a default in the imageres.dll file. I counted them and I need the 105th picture but I can’t work out how to put it in the coding. A little help please? I’m sure by now you can tell that aesthetics are a great deal important to me. I really appreciate your help.


  7. Asbjorn Vikane


    you have to write …\imargeres.dll,104


  8. Ian Swain

    Great stuff! I am in the process of posting support for XP & VISTA on my own website. I have not been using VISTA that long, so the information you are giving out is ideal! Although I have managed to crack the Shutdown, Restart and Logoff shortcuts to use as one click ones from the taskbar.. ideal! I will still have to master how the registry is laid out as most of XPs registry apps dont work..I assume the targets are different??

  9. Landen Ferguson

    Billy, I am having the same problem. I’m not very computer tech savvy, is there anyway you can explain how to get the quicklaunch back in layman’s terms?

  10. Landen Ferguson

    Hey nm, I followed your directions and freakin got it!!!


  11. Billy

    It’s been a while since I was last on here!
    Thanks Asbjorn Vikane, I’ve been having that old show desktop icon on my PC for a long time until today :)
    Cheers mate!

  12. me

    Alright, but how do I get the Quick Launch menu off the bottom next to the start and onto the side of the window like I had it in XP? In XP you just grab the edge of it, drag it to the desktop, then drag it to the side. It doesn’t work in Vista.

  13. The Geek
  14. jennifer walsh

    I was looking for the show desktop on my quick launch also, tried all sorts of suggestions, then found one to create a new user. The desktop was in the document folder of the new user. I put it in the public folder, switched to the original user, dragged the “show desktop” from the public folder to the document folder, then dragged the “show desktop” from the document folder to the quick launch. Now I have the Vista icon on the quick launch. Then I deleted the new user.

  15. Paul

    can i force all users with the same Quick Launch menu ?

  16. Mark

    I’m also looking for the answer the “same Quick Launch”. I’m in the middle of preparing Sysprep images and each time I set them up and copy them into the Default folder, then Syspprep the machine, the files are deleted.

  17. Your Face

    all of you

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