February 5, 2009

Quick Launch in W7?

You might have noticed that the old faithful Quick Launch toolbar is not only disabled by default in Windows 7, it’s actually missing from the list of toolbars. As is probably obvious, the concept of having a set of pinned shortcut icons is now integrated directly into the new taskbar. Based on early user interface testing, we think that the vast majority of users out there will be quite happy with the new model, but if you’re after the retro behavior, you’ll be pleased to know that the old shortcuts are all still there.

To re-enable it, do the following:

Right-click the taskbar, choose Toolbars / New Toolbar

In the folder selection dialog, enter the following string and hit OK:

%userprofile%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch

Turn off the “lock the taskbar” setting, and right-click on the divider. Make sure that “Show text” and “Show title” are disabled and the view is set to “small icons”.

Use the dividers to rearrange the toolbar ordering to choice, and then lock the taskbar again.

If it’s not obvious by the semi-tortuous steps above, it’s worth noting that this isn’t something we’re exactly desperate for folks to re-enable, but it’s there if you really need it for some reason.
Incidentally, we’d love you to really try the new model first and give us feedback on why you felt the new taskbar didn’t suit your needs.

Courtesy of Tim Sneath


  1. Thanks for the instructions. I love the quick launch bar because it is tiny yet powerful and quick at the same time.
    The task bar can dock any icon but this takes huge space, even with small icons. There is plenty of space betweed every icon.
    Last but not least I did not find a way to put folders onto it so that they open the next hirarchy like the start menu does.
    I need space for the application, not for a dock or taskbar!

    But thanks again for showing me how to re-activate my beloved quick launch!

  2. I like the taskbar for its newness, but I needed the quick launch menu because I prefer to be able to open the command prompt with Matrix-colored text ;)

  3. I love the way the new taskbar is, I just wanted to use quicklaunch and the pinning programs side by side I use the start bar pinning to pin my most common programs and such while I put quicklaunch on the other end of the start bar for a shortcut to my music and games, its cleaner to put all my games int he quick launch cause there smaller icons and it keeps my desktop cleaner (I love to see my backround pic :P)

  4. Quick launch is much more versatile than pinning to the task bar, a large number can be included without cluttering up the task bar, available in one click, and pop up menu links can be added to it with no click navigation.

  5. I too love Quick Launch and am pleased I have enabled it again! But I notice you have put a super little icon on there called 'Switch between windows' - cool! I am very new to W7 so there may be a default way to do this that I have not discovered yet?

  6. Typical programmer mentality:

    "it’s worth noting that this isn’t something we’re exactly desperate for folks to re-enable"

    Well, you built it before, we learned to use it, and have gotten used to it to make us productive. Did we ever ASK you to remove it? Why in the world would you take something away from us that so many people actually have learned to use and enjoy? Do you even do market research on real users (people that actually intelligent) before you go and change things? Really, this is why Vista/W7/and beyond is destined for failure.

  7. I've used W7 for a year now. I have two problems with the new model task-launch-bar for W7 - first, i need oneclick access to desktop (old habits die hard) second, I regularly use XP and Vista systems. Consistency is needed (personal taste I admit) across these platforms. Hence I've installed SameLookSameFeel quicklaunch bars in all my accounts in all my PC's and laptops.
    Thanks for the excellent post which topped out on google and gave me what I wanted quickly and error free :-)

  8. I need my PC's for work.
    Why not stick to the proven advantages of small effective OS's without gadget. The one who loves these should turn them on instead of us turnig all off.
    Might be a helpful advice for W8 or 9.

  9. I do like pinning programs to the Taskbar, but QuickLaunch gives me direct one-click access to my VPN Network connection. Now I can have both, So thanks for this! -K

  10. Old thread asd I'm having the same thoughts. Quicklaunch is great !
    I found you can return to Desktop via the little box beside the clock bottom right of screen. Weird place to put it ! It was the first thing I missed !

  11. Just in case you are still reading posts to these old messages...

    Yiou have tried to make the new Taskbar too intelligent. I just want single click buttons that do what I expect them to. For instance I want a button to return me to my Desktop, not something nested inside a sub menu, or a windows explorer view. Just return me to my desktop.

    And I have 3 or 4 other examples.

    The golden rule is KISS