Add Shortcut To Folder In Taskbar In Windows 7 — The Right Way

I very much dislike having to point out errors in other blogs publicly. I generally prefer to leave a comment or e-mail in hopes that the author will correct the error. Recently I found a blog post that at its root was incorrect. I left a comment explaining the error, in hopes the author would correct the issue. However, it’s now been one week and no changes or updates have been made. Further my post is still awaiting moderation while a comment made after mine has been approved.

The post in question is at a site called technixupdate, and begins with the assertion "Windows 7 taskbar does not allow to pin a shortcut or folder path directly to the taskbar, as only program executable can only pinned to the taskbar by default in Windows 7." (Note that’s an exact quote.) The author then goes through this rather convoluted technique of creating a fake executable file to accomplish the task. Unfortunately, the very opening statement is incorrect. Windows 7 taskbar does indeed allow you to pin shortcuts to it. Let’s look at a brief example to illustrate.

On my D drive I have a folder named Data. I’d like to create a shortcut to it on the taskbar. Let’s start by first opening up your "My Documents" folder. I could place the shortcut anywhere, but My Documents seems like a convenient place. Once there right-click then select New, Shortcut from the menu. In the dialog that appears simply type in Explorer “D:\data”. Note that you only need to use the quote marks around the drive and path if your folder names have a space in them. In the screenshot below you can see that I was able to safely omit the quotation marks since there are no spaces in my folder.

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Once you’ve entered Explorer and your drive / folder you can click next.

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As you can see I replaced the default text of Explorer.EXE With something more meaningful, in this case the word Data. I simply click Finish to complete creating a shortcut. Now that we have a shortcut, it is a simple matter to pin it to the taskbar. Simply right click, then select "Pin to Taskbar”.

 

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As you can see from the image below, I now have a shortcut to my Data folder on my Taskbar.

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This technique will work with any shortcut you wish to create. I hope this will correct the record for those wishing to use this technique. Finally, even though his facts were a little off, I do want to give the author credit for blogging and trying to help out the community.

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34 Responses to “Add Shortcut To Folder In Taskbar In Windows 7 — The Right Way”

  1. Petritis Says:

    Thanks, not being able to put a folder on the task bar has been annoying me. Your trick works great (after I read the details made it a shortcut to Explorer.exe)

  2. Derek Morrison Says:

    Nice tip! I think I’ve heard Paul Thurrott describe some way to do this on Windows Weekly, but it didn’t seem to be as simple and certainly wasn’t as simply put.

  3. Charles Kolsrud Says:

    What version of 7 are you talking about?

    Followed your instructions but the only options I got were “folders” and “briefcase” when I clicked New.

    Using Premium. Would love to be able to short my files just like I could in XP.

    • narelle Says:

      did you ever find a fix. I also only get “folders” and “briefcase” when I clicked New.

      • Lez Shal Says:

        You need to type ‘Explorer’ before the shortcut. This way it creates a .exe file that you can rename to whatever you want. Failure to do this will make the ‘pin to taskbar’ option unavailable.

  4. Rick Says:

    Thanks but this does not work for me, i do not have the “pin to Taskbar” option when i right-click on the shortcut. Any ideas?

    thx

    • Dulce Says:

      I agree. This does not work for me on Windows 7 Starter. I had a nice big icon set up on my taskbar previously (someone else removed it!) and I think I managed it using the workaround that the author of this post refers to as incorrect (above). Try using that.

  5. Mos Says:

    Yay. Installed Win 7 last night and I was trying hard to create a shortcut to my D drive on the TB but couldn’t figure out a way. Thanks a million!

  6. paullinton Says:

    Have you tried?
    Right click on Taskbar
    Select Toolbars->New Toolbar…
    Browse to the folder you want and click ‘Select Folder’
    Doesn’t have a fancy icon but I can see the name of the folder being referred to and the contents of the folder are displayed in a popup menu, very convenient

  7. John from Raleigh Says:

    Great tip, worked with no problems. I really loved the quick launch bar, I don’t know why they remove the more advanced features just because basic users don’t use them.

    • Ron Williams Says:

      I have icons for programs, Word documents, folders, etc. on my desktop that I would like to be able to simply drag down to the Taskbar…but it won’t allow me to “pin” them there. Some do, some don’t. I have been able to successfully put Character Map, Word 2007, Calculator, Snipping Tool, OpenOffice Draw, Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, IncrediMail, Outlook 2007, and magicJack icons on the Taskbar, but it won’t take some others. What’s the difference? What is it I’m missing here?
      Ronny, a Computer Dummy from Charlotte
      RonWilliams1944@Gmail.com

  8. Steve Burrell Says:

    Thank you! This worked great. Just what I was looking for. You’d think it would be easy and obvious without having to dig around for a solution on the Internet. Thanks again.

  9. George from portsmouth Says:

    Thanks a lot for this guide!!! I’ve been looking forever how to do this!!!

  10. David S Says:

    I tried both this and the ‘complicated’ way. I agree this is much simpler: only problem is it doesn’t work for me. No option to pin to taskbar (applies to shortcuts and files in My Documents, not just this one). So I’ll stick with the dummy .exe workaround that took less than 5 minutes and worked rather than this one which took two minutes and didn’t

  11. Scott Says:

    In win XP I could drag any folder to the toolbar and get pop-up option “create shortcut”. Can’t do that on win 7 and I do NOT have “pin to taskbar” option when I right click a desktop folder. Whatever way you look at this, MS had made what was a simple thing into a complicated task.

  12. CLUEL3SS Says:

    TeraCopy ftw!

  13. Ron Williams Says:

    Windows 7
    I have icons on my desktop for shortcuts to websites that I visit several times a day. When I attempt to simply drag the icons to the taskbar, as you know, it doesn’t work. Is there an easy way that a dummy like me might be able to make that happen?
    Thanks

  14. Kiwi Says:

    Really good article, informative and concise. Thank you.

  15. Adrian Says:

    There is no option for me to pin a shortcut to the task bar, only programs have that option. I can pin a shortcut to the task bar by simply dragging and placing it there, but when I click on the folder, it brings up a list of previous locations with the pinned folder locations at the top in a separate list. The original workaround from the blog on the technixupdate website allows you to create a simple one-click shortcut that won’t bring up a stupid list that I have to choose from every time I click on it. I think the technixupdate method is more desirable for people who want a simple one-click option to open a folder that they use over and over (in my case a network folder that contains a bunch of shortcuts to other network locations that I can access from any computer on my company network).

    • David Says:

      Make sure you start with the word “Explorer” before the folder path in the first window, which is titled “What Item Would You Like To Create A Shortcut For?” When I first tried the instructions above, I read too fast and just browsed to the folder I wanted to have a pinned shortcut to. If you made my mistake, then you will not get the option to pin a shortcut. Hope this helps.

  16. rm Says:

    Thanks for writing this. I was having trouble figuring out how to do it.

  17. Enrico (@TrulyJamesWoods) Says:

    Can the shortcut icon be changed? I’ve tried but Windows refuses to show the new icon, instead opting for the standard “folder behind a blue railing.”

  18. Donna Says:

    Thank you so much!!! This was just what I needed, it was easy to understand, and simple to do!

  19. wayne rhodes Says:

    Yes! It works, and the “Explorer” thing is key!

  20. David Says:

    It simply does not work. When I create two shortcuts in this way pointing to two different folders, and I click on the second one, it opens the correct location but the fancy animation in the taskbar has expanded the first one instead of the second, thus obscuring the first shortcut. As Scott has said, Microsoft has made something originally very simple and intuitive into something very difficult and not user-friendly. What is the point of being able to pin shortcuts to the taskbar when they are hidden by the OS and cannot be clicked??

    • David Says:

      By the way, in case anyone might have my kind of preferences, I created a new toolbar on the taskbar, dragged it to the desired location in place of the quick launch, and removed the pinned items completely. Now I can get shortcuts to anything at all, including my computer, my user folder, … Furthermore, these shortcuts do not get moved around by the stupid Windows animations, and they always stay in exactly their proper places where I put them. Not only that, they give proper meaning to the word “shortcut” by actually opening the desired folder or application when clicked, and not showing irrelevant folders or windows that are already open under another instance of the application. Finally, you can right-click and change the properties so that the folder or application always opens in a maximized window. This prevents Windows 7 from messing up your window by “restoring” it when you click on the shortcut to a folder that you already have open. Someone should write something like the Several Wanders in Windows. I am sure it will be several wonders to windows wanderers like myself.

      • Dwight Says:

        Yup, this is the best way to do it. Create a new toolbar (I named it quick launch since that is what XP had), and don’t ever drag another icon to the task bar. What’s more, the icons are close together like XP, and never move because no task buttons show up on the home made toolbar.

  21. Dwight Says:

    But I used to keep shortcut files (with Alt-Ctrl key equivalents) in a folder I named Shortcuts, in the same folder as Programs folder, and both appeared on the Start Menu. By doing that, the key shortcuts were loaded in to memory and then I just used the short cut keys and not the start menu. But all the files were together in one folder, and XP treated that folder special (w/ a special folder icon). In Windows 7, I can’t get this to work unless I put all my short cuts right on the desk top. Does anyone know where I can put my short cuts altogether and out of site but so the key equivalents are loaded in to memory for use by Windows?

  22. Bjoern Says:

    If you cant see the option “Pin to Taskbar” you may have placed the shortcut in a folder that is optimized for Documents. Move the folder outside My Documents and you will on folder properties see the 5th tab “Customize” where you can choose “Optimize this folder for:”, and then choose General Items.

  23. MsTeaqueen Says:

    Quick and easy…Thank you

  24. Jeff Says:

    Thanks for this. I found your page while looking for the “other” way to create custom taskbar links as I’ve done before. Your technique is much easier as long as one remember the instruction to type “explorer” before the short cut location.

    I do have a problem. Similar to what David says above, I created two short cuts: Movies and Music. The first one, Movies, adopts the Aero graphics when Music is pressed, so that pressing Music over and over will open the same window again and again. This, while pressing Movies minimizes Music.

    Movies works fine until Music is open, then pressing Movies gives me the Aero selection graphic for multiple windows.

    Of course, I unpinned and deleted the shortcuts and tried again. I also had them together in My Documents at first, then tried storing the shortcuts in different locations. I even rebooted my system, just to be sure I wasn’t missing the most obvious solution.

    Do you have any ideas? Its pretty much dysfunctional as is, and not to be snide, but I never had this problem the “other” way. I would rather do it your way, because it is indeed better if I can apply a solution to this little bug.

    Best regards and thanks,
    Jeff

  25. Carol Says:

    Excellent – have been looking for a fix for this for ages. One question is: how can you change the icon for the folder. I have tried this: Right click, Properties, Change Icon but only have a few to chose from. Thanks Carol

  26. Archive mails in your Gmail Account Says:

    Oh my goodness! Incredible article dude! Thanks, However I am encountering problems
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