by lunarg on September 28th 2011, at 16:59

Since Windows 7, the Quick Launch bar has been removed from the taskbar, and the pinning of applications has been introduced as a replacement. Not everyone likes this new feature, or perhaps you want to have the old Quick Launch bar back anyway. Well, it can be restored, albeit with a bit of a workaround.

Restoring the Quick Launch bar

The Quick Launch bar in earlier versions of Windows in fact nothing more than a folder containing shortcuts. With this in mind, it's in fact quite easy to add the Quick Launch bar, in this case as a regular folder.

First, unlock the taskbar. You need this to move over the Quick Launch bar once it's added, and to access its settings to actually make the toolbar look like the old Quick Launch bar.

Right-click an empty space in the taskbar, choose Toolbars, then add a New Toolbar.... You'll be prompted to select a folder.

The location of the Quick Launch bar is stored in the folder %APPDATA%\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch. There should already be some shortcuts present in this folder, notably Show Desktop and Window Switcher. Other shortcuts may be present as well, depending on the applications installed on your computer. Select the folder to be added to the taskbar. You get something like this:

This is not really what we want. We still need to change some settings to have it look like the old Quick Launch bar. For this, right-click the handle left of the new bar. A menu is revealed in which you can turn off the title and text labels. If you don't see the handle, you have not unlocked your task bar.

When these settings have been changed, you notice a toolbar very much ressembling the Quick Launch bar.

Drag the handle all the way to the left to have it on the same position as the original Quick Launch bar. Finally, if you want, you can lock the taskbar again to remove the handles and have the toolbar lock into place.