Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums

"Pin to Taskbar": Now you see it, now you don't!

  1. #11

    Posts : 273
    64-bit Windows 8

    A Special Kind of Shortcut

    This is my final report on the results of five weeks of tireless research on pinning data files
    to the Taskbar, in defiance of the Windows system's refusal to do it. My requirements for what I
    consider an "ideal" method are these: (1) It should pin an icon that opens the file directly,
    with one click (rather than having to find it in a "Jump List"). (2) It should be possible to
    pin more files, by repeating the same procedure every time, without any interference with (or by)
    the results from previous pinnings. (3) It should give each pinned file its own separate Taskbar
    icon (even if they all open with the same program) and allow you to choose whatever icon you want
    for each file so they won't all look the same on the Taskbar. And (4) it should not involve any
    "gimmicks" –– such as the "File Explorer shortcut" idea, or editing the Registry –– because, to
    a purist like me, those things are just "cheating." (What a hypocrite I am to say that, after
    I posted the "File Explorer shortcut" method myself!)

    I've now found 12 methods of Taskbar–pinning data files, and I won't post the whole list of them,
    which would easily win an award for "most pointless post of the year." Suffice it to say that most
    of them either fail to satisfy all of the above requirements, or are unsuitable for practical use
    due to being too complicated or just too long. (In fact, the "File Explorer" cheat is still the
    simplest way I know.) But method 12, my latest, is the first one that qualifies as "ideal."
    (Because I carefully designed the "requirements" so all the others wouldn't qualify.
    See how sneaky I am?)

    When you do it, you'll need to open your User Start Menu folder, which is
    "C:\Users\(Your UserName)\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs"
    You may want to create a shortcut to it for quick access.

    For the one–time initial setup: Open Notepad, so you have an empty file. Click "Save As," name
    it "Nothing.exe" and save it on the Desktop. That creates a "dummy file," 0 bytes long,
    which looks like an "exe" program.

    Then, whenever you want to pin a file to the Taskbar, do this:

    1. Right–click "Nothing.exe" and select "Pin to Start." The system will create a shortcut
    to it in the Start Menu folder.

    2. Click once on your "target" file to select it, and then click "Copy Path" near the upper
    left corner of the folder window.

    3. Open the Start Menu folder, right–click the "Nothing" shortcut there, select "Properties,"
    and press control–V to "Paste." This replaces the path to "Nothing.exe" with that of your
    target file, so the shortcut will open it. Now the shortcut will look like the target file's
    icon, and you can then change it to a different icon if you want. Then rename it to your target
    file's name (but don't type any extension). Right–click it and "Pin to Taskbar."

    4. Finally, go to the Start Screen and unpin the "Nothing" tile so this method can be used
    again to pin more files. Or, if you want this file on the Start Screen too, leave the tile
    there; at the next reboot it will become a link to your file.

    Just for those who are dying with curiosity about it: *

    The Windows quirk that I discovered, which makes this method work, is that if a new tile
    is pinned to the Start Screen –– and its target at the time of pinning is an "exe" program
    (in this case the "Nothing.exe" that you create) –– the shortcut to it, which the system
    creates in the Start Menu folder, is a special kind of shortcut. I don't know the nature
    of the special property that it possesses; it isn't a property that you can set (or even
    see) on its "Properties" tabs. It probably has to do (like most Windows mysteries) with
    the Registry. But the result of this special property is that the shortcut is not only
    Taskbar–pinnable, but can have its target address changed to that of a data file and will
    even then remain Taskbar–pinnable. And only shortcuts created that way have this property,
    as far as I can tell.

    The above is, of course, only a brief summary of my research. If anyone wants my
    complete 847–page report, I'm selling copies at $139.99 plus tax and shipping.
    To order it, call 1–800–U–SUCKER.

    * In other words, "for all the Munchkins and their descendants......!"

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #12

    Posts : 4,515
    Vista and Win7

    Why all this trouble. I just put the folders into a toolbar. What would be wrong with that.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

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"Pin to Taskbar": Now you see it, now you don't!

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