Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums

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

  1. #1

    Posts : 308
    64-bit Windows 8

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

    The "Pin to Taskbar" function, though always available for programs, appears temperamental in regard to data files (txt, doc, pdf). At the moment I find that if I pin a file to Start, the "Pin to Taskbar" option will then appear if I right-click it on the Start Screen or All-Apps Screen (though it still won't appear in the Desktop environment). But I'm sure I've tried that before and it didn't work then.

    At any rate, on one occasion (January 9th) I was able to pin two files to the Taskbar from the All-Apps Screen (after making them appear there by putting shortcuts to them in the Start Menu folder). And yet -- although those two files are still on my Taskbar -- that method fails to work now!

    Of course, there are other ways of doing it, which have been discussed in other threads.

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2

    Posts : 22,582
    64-bit Windows 10

    I like creating a shortcut using the target below that you are able to pin to the taskbar and/or Start. You can also change it's icon to whatever you like as well.

    explorer "full path of file or folder"
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3

    Posts : 1,925
    Windows 8.1 Pro

    The key there is "by putting shortcuts to them in the start menu folder". You can't pin data documents to the start page or the taskbar, but you can pin shortcuts to them. This should always work, just make sure it's a shortcut you're pinning and not the document themselves.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #4

    Posts : 308
    64-bit Windows 8

    Thanks, Mystere. Now I remember what my original discovery was:
    If you pin a file to Start (which can be done if you've used the registry edit from the tutorial) the system creates a shortcut
    to it in the Start Menu folder, and you can pin THAT to the Taskbar.
    But if I create a shortcut myself, I find the Pin to Taskbar option doesn't show up, unless I pin to Start first.

    As far as I can make it out, an item can be pinned to the taskbar if it is:
    (1) A program;
    (2) A shortcut to a program;
    (3) A file or folder shortcut created by the system itself;
    (4) An indirect shortcut to a file or folder by way of File Explorer; or
    (5) A Start Screen tile for a file or folder.

    And, interestingly, the existence of any one of the above conditions is apparently sufficient
    to make "Pin to Taskbar" available for that item in all contexts.
    For example: Create a shortcut to a file in the usual way, and right-click it. "Pin to Taskbar" does not appear.
    Select "Pin to Start." Then right-click the icon again, and "Pin to Taskbar" is there!
    And right-clicking an item in the Metro All-Apps Screen gives "Pin to Taskbar"
    if the item corresponds to any of the above (1) through (5).

    But I'm sure all these unfathomable mysteries stem from that great God (or Devil) of Windows -- the Registry!
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #5

    Posts : 1,925
    Windows 8.1 Pro

    There is no need to have a "Pin to taskbar" command on most shortcuts. All you have to do is drag the shortcut onto the taskbar, and it pins it.

    Pin to taskbar is necessary on the start page because you can't just drag something from the start page to the taskbar.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  6. #6

    Posts : 308
    64-bit Windows 8

    You're right. But I wasn't really referring only to the command. What I meant is, an item CAN'T be pinned to the Taskbar (by any method) unless one of these 5 conditions applies.

    I tried it just now with a Word file. I created a shortcut to it, and when I dragged the shortcut to the Taskbar, an icon appeared there -- but it just opened Word (i.e., a blank document) instead of my file.

    So I made the shortcut Taskbar-pinnable by pinning it to Start; I dragged the same icon to the Taskbar again, and it pinned correctly. Then I deleted the shortcut and the Start Screen tile. The Taskbar icon still works. The item just has to be Taskbar-pinnable at the time the pinning is done.

    I guess, then, that the quickest way to get something on the Taskbar, if it doesn't want to go there, is just pin it to Start for a minute to make it Taskbar-pinnable. If that can't be done either, you can use a File Explorer shortcut.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  7. #7

    Posts : 308
    64-bit Windows 8

    An update: I tried disabling the "Pin to Start" command for files, and I found that without it you can't get a file onto the Taskbar at all, except with a File Explorer shortcut. You can still get a file onto the Start Screen, by the "Start Menu" method I found a few weeks ago, but "Pin to Taskbar" remains unavailable.

    And yet, if you have the "Pin to Start" option for files and you use that, you can then get "Pin to Taskbar" as I described above. Apparently the "Pin to Start" and "Pin to Taskbar" commands, though not one and the same, are somehow related.

    There may be some way to make "Pin to Taskbar" available for files by editing the Registry, but I wouldn't dare try it without knowing how.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  8. #8

    Posts : 308
    64-bit Windows 8

    A Triumph of Hacking

    The following falls into the category of "Curiosities."
    It is NOT intended for practical use, because it is unnecessary.

    We already know two very simple ways to pin a data file to the Taskbar:
    If you've installed the "Pin to Start" option for files,
    you just create a shortcut to the file, pin it to Start,
    and then you can pin it to the Taskbar.
    And if you haven't installed that option,
    you can always use an "indirect" shortcut to the file by way of
    File Explorer, as I've previously described.

    But, being a "Hack-a-holic," I set myself -- as an arbitrary problem --
    to find a method of pinning a file to the Taskbar in such a way that
    (1) The "Pin to Start" option for files need NOT be installed, AND
    (2) The Taskbar icon will NOT be indirect,
    but a direct shortcut to the file itself.
    (That is, its "Target" will be simply the file,
    with nothing about "Explorer" in it.)
    I've spent a lot of my spare time on it for a while,
    and tried countless approaches that failed to work for one
    reason or another, which only made me more determined
    to solve the "puzzle." Now I've finally found such a method.
    It requires 18 steps. But if you want to use it purely out of
    admiration for my incredible triumph of Windows-hacking --
    as I know EVERY one of you will -- then proceed as follows.

    To set it up for the first time:
    1. Open the following hidden folder:
    C:\Users\(Your UserName)\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\
    Internet Explorer\Quick Launch\User Pinned\TaskBar
    2. Put a shortcut to that folder on your Desktop or Taskbar,
    so you can open it quickly whenever you need to pin a file.
    3. Right-click the Desktop and select "New > Shortcut."
    4. Paste this address into the "Location" pane:
    C:\Windows\explorer.exe shell:::{3080F90D-D7AD-11D9-BD98-0000947B0257}
    5. Give it a name, such as "Pinner."
    6. Change its icon to one that you will recognize.
    The icon file "C:\Windows\System32\imageres.dll" contains an icon
    that looks like a pin and a Taskbar; you might use that.
    7. Keep this "Pinner" on your Desktop so that you can use it
    to pin files to the Taskbar whenever you want.
    As it now stands, it would just act as a "Show Desktop" shortcut,
    which you obviously don't need on the Desktop!
    But this is just the preliminary setup.

    Then, whenever you want to pin a file to the Taskbar, do the following:
    8. Right-click the "Pinner" and select "Copy."
    Then right-click the Desktop and select "Paste."
    This will make a second copy of the "Pinner" with a System-generated
    name, such as "Copy of Pinner" or "Pinner (2)".
    9. Rename the copy to the name of the file you're going to pin
    (but leave out the file's extension).
    10. Change the icon to whatever you want to see on the Taskbar for that file.
    ("imageres.dll" gives a large selection of icons.)
    11. Right-click it and select "Pin to Start."
    (It won't have to stay on the Start Screen permanently.)
    12. Go to the Start Screen, right-click the newly-created tile there,
    and select "Pin to Taskbar."

    Though the icon should now be on your Taskbar,
    it will obviously just work as another "Show Desktop."
    But now comes the trick!
    13. Look in the "Taskbar" folder that I mentioned above.
    It will also contain your new icon.
    14. Right-click it there and select "Properties."
    15. On the Shortcut" tab, delete the entire contents of the "Target" pane.
    16. In its place, type the complete address of the file you want to pin.
    (All the way from C:\ up to the filename and extension.)

    If you've followed all these steps exactly,
    the icon on your Taskbar will now open the data file.
    Then -- in order for the method to be usable again in the future
    for pinning other files -- you MUST do the following:
    17. Go to the Start Screen, right-click the new tile,
    and select "Unpin from Start."
    18. Delete the new shortcut from your Desktop, leaving only the
    original "Pinner" which you will use again next time.

    That will be $579.95, please. I take Visa and MasterCard.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  9. #9

    Posts : 308
    64-bit Windows 8

    One other note:
    You may run into problems with this method if you already
    have "Show Desktop" on your Taskbar as a PINNED item.
    In that case, you can use something else for Step 4 instead.
    But whatever you use --

    (1) It must be something that CAN be pinned to the Taskbar
    (such as a shortcut to a Desktop program like those shown on the Metro
    All-Apps Screen under "Windows Accessories" or "Microsoft Office").
    (2) It must be a SHORTCUT icon, not an ACTUAL program.
    (3) It must NOT be anything that's already on your Desktop
    or pinned to the Taskbar.
    (4) It should be a shortcut that you are now creating by yourself --
    NOT an already-existing shortcut,
    and NOT a copy made from an already-existing shortcut.

    The reasons for all these restrictions (and for the complexity
    of the method) have to do, I believe, with the Registry and the
    way it keeps its records of which items are pinned.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  10. #10

    Posts : 308
    64-bit Windows 8

    Or you can just disguise the file as a program!

    Another possible way of Taskbar–pinning a direct shortcut to a data file (like a Word or Notepad
    document) is by making it look like a program temporarily just so you can pin it.

    As an illustration, suppose you have a Word file called "HW.doc" which is your list of excuses
    for not doing your homework. You want it pinned so you can refer to it every day.

    Open the folder containing "HW.doc" and, on the View tab, check "Filename extensions."
    Make a note of what the file's EXACT extension is (doc, docx, etc. or in other cases it might
    be txt, pdf, or anything. You'll have a problem later if you can't remember it.)

    Rename the file: Put the cursor at the end, backspace over the extension, and change
    it to "exe" so that the file becomes "HW.exe" which makes it look like a program.
    (The icon will also change temporarily.)

    Warning: DO NOT left–click the file, or any shortcut to it, while it has the "exe" extension.
    If you do that, Windows will try to "run" the file as if it were a program itself.
    That would probably mess up your computer pretty well!

    Right–click the file and select "Pin to Taskbar." (Do NOT Pin to Start –– see below.)
    You will see the temporary substitute icon on your Taskbar, but DO NOT click it yet.

    First, go back to the file in your folder and rename it again: Put the cursor at the end,
    backspace over the "exe" and put back "doc" or whatever the file's original extension was.
    Then uncheck "Filename Extensions" on the View tab. (That option shouldn't be left on,
    because you might change a file's extension accidentally.)

    Now open the Taskbar folder,
    "C:\Users\(Your UserName)\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\
    Quick Launch\User Pinned\TaskBar"
    (If you were going to use this method all the time, you'd want to keep a shortcut
    to the Taskbar folder on your Desktop.)

    In the Taskbar folder you'll find your "HW" shortcut. Right–click it and select "Properties."
    On the "Shortcut" tab, in the "Target" pane, make the same change: Remove the "exe"
    from the end and put back the original extension.

    Now you can click the temporary Taskbar icon and it should open the file. After the
    next reboot, it will appear on the Taskbar as the file's actual icon.

    In your folder, along with the file, you'll find another "HW" icon that the system
    has created. That's just an empty exe file which you can now delete.

    This method cannot be used for pinning a file to the Start Screen, because the
    file is "pinnable" only when it has the "exe" extension. Thus, the Start Screen
    tile would be linking to the name "HW.exe" and there would be no way to change it.
    But the download in Brink's tutorial enables you to pin files to Start anyway.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

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