• This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn more.

How to remove default pinned taskbar icons in Windows 8.1?


loosus

New Member
Posts
7
#1
Here is our dilemma. At the community college I work at, the librarians have requested that certain icons be pinned to the taskbar for all users. By default, Internet Explorer, File Explorer, and Store are pinned on the taskbar in Windows 8.1.

Well, they want none of those icons pinned to the taskbar, but they do want other icons pinned. I have tried a script to get rid of them on logon, but it deletes the icons so slowly that users can actually notice the icons disappearing on logon (it takes about 2 seconds per icon to delete). The librarians dislike this.

So, has anyone figured out the mechanism that creates these three icons? I would like to figure out a way to disable their creation in the first place, if possible. Already, Windows will allow additional icons to be added; it simply won't allow these three to be removed.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8.1 Enterprise

alphanumeric

slightly off center
VIP Member
Guru
Gold Member
#2
Right click and select "unpin this program from the taskbar". I have that option for all three on my Windows 8.1 system.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 10 Education 64 Bit
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    System Manufacturer/Model Number
    Asus
    CPU
    AMD Phenom II X4 980 Black Edition Deneb 3.7GHz
    Motherboard
    ASUS M4N68T-M V2 µATX Motherboard
    Memory
    8GB 4GBx2 Kingston PC10600 DDR3 1333 Memory
    Graphics Card(s)
    NVIDIA Geforce GT640 2 Gig DDR3 PCIe
    Sound Card
    VIA VT1708s High Definition Audio 8-channel Onboard
    Monitor(s) Displays
    22" LG E2242 1080p and 2 19" I-INC AG191D
    Screen Resolution
    1280x1024 - 1920x1080 - 1280x1024
    Hard Drives
    Crucial MX100 256 GB SSD and 500 GB WD Blue SATA
    PSU
    Thermaltake TR 620
    Case
    Power Up Black ATX Mid-Tower Case
    Cooling
    Stock heatsink fan
    Keyboard
    Logitech Wireless K350 Wave
    Mouse
    Logitech M570 Trackball and T650 TouchPad
    Internet Speed
    80 Mbps Down 30 Mbps Up
    Browser
    Internet Explorer 11
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender
    Other Info
    HP DVD1040e Lightscribe - External USB2

loosus

New Member
Posts
7
#3
Right click and select "unpin this program from the taskbar". I have that option for all three on my Windows 8.1 system.
Unfortunately, we need a way to programmatically do this as soon as the user logs in. Hundreds of users login to each computer, and the librarians do not want them to see certain icons, especially the Internet Explorer icon because they want users using Firefox only.

The logon scripts that I have used that will get this job done have been too slow for production because the icons slowly disappear from the taskbar, giving the impression that there is something wrong with the computer. If it happened in the blink of an eye, then it would be acceptable.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8.1 Enterprise

alphanumeric

slightly off center
VIP Member
Guru
Gold Member
#4

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 10 Education 64 Bit
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    System Manufacturer/Model Number
    Asus
    CPU
    AMD Phenom II X4 980 Black Edition Deneb 3.7GHz
    Motherboard
    ASUS M4N68T-M V2 µATX Motherboard
    Memory
    8GB 4GBx2 Kingston PC10600 DDR3 1333 Memory
    Graphics Card(s)
    NVIDIA Geforce GT640 2 Gig DDR3 PCIe
    Sound Card
    VIA VT1708s High Definition Audio 8-channel Onboard
    Monitor(s) Displays
    22" LG E2242 1080p and 2 19" I-INC AG191D
    Screen Resolution
    1280x1024 - 1920x1080 - 1280x1024
    Hard Drives
    Crucial MX100 256 GB SSD and 500 GB WD Blue SATA
    PSU
    Thermaltake TR 620
    Case
    Power Up Black ATX Mid-Tower Case
    Cooling
    Stock heatsink fan
    Keyboard
    Logitech Wireless K350 Wave
    Mouse
    Logitech M570 Trackball and T650 TouchPad
    Internet Speed
    80 Mbps Down 30 Mbps Up
    Browser
    Internet Explorer 11
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender
    Other Info
    HP DVD1040e Lightscribe - External USB2

loosus

New Member
Posts
7
#5
Yeah, there are no policies in Group Policy that deal with this except one that completely disables pinned items on the taskbar. That, too, won't work because the librarians do want pinned taskbar items -- just not the default ones.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8.1 Enterprise

alphanumeric

slightly off center
VIP Member
Guru
Gold Member
#6
That leaves editing the default profile that is used to create a new user profile. I've never done it but some here likely have. If you start a new thread with that in the title you may get better results. Sorry I can't be of more help.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 10 Education 64 Bit
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    System Manufacturer/Model Number
    Asus
    CPU
    AMD Phenom II X4 980 Black Edition Deneb 3.7GHz
    Motherboard
    ASUS M4N68T-M V2 µATX Motherboard
    Memory
    8GB 4GBx2 Kingston PC10600 DDR3 1333 Memory
    Graphics Card(s)
    NVIDIA Geforce GT640 2 Gig DDR3 PCIe
    Sound Card
    VIA VT1708s High Definition Audio 8-channel Onboard
    Monitor(s) Displays
    22" LG E2242 1080p and 2 19" I-INC AG191D
    Screen Resolution
    1280x1024 - 1920x1080 - 1280x1024
    Hard Drives
    Crucial MX100 256 GB SSD and 500 GB WD Blue SATA
    PSU
    Thermaltake TR 620
    Case
    Power Up Black ATX Mid-Tower Case
    Cooling
    Stock heatsink fan
    Keyboard
    Logitech Wireless K350 Wave
    Mouse
    Logitech M570 Trackball and T650 TouchPad
    Internet Speed
    80 Mbps Down 30 Mbps Up
    Browser
    Internet Explorer 11
    Antivirus
    Windows Defender
    Other Info
    HP DVD1040e Lightscribe - External USB2

Brink

Administrator
Administrator
mvp
Posts
23,385
#7
Hello Loosus, and welcome to Eight Forums.

If you like, the tutorial below may be able to help with this. You could create a backup of a taskbar that has the pinned icons you want on it.

Save the backup to where you like.

Modify the restore .bat file for the location you saved the backup to.

Place the restore .bat file in the startup folder of each user account you want to do this for.

http://www.eightforums.com/tutorials/9609-taskbar-pinned-apps-back-up-restore-windows-8-a.html

Hope this helps, :)
Shawn
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    64-bit Windows 10
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    System Manufacturer/Model Number
    Custom self built
    CPU
    Intel i7-8700K OC'd to 5 GHz
    Motherboard
    ASUS ROG Maximus XI Formula Z390
    Memory
    16 GB (8GBx2) G.SKILL TridentZ DDR4 3200 MHz
    Graphics Card(s)
    ASUS ROG-STRIX-GTX1080TI-O11G-GAMING
    Sound Card
    Integrated Digital Audio (S/PDIF)
    Monitor(s) Displays
    3 x 27" Asus VE278Q
    Screen Resolution
    1920x1080
    Hard Drives
    250GB Samsung 960 EVO M.2,
    256GB OCZ Vector,
    6TB WD Black WD6001FZWX
    8TB WD MyCloudEX2Ultra NAS
    PSU
    OCZ Series Gold OCZZ1000M 1000W
    Case
    Thermaltake Core P3
    Cooling
    Corsair Hydro H115i
    Keyboard
    Logitech wireless K800
    Mouse
    Logitech MX Master
    Internet Speed
    1 Gb/s Download and 35 Mb/s Upload
    Browser
    Internet Explorer 11
    Antivirus
    Malwarebyte Anti-Malware Premium
    Other Info
    Logitech Z625 speaker system,
    Logitech BRIO 4K Pro webcam,
    HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M477fdn,
    Linksys EA9500 router,
    Arris SB8200 cable modem,
    APC SMART-UPS RT 1000 XL - SURT1000XLI,
    Lumia 1520 phone

loosus

New Member
Posts
7
#8
Shawn, that may work. Have you tested this on logon to see how quickly it happens? These machines are frozen using DeepFreeze, so this will happen every time any user logs in, not just the first time.

Also, do you think restarting explorer.exe every time could have any unexpected repercussions for the user session?
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8.1 Enterprise

loosus

New Member
Posts
7
#9
Okay, this is making me think. Another question: do you know if it is explorer.exe that is actually creating the default icons? If so, is there a flag that tells explorer.exe that this is the first logon?

Or, does a process before explorer.exe pin the icons?
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8.1 Enterprise

Brink

Administrator
Administrator
mvp
Posts
23,385
#10
It makes the change about instantly.

The pinned icons on the taskbar are stored in the location in the blue note box at the top per user of the tutorial. Restoring a backup at startup for a user would be a good way to reset the taskbar to how you want it each time they log in.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    64-bit Windows 10
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    System Manufacturer/Model Number
    Custom self built
    CPU
    Intel i7-8700K OC'd to 5 GHz
    Motherboard
    ASUS ROG Maximus XI Formula Z390
    Memory
    16 GB (8GBx2) G.SKILL TridentZ DDR4 3200 MHz
    Graphics Card(s)
    ASUS ROG-STRIX-GTX1080TI-O11G-GAMING
    Sound Card
    Integrated Digital Audio (S/PDIF)
    Monitor(s) Displays
    3 x 27" Asus VE278Q
    Screen Resolution
    1920x1080
    Hard Drives
    250GB Samsung 960 EVO M.2,
    256GB OCZ Vector,
    6TB WD Black WD6001FZWX
    8TB WD MyCloudEX2Ultra NAS
    PSU
    OCZ Series Gold OCZZ1000M 1000W
    Case
    Thermaltake Core P3
    Cooling
    Corsair Hydro H115i
    Keyboard
    Logitech wireless K800
    Mouse
    Logitech MX Master
    Internet Speed
    1 Gb/s Download and 35 Mb/s Upload
    Browser
    Internet Explorer 11
    Antivirus
    Malwarebyte Anti-Malware Premium
    Other Info
    Logitech Z625 speaker system,
    Logitech BRIO 4K Pro webcam,
    HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M477fdn,
    Linksys EA9500 router,
    Arris SB8200 cable modem,
    APC SMART-UPS RT 1000 XL - SURT1000XLI,
    Lumia 1520 phone

loosus

New Member
Posts
7
#11
I may very well use that technique.

I have some time left to work on this, though. Are there any tools that can be run to see when, during first logon, that the icons are pinned? I am interested in knowing if the icon creation happens before or during the launch of Explorer.exe.

If it occurs before, I could potentially kill off the icons then, and Explorer.exe wouldn't load them to begin with.

If it happens during, that would seem to indicate that a flag tells Explorer.exe that this is the first logon for the user. In that case, I could possibly do one of two things:

--Remove the flag before Explorer.exe runs (potentially undesirable, as Explorer.exe may be performing some other activities that need to be done for new users)

--Make the pinned taskbar icon locations temporarily non-editable via reduced permissions. This may create problems, of course, like error messages.

I am just trying to understand at which step in the logon process these icons are pinned in Windows 8.1 Update 1 to see if there is a better way to remove these icons.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8.1 Enterprise

loosus

New Member
Posts
7
#12
So, I did two tests:

1. I used the "Custom User Interface" group-policy setting to make it where Explorer.exe did not run at all when a new user logged in. Then, I logged the user out. I then checked the registry, and it did not appear that the "TaskBand" registry key had been created at all.

2. I set Process Monitor to look for all events that contained either the word "TaskBand" or "TaskBar." Then, I logged into a new user account named test5. It would appear that Explorer.exe does indeed create the pinned icons:

Capture.PNG

Capture2.PNG

So knowing that...I am not sure what to do with this new-found information. :)
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    Windows 8.1 Enterprise

Brink

Administrator
Administrator
mvp
Posts
23,385
#13
The taskbar is part of the explorer process, so yeah no explorer no taskbar.

I'd say just as a test to see what you think, create a backup of the taskbar, save the backup where you like, use the modified restore .bat file to restore the backup for that user like posted here.
 

My Computer

System One

  • OS
    64-bit Windows 10
    Computer type
    PC/Desktop
    System Manufacturer/Model Number
    Custom self built
    CPU
    Intel i7-8700K OC'd to 5 GHz
    Motherboard
    ASUS ROG Maximus XI Formula Z390
    Memory
    16 GB (8GBx2) G.SKILL TridentZ DDR4 3200 MHz
    Graphics Card(s)
    ASUS ROG-STRIX-GTX1080TI-O11G-GAMING
    Sound Card
    Integrated Digital Audio (S/PDIF)
    Monitor(s) Displays
    3 x 27" Asus VE278Q
    Screen Resolution
    1920x1080
    Hard Drives
    250GB Samsung 960 EVO M.2,
    256GB OCZ Vector,
    6TB WD Black WD6001FZWX
    8TB WD MyCloudEX2Ultra NAS
    PSU
    OCZ Series Gold OCZZ1000M 1000W
    Case
    Thermaltake Core P3
    Cooling
    Corsair Hydro H115i
    Keyboard
    Logitech wireless K800
    Mouse
    Logitech MX Master
    Internet Speed
    1 Gb/s Download and 35 Mb/s Upload
    Browser
    Internet Explorer 11
    Antivirus
    Malwarebyte Anti-Malware Premium
    Other Info
    Logitech Z625 speaker system,
    Logitech BRIO 4K Pro webcam,
    HP Color LaserJet Pro MFP M477fdn,
    Linksys EA9500 router,
    Arris SB8200 cable modem,
    APC SMART-UPS RT 1000 XL - SURT1000XLI,
    Lumia 1520 phone