Customizing the Windows 7 Taskbar

So do you like the new Windows 7 taskbar? I have to admit, I missed the old Windows taskbar that Vista and Windows XP employed, but when I discovered how to customize it more to my liking, I don’t how I ever did without it.

For instance, the taskbar holds not only shortcuts to programs like Internet Explorer, Windows Media Player or whatever program you want to have handy there, but you can put shortcuts to often-used folders and files as well.

How does one accomplish this?

By default, there should be a Windows Explorer (the file explorer, not Internet Explorer) shortcut on your taskbar (yellow circle; click to enlarge):

Right-click the icon and you will see something similar to the above. Notice there is a ‘pinned’ area (pale blue circle) and below that a list of ‘recent’ folders I have visited. There are three ways to ‘pin’ a folder to this icon. so that a simple right-click and select the folder will go right to that folder.

  1. Hover your mouse over one of the recent folders and a small pushpin will appear to the right of the folder’s label. Click this pushpin to pin the folder.
  2. the second way is to click and drag the folder from recent to pinned.
  3. the third way is for a folder that does not appear in the recent folder area. To do this, you need to navigate (browse) to where the folder is on your drive (say, for instance, a favourite folder within the Pictures folder) then drag the folder icon from Windows Explorer to the icon on the taskbar. As you move the folder over the Windows Explorer icon a ‘Pin to Windows Explorer’ pop-up will appear. Release the mouse button to accomplish your task. Now when you right-click the Explorer taskbar icon, the folder will have a shortcut under ‘Pinned’.

Do you use a program like Microsoft Word or another word processing program? Likely you would appreciate having a shortcut on the taskbar that you can ‘pin’ certain document files to. To do this, simply drag any Word file to the taskbar and drop it there. This creates a shortcut to Word with your document already pinned in the list at the top:

Pretty cool, eh? This tip applies to any program on the taskbar, such as Windows Media Player and even Internet Explorer, where you can pin your favourite shortcuts to have them handy.

Do have any favourite Windows 7 taskbar tips to share? Please add a comment below!