Microsoft

How do I add drive icons to either the Taskbar or the Quick Launch Bar in Windows 7?

Jack Wallen explains how to add a shortcut to a specific system drive to the Quick Launch Bar in Microsoft Windows 7, making access just a click away.

How many times do you access various system drives on your Microsoft Windows 7 machine per day?

  1. Once or twice
  2. 5-10
  3. 11-20
  4. Too often to count

If you fall into the "D" category, then you know how frustrating it can be to constantly have to click Start | Computer and then double-click the drive to finally gain access. When you are jumping from one drive to another to do your job, said job would be so much easier if you could add an icon to either the Taskbar or the Quick Launch Bar in Windows 7. Well, you can. It's actually quite simple to do.

There is one issue though: by default, Windows 7 did away with the Quick Launch Bar. Not only is it not enabled by default, you can't add it from the list of possible taskbars. Because of this, you will need to first re-enable the Quick Launch Bar before you can add an icon for a drive. Note: If you just want to add a drive icon to the Taskbar, you do not need to re-enable the Quick Launch Bar.

With that said, let's get to the process of first adding a Quick Launch Bar to your Taskbar.

This blog post is also available in PDF format in a TechRepublic download.

Add the Quick Launch Bar

Step 1:

The first step is to add a new toolbar to the currently running Taskbar. To do so, right-click the Taskbar and click Toolbars | New Toolbar (Figure A).

Figure A

Add a new toolbar.

Step 2:

Now you have to indicate where the new Taskbar will be located. Fortunately, the Quick Launch Bar is still there, it's only hidden from the naked eye. To include the Quick Launch Bar, in the Choose a Folder window (Figure B), you will see a text area for Folder. In this section, add the following:

%userprofile%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch

Figure B

Add text to folder.

Then, click the Select Folder button to include the Quick Launch Bar and dismiss the window.

Step 3:

You cannot make any changes to the Taskbar by default. In order to make changes, you have to actually unlock the Taskbar. To unlock the Taskbar, right-click it and then uncheck the Lock the Taskbar menu item. This will then allow you to make the necessary changes for adding the Quick Launch Bar.

Step 4:

When you unlock the Taskbar, you will see a divider show up on the Taskbar. Right-click on the divider that separates the Notification area from the rest of the Taskbar and make sure both Show Text and Show Title are disabled. You will also want to set View to Small Icons (Figure C).

Figure C

The divider is the two vertical, parallel lines that separate Taskbar components.

You can now drag the divider so that your Quick Launch Bar suits your needs. Congratulations, you now have the Quick Launch Bar back and are ready to add a drive icon to it.

For a full explanation of this process, go to the previously published post: "How Do I Get the Quick Launch Bar Back in Windows 7?"

Add a drive

Step 1:

This is going to seem a little strange, but you first have to add an icon to your desktop. Right-click on your desktop and click New | File. Name this file Drive-X (where X is the name of the drive you are looking to add).

Step 2:

Drag the new file to either the Taskbar or the Quick Launch Bar to add it. Now that it is there and pinned to the bar, you have to edit the properties of the launcher.

Step 3:

Right-click on the new launcher and then select Properties. In this new window, you need to change both the Target and the Start In sections to reflect the drive letter you want to open. Say, for example, you want to associate this launcher with Drive I. To do this, you would edit those fields to reflect the selections, shown in Figure D.

Figure D

Change Target and Start In.

By default the icon will be associated with the target type. You can change this by clicking the Change Icon button in the Shortcut tab.

You can, of course, dictate that the Explorer Window starts in a folder within the drive instead of the root of the drive. To do this, you would add the explicit path to the folder in the Start In value. Once you have finished editing both the Target and the Start In values, click OK. Now you should be able to click on the icon in the Quick Launch (or Taskbar) and Windows Explorer will automatically open to that drive.

Final thoughts

There are so many ways to take the default Windows 7 desktop to better and more efficient heights, whether it is simply creating icons for the various drives you have on your machine or just adding the Quick Launch Bar back to the Taskbar.

About

Jack Wallen is an award-winning writer for TechRepublic and Linux.com. He’s an avid promoter of open source and the voice of The Android Expert. For more news about Jack Wallen, visit his website getjackd.net.

13 comments
midgarddragon
midgarddragon

There was instructions for making a Recycle Bin icon on the taskbar that works much easier than this and can be adapted for this. Right click C:\ or the drive you want) and "Create Shortcut). Put it in a folder labeled as OS (C) (or again whatever your drive is labeled as). Now put it somewhere convenient for you. Now right click -> lock taskbar to uncheck it, right click on the separater on the right, click new toolbar, open up the folder you created. Now right click on the new separater, uncheck title, uncheck text, use big or small icons depending on what the rest of your taskbar is. Now right click taskbar again and recheck to lock it. Voila. Quicklaunch is dead for a reason.

mike.panagos
mike.panagos

1. Right-click on your desktop and choose to create a new shortcut 2. Set the location as: explorer.exe "P:\" ---Change the drive letter or path to whatever you want 3. Finish going through the Create Shortcut Wizard 4. Drag the shortcut from the Desktop to the Taskbar 5. Delete the shortcut from the desktop You can use this same technique to pin documents to the taskbar: http://www.grimadmin.com/dokuwiki/doku.php/howto_pin_a_document_in_windows_7

McThePro
McThePro

Just create a folder anywhere, like the Documents folder. I named mine "Toolbar". Then add any shortcuts inside this folder, to programs, folders or drives. Right-click the Taskbar, Toolbars, New Toolbar and select this folder. No need to create an icon to your desktop, drag it and change its Properties. It is just silly.

seanferd
seanferd

I didn't try it in the 7 beta/RC testing period. So, can you add the "(My) Computer" as a cascading toolbar? I find this handy on occasion.

dogknees
dogknees

If you need to access various drives, why not have Explorer open all the time with the Folder pane showing. Seems a lot easier than closing and opening it all the time.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

Have you added back the Quick Launch Bar or are you satisfied with the Windows 7 Taskbar?

GarnerH
GarnerH

Baring naming differences this was the approach I used

dogknees
dogknees

I just tried both My Documents and Computer. Both work as previously. Essentially this works with any folder. Real or Imaginary!

djo165
djo165

I used to use shortcuts like this but used the command "explorer /n, /e, /root, x:\path" to make the x:\path folder the root of the window. I really miss that functionality in Win7. I don't see a way of getting rid of all the clutter in the navigation pane without disabling certain functions.

IndianaTux
IndianaTux

Along with a few other toolbars on the taskbar. I am however disappointed that they disabled the ability to detach new toolbars from the taskbar with no way to unlock. In XP I had a toolbar at the top of my screen with several toolbars embedded. Under Win7 I'm forced to keep them all at the bottom. Additionally, when following your instructions, I find that when I right-click and select New, I don't have a File option. Using Windows 7 Professional 64-bit. Regards, IndianaTux

icrobertson
icrobertson

Is there a way of moving the QL bar to appear next to the Start button, instead of over on the extreme right-hand side?

dogknees
dogknees

I've added icons to 2 custom toolbars. One for the apps I use most days showing icons only and a cascading one showing titles for my Books folder where I have all the documentation I use.

dogknees
dogknees

It can be dragged about using the "dotty handle". It's a bit of a trial the first few times though. You have to drag it all the way across to the start button before it will jump. Basically, it closes the other areas up until they won't close no more, then jumps across. You then have to put the rest of it back where it was. Note the dotty handle for the "rest" of the start bar. That controls the area containing the tabs for running apps and can be dragged like the others. I'm leaning toward not setting up shortcuts for drives, but pinning them to the jump list for Explorer. It's an extra click, but I generally leave explorer open, so I'm not bothered by one click. I think making use of the facilities of the new start bar is the way to go. There's not much you can't do with it, and there are lots of little niceties to be found and used. We sometimes forget that our much loved way of doing something is often the result of trying to get around the limitations of the system. When a new version comes along, rather than trying to make the new system work the same way, it's worth going back to scratch. Often the reasons we did what we did no longer exist and we can do things the way we originally wanted to. I'm really enjoying most of the interface updates in Win 7 and find little to complain about. Many say it's all just eye-candy, but the reality is that the way our surroundings look has a significant impact on our mood and energy levels. Anything that improves this in the workplace can only be a good thing.

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