Windows

Reposition Windows XP's Quick Launch toolbar

Move your Windows XP Quick Access toolbar to a different spot on your desktop with this tip from Greg Shultz.

If you like using the Quick Launch toolbar but wish that it did not take up so much room on the taskbar, you can easily move the Quick Launch toolbar to any other location on the desktop. You can move it to the top, left, or right edge of the desktop. Here's how:

  1. Right-click on the taskbar and select the Lock The Taskbar command to unlock the taskbar.
  2. Position your mouse pointer over the dotted vertical divider on the left edge of the Quick Launch toolbar.
  3. When your cursor turns into a double-headed arrow, just click and drag the Quick Launch toolbar to any edge of the desktop and drop it.

After you drop the Quick Launch toolbar, it may appear as a window. If it does, just perform the drag-and-drop operation again making sure that toolbar anchors to the edge of the desktop. You may then need to resize the toolbar. Once you have it positioned where you want, right-click on the toolbar and select the Always On Top command so you can always access the Quick Launch toolbar just as you do the taskbar.

Note: This tip applies to Windows XP Home and Windows XP Professional.

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About

Greg Shultz is a freelance Technical Writer. Previously, he has worked as Documentation Specialist in the software industry, a Technical Support Specialist in educational industry, and a Technical Journalist in the computer publishing industry.

94 comments
hheightman
hheightman

Thanks, I didn't know that task bar components could be separated like this. I had quite a few shortcuts in quick launch and it was getting crowded. I wound up putting those shortcuts in a folder and putting the folder in quick launch. That helped but this is much more elegant. Thanks again.

Marshwiggle
Marshwiggle

For what it's worth, here's my own compromise on any PC that I'm going spend any time working on. (I use Windows Classic view, so there might be some minor differences.) Assuming that the Task Bar is in the default position: 1) Right-click an empty area and uncheck Lock the Taskbar. 2) Left-click an empty area and drag it up, then to the left until it docks. 3) If the Quick Launch bar isn't showing, right-click an empty area of the Taskbar, click Properties, and check Show Quick Launch; while there make sure that Autohide the Taskbar and Keep the Taskbar on top ... are also checked, to maximize workspace. 4) With the Taskbar showing, get the double-headed pointer on the left edge and pull it out to about an inch, just wide enough for 4 small icons in a QL row. 5) Add all the shortcuts you want to the QL area, adjusting the height of the Taskbar as needed. For my money, this arrangement gives me quicker access to the Taskbar (there's greater wrist flexibility moving the pointer horizontally than vertically), the ability to fit a lot more tasks on the bar without "growing" it, and maximum workspace. The compromise part is that I often can't see the entire task description (but I can usually see all I really need to), and every now and then the Taskbar will forget its manners and not hide itself, or the tool-tip descriptions for icons will start popping out under the Taskbar. Both nuisances seem to go away on their own after a while, or if I minimize all windows and just restore the one I was last working in. Of course, if I'm on another user's PC, I offer to put things back they way they had them (and it only takes a few clicks to do so), but often as not they like the new arrangement and ask me to leave it as is.

marph321
marph321

I found a problem with putting files in the toolbar they disappear and can't find them even with a recovery tool program short cut icons are no problem

Gis Bun
Gis Bun

Instead of using the Quicklaunch, where just about every application dumps an icon into it, I disabled it. I then created a folder called "Links" off My Documents. Inside that I created 4 folders, "Apps", "Drv", "Inet", and "Oth" (last one is others). I kept them short because it will save space on the bar. Populate each with your favorite links. Next I created a toolbar and I pointed to each one. When you do so, on the right side of the bar near the system tray you should see (using my example) "Apps >>", "Drv >>", "Inet >>" and "Oth >>". Click on one of them and a menu with your links will pop up. They will sort on the next login or go into each folder and refresh.

kamal kr
kamal kr

receive error : cannot create toolbar when launch via rt click > toolbar > quick launch plz help

KeithAu001
KeithAu001

After having read some of the comments on this particular blog, there are some who dont believe in the relevance of this tip, and probably other tips. If you don't like the tips then simply unsubscribe to this particular email, and stop bagging the people who spend their time in "educating" others. I have found most of the tips on here useful, some I have known about and some I havent. Some I have and still use(d) and some I dont use. Its up to the individual to use them or not, but dont bag the techies who post the tips, dont bag the tips

gil_gosseyn
gil_gosseyn

Sorry for the off-topic question, but this tip brought my question to mind. Does anyone know a way to mirror or reverse the Taskbar, i.e. Start button on the right end and the System Tray on the left? Is this even possible?

Mike
Mike

(Remember that you have to unlock the taskbar to move Quick Launch around and if you lose it you can add it back to the Taskbar with a right click on the taskbar etc.- but your shortcuts will be in different order and when you play around with the toolbars they may be hidden behind each other so be patient with yourself.) Having said that: After repositioning you can right click on the toolbar and add more toolbars, such as "Links", "Desktop", and also make your own toolbars. The new toolbar is a folder somewhere on your pc. If you have a folder that you use quite a bit highlight that folder in the list - when there are subfolders a click on that folder opens up an exployer window. But, if you compress that toolbar with another, or if it is longer than the whole toolbar itself, in the Quick Launch a double arrow '>>' appears at the bottom and clicking on that will bring up a menu of the contents. That menu shows an arrow next to the subfolders and will open another menu (NO Exployer WINDOWS!). AND - your new toolbar can be moved to the other side (or top) of the screen using the same grabbing of the dotted line and moving where you want (even in the middle of the desktop - be careful). Always be sure to check "Always on top"!! I like to hide the taskbar and toolbars to give the largest viewable area. I may need to explain it better, but try it out and experiment with special needs of your own. Now, if we could only move the clock under the Start button we could save more room.

joanne.gallagher
joanne.gallagher

i like this tip but i cant seem to resize the toolbar once i drag it to the desktop. it creates a toolbar on the left side going from the top of the screen to the bottom. i only have 7 shortcuts so i most of the toolbar is empty space and i can only resize the width, not the length. :-(

cvtbob
cvtbob

Is there any way to put my Quick Launch toolbar on the bottom of my Vista Sidebar? Now, THAT would be the best!

sbmack7
sbmack7

The toolbar drove me crazy because it never receded when it was supposed to. So hide parts of maximized windows. Trying to move the toolbar was like trying to move a stubborn mule. I turned off the Always on Top option to make it go away. But then I had to minimize one window to maximize another. I finally gave up and installed OpenDock: http://www.stardock.com/products/objectdock/learn.asp?190d Which is fantastic. Meaning that it works like it?s supposed to. And I junked Windows Explorer and replaced it with UltimateExplorer: http://www.mustangpeak.net/ Of course I zotzed out IE and replaced that with Firefox. And for good measure I now use VideoLan: http://www.videolan.org/ instead of Windows Media Player because it will play anything. I don?t substitute out MS stuff because I don?t like MS. I do it because I can get better functionality from a handful of guys supporting a product than MS can provide by throwing 5,000 programmers at the same application type.

kcassidys
kcassidys

Didn't work for me on XP MCE, either

charliecomputech
charliecomputech

I guess even the trivial is important if you don't know it.

TQ66
TQ66

All the double headed arrow lets me do is to change the width of the Quick Launch within the Toolbar. I can't drag it upwards or to any other edge of the screen

rawattrilok
rawattrilok

Hi, Sir my printer errer for print out bat samtime errer in outoff printer momery erre pls

bletterman
bletterman

I can not get my pointer to change to the double headed arrow you describe on the left vertical bar. Am I missing something?

KeithAu001
KeithAu001

You still need to do 2 clicks to activate the program so it kinda defeats the purpose of the "Quick Launch" Idea don't it?

KeithAu001
KeithAu001

Hey, I couldnt resist that post, but I was kidding of course, just my wicked sence of humor cut in.

KeithAu001
KeithAu001

well i am not sure if this is a truely technical reply but you could try this: 1. Drag taskbar to top of screen 2. Tip screen up side down 3. Remember Pirates 3 Up is down and down is up when using the mouse and typing

Interested Amateur
Interested Amateur

There is a free program called T-Clock http://homepage1.nifty.com/kazubon/ you can use to manipulate the clock in the Taskbar. I have the date on the top with the clock in numeric form underneath. The background is canary yellow on the left side and transcends into lime green on the right. My font is 14 point in royal blue. I can read the time/date from 6 feet away. A huge help for these tired, old eyes. Interested Amateur

Mike
Mike

You can use up more of the empty space by adding other toolbars such as "Links" and such. Also, see my other post below: "Reposition AND alot more!"

KeithAu001
KeithAu001

Arent we drifting off subject here? Maybe this could be better in another blog as it has pretty much nothing to do with the QL bar subject.

amanabala
amanabala

May be its time for you (and all of us who cannot take the BS from Microsoft any more) to move on. There are new alternatives out there like Linux. And ofcourse the green terminals are always there.

jkinlaw
jkinlaw

Video Lan has too many vulnerabilities. NSA list it as a no use application. Even thier own website says there are vulnerabilities that they don't have fixes for.

catzgraham
catzgraham

Kcassidys - you need to make sure you have 1. Unlocked the task bar 2. Select the dots on the left side near the Start button, not the ones that are on the right side of the quick launch icons. It DOES work on XP MCE - have that on my laptop and works perfectly.

ellsanto
ellsanto

Your taskbar must be locked. Right click on the taskbar, and uncheck "Lock Taskbar". That should free it up for you.

deepsand
deepsand

BTW, altering Windows various bars is [b]not[/b] a trivial matter, owing to the fact that there is no one consistent method for their being modified and/or re-positioned, not all methods work, or work equally well, on all builds of any version of Windows, and there is no guarantee that any changes will be permanent. In short, modifying said bars is a crap shoot; if you've never had any settings for them go south, and refuse to do your bidding, you've been damn lucky.

catzgraham
catzgraham

Just wanted to clarify - I am IN FAVOR of the taskbar tip! I was taking issue with CharlieComputerTech's comment. What does it matter if it is a tip that has been around a long time? There are things that have been around forever that have not been seen by the newer generation of users...and besides that - every minute counts when you are in a situation where time is crucial such as those of us in the medical field or security field. We may be working against a deadline or someone's life at stake and every second you shave off having to get somethng up and running can mean a huge difference to someone. If you live to a ripe old age, Charlie, you will come to realize nothing is trivial to someone somewhere and we should never judge what we do not know. As for me - I work with over 104 programs every day and sometimes half that many in an hour - I need TWO taskbars to handle my quick launch icons on a normal day --- believe me - this is a very necessary thing for me to be able to open a program on the fly --- it may be trivial to you - but to my client it can mean breath or death. And my original comment about arrogance covering up ignorance? That's my opinion and I am stickin' to it. No need to put someone else down to make yourself look better if you are deserving of the better on your own two feet. Right, Charlie?

Lovs2look
Lovs2look

If it's so trivial, why did you have to comment. Ignore and move on if it's so beneath you...geez!

catzgraham
catzgraham

Why the attitude? Arrogance very often masks ignorance. Of course that is my trivial opinion. :)

tiredoftechrepublic
tiredoftechrepublic

IMHO, if you are really a tech, you would know that sometimes users get the Task Bar or Quick Launch repositioned by mistake. Knowing everything you can about what you are supporting makes you a better tech.

deICERAY
deICERAY

My quick indexing/search bar disappeared, and the quick launch and task bar swapped sides, but nothings dragging and anchoring. Why didn't you suggest a restore point? Why didn't I think of that? Doh.

private.email1805
private.email1805

I was always a fan of the Office Shortcut Bar, I'd put it running down the left edge of my screen. When I got XP, I know I tried this with the Quick Launch Bar and it definitely wouldn't do it. I'm glad it does now, thanks Greg.

Waleed Z
Waleed Z

Use the dotted lines on the left side to drag the toolbar out - using the right side won't work.

maaho
maaho

This will work if you don't have any windows adjacent to the side of your screen that you select, and be sure to release the mouse only when positioned on the right half of the screen (for the top) or lower half (for the sides).

KeithAu001
KeithAu001

I have known about this action since I've had XP. I had to get a later version of XP which is now XP SP2 V 2002, and it still works on it. You have to drag the QL toolbar only and make sure you drag it right out of the task bar. It might help if you make the taskbar wider by unlocking it first then placing the cursor over the upper edge of the complete taskbar, and dragging it uppwards. This shoule make it easier to get onto the correct "spotted" lines at the left edge of the QL Bar, then as I said make sure you drag it right away from the Taskbar.

CaptBilly1Eye
CaptBilly1Eye

With the Task Bar unlocked, right click in the QL area and in the resulting menu click on View. There you can select Large Icons rather than the default of Small Icons. (if you don't see the View option, carefully right clicking in a different spot within the QL area) We older doods like 'em larger.... easier to click on. 'course that means they take up more space, but I have seven of my favorites there for quicker access. Does anyone else use the Links tool bar as well? ... another 'feature' I've come to like because it saves ya from having to open IE first. Too bad I can't set it to link to Firefox.

Greg Shultz
Greg Shultz

...taskbar is unlocked. Right click on the Taskbar and click the Lock The Taskbar item in order to clear the check mark. You will then see the double headed arrow.

compuguy
compuguy

You need make sure that your taskbar is unlocked before you will see the vertical lines, and the double-headde arrow. Right-click in any open area of the task bar, and make sure that "lock the taskbar" is unchecked. When you're all done with your changes, you can re-lock the taskbar.

Gis Bun
Gis Bun

It's still faster than going through the Start menu and you can get way more applications to choose from than the regular quick launch. My home PC has 5 icons on the desktop [and I can reduce that quite easily]. I've seen people with 60+ icons [on a big screen]. Try finding things.

deepsand
deepsand

that is a very nice little utility. I'm especially fond of its providing for quick access to a calendar.

Larry the Security Guy
Larry the Security Guy

"May be its time ... to move on." It sounded like sbmack was describing how he improved his efficiency within Windows. Switching to another OS is not always the answer. The freedom to switch, however, is what all Linux and open-source advocates espouse.

Haas
Haas

But this trick is an important one since it doesn't enhance your work performance or windows performance or anything. I do this trick only when I am teaching and my students can't see on the big screen my Task Bar so I always move it to the top. My boy who is going to turn 7 soon plays with this trick all the type, he finds it amusing. All in all it's irrelevant but for a technician is something given that he/she should know about it to help a user who misplaces the Task Bar my mistake and doesn't know how to put it back.

KeithAu001
KeithAu001

You people must be doing something wrong, you have to drag the dotted line on the left of the Quick Launch bar, as I said in my earlier post, Adjust the size of the Task Bar first then it will be easier to grab the QL bar on the dotted lines.

JohnBeaman
JohnBeaman

Right click on task bar, or right click in QL area? How do I get rid of the dam >>

vbrucewhitehead
vbrucewhitehead

Actually, I stay away from all the toolbars, since they take away from the vertical space for viewing actual content, which is what the web surfing experience is all about for me at least, and forces me to scroll more and/or reduces the font size thus making it more difficult to read. Nevertheless, as a rule there's an exception to every rule (yes I know), so I do, however reluctantly, give ground to NoScript, my favorite FF add-on, which shares the Status Bar, which I like as well even though I would like to move it to someplace if I knew how (anybody?) with the McAfee SiteAdvisor (in IE7, SA sits on my optional old menu bar, which works well). I sure wish there was a NoScript for FF since it works great and saves me steps and time.

JohnBeaman
JohnBeaman

I want the bar seperator. Can't find where to make it that way. Locking the task bar or not has no effect either way on this feature.

deepsand
deepsand

Nice, that is. And, it works, too!!!

Lovs2look
Lovs2look

This "trick" as you call it has plenty of performance enhancement. Just one click on the quick launch instead of two on the desktop...time halved to open a program. Well my day is spent clicking a lot, so this WILL enhance my performance out of sight. BTW, it's no "trick" when everyone can do it! Many just don't know how to...maybe you could teach them? Or is it too irrelevant for you?

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