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.