I like Microsoft Windows 7, and I like the Windows 7 Taskbar interface. However, judging by the cacophony of voices in the Windows Blog, there is still a great deal of affection for the Windows XP Quick Launch Bar interface. In fact, you can almost guarantee that someone will call for a return of the Quick Launch Bar at least once in the discussion forum whenever the Windows 7 interface is the topic. Therefore, I offer this How do I explanation of how to get this feature back.

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Now, don’t get me wrong. I like the Quick Launch Bar and still use it on all the Windows XP machines I interact with — my workstation where I am writing this blog post for example. But I also like the Taskbar of Windows 7 and find it performs the same function as the Quick Launch Bar — at least as far as my computing habits go. But a vocal minority feels differently, so here is how to get Quick Launch back.

Quick Launch Bar resurrected

Figure A shows the Windows 7 desktop of one of my test machines. Notice that there is a Taskbar, but not Quick Launch Bar.

Figure A

Taskbar, yes — Quick Launch Bar, no

Right-click on an empty part of the Taskbar to get the context menu shown in Figure B. Unlock the Taskbar if it is locked and then navigate to the Toolbars | New Toolbar menu item.

Figure B

Create a new toolbar.

The New Toolbar – Create a Folder dialog box, shown in Figure C, will be the next window you see. Click into the destination bar, type this location exactly, and hit the [Enter] key:

%appdata%\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch

Figure C

Type the destination path.

When you hit the [Enter] key, you should see a path similar to the one shown in Figure D. Click the Select Folder button to complete the process.

Figure D

Notice the path.

Now your Windows 7 Desktop should have a Quick Launch Bar (Figure E). However, it may need a little tweaking depending on your tastes.

Figure E

Now you have a Quick Launch Bar.

I like icon-only Quick Launch bars, so I’d recommend right-clicking the Quick Launch bar (Figure F), turning off the Show Text and Show Title settings, and changing the icon size to large.

Figure F

Tweak the Quick Launch Bar.

The Windows 7 Desktop shown in Figure G has both a Taskbar and a Quick Launch Bar.

Figure G

We now have both a Taskbar and a Quick Launch Bar.

Taking a closer look (Figure H), you can see that the Quick Launch bar on this test machine is automatically populated with Quick Launch icons for Outlook 2010, Internet Explorer, Show Desktop, and Switch Between Windows, but you can drag-and-drop any shortcut you want to your newly rediscovered Quick Launch Bar.

Figure H

It is back.

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