How to bring the Quick Launch bar back in Windows 7 & 8

Windows Quick Launch Bar

When Microsoft released Windows 7, a new feature that allowed users to “pin” programs and folders to the taskbar was added. However, the Quick Launch bar – which dates back to the Internet Explorer 4.0 Desktop Update for Windows 95 – was seemingly removed.

Luckily, the Quick Launch functionality still exists in Windows 7 and Windows 8 – though there are a few quick and easy steps that are necessary to get it back:

1. You will need to have access to an account on the computer that will allow you to change folder options, as you will need to be able to view Hidden files.

2. Open a File Folder – such as My Computer – and if the Menu Bar is visible at the top of the window, simply click on the Tools menu and select the Folder Options… choice. If the menu bar is not visible, you will need to click on the Organize button, then go into Layout, and select Menu Bar before proceeding.

3. Select the View tab at the top of the window, and set the Hidden files and folders option to “Show hidden files, folders, and drives.”

4. Right-click on an un-occupied area of the Taskbar. From the menu, go into Toolbars and select “New Toolbar…”

5. Most users will have their copy of Windows installed to their “C” drive. In this case the Quick Launch folder will be located in the following location: C:\Users\Insert_Your_User_Account_Name_Here\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Internet Explorer

Note: This is where you may need to keep your eyes peeled – since the location of the Quick Launch folder is not the same on every system. For example, if your user account name is William, the path would likely be: C:\Users\William\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Internet Explorer

6. When you create the new toolbar it will have text labels by default, this is not pretty – so we must change the settings.

7. Right click on a blank area of the Taskbar, make sure “Lock the Taskbar” is disabled from the context menu.

8. If the new Quick Launch bar is hard to see – crushed in on the side for example – left click and drag the dotted area of the bar to the left of the words “Quick Launch”.  You will likely want to move this bar to the far left of the screen in order to display it as it has been displayed by default in previous Windows versions. In order to do this, you may need to “juggle” multiple toolbars, ie: dragging the opposing toolbar over the Quick Launch toolbar to the right.

9. Right click the Quicklaunch toolbar – preferably where the words “Quick Launch” appear for ease. Click “Show Text” to remove text next to each icon, and, right clicking once again, click “Show Title” to remove the “Quick Launch” title from your toolbar.

10. It may take a bit of finagling, but organize your toolbars in a way to maximize taskbar space, ie: the Quicklaunch bar should be no longer than need be to display its icons. Once your toolbars are positioned to your liking, right click on an unused portion of the Taskbar once again, and select “Lock the Taskbar”. Unfortunately, this often disturbs all the hard work you did of positioning the Quick Launch toolbar – but, a little trial and error of Unlocking/Resizing/Locking will quickly get you where you need to be.

11. Go back and repeat steps 2-3, though choose to Hide hidden items at the end of step 3.

12. Enjoy the QuickLaunch bar! It will function just as it did in past years.


Thanks for reading,

David Betournay