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10Nov/09Off

Reclaiming Quick Launch in Windows 7

TechOps Guy:

Maybe I'm the only one out there, but I am a big fan of Quick Launch in Windows. Any new system I got the first thing I would do is resize the task bar to double height, move the Quick Launch bar to the bottom and start populating it with shortcuts. I hardly ever needed to go to the Start Menu or the desktop to launch programs - in fact, I see using the Start Menu and desktop shortcuts as a complete waste of time.

I tried Windows 7 Beta when it first came out and was very disappointed to see that they eliminated Quick Launch (or I guess some drink-the-koolaid marketing person would say they created a new, better hybrid solution - but whatever, I call it a regression). My one hope was that it was just a feature missing in the beta version and would be back in the release version. Nope. I just upgraded to 7 last night and QL is gone. It really made me want to finally give up and use Ubuntu for my work laptop (already use it for my home laptop). But, since I mostly manage Windows servers at my current job it still is a bit of a pain.

So, what's that old saying: when Microsoft wants you to drink the koolaid you make lemonade? Something like that.

Here's what I did to get Quick Launch back:

  1. Create a folder somewhere and name it something (I went with Shortcuts in my Documents folder)
  2. Hover your mouse over the top of your taskbar until you get the double arrow and click and drag your taskbar to double height (this step is optional - also gives the added bonus of letting you see the day of the week)
  3. Right click on your task bar and select Toolbars > New Toolbar
  4. Navigate to the folder you created in step 1 and click Select Folder. Your new Toolbar now appears just to the left of your Notification Area (where the clock is)
  5. Click on the "boarder" of the tool bar and drag it all the way to the right and down towards the Windows button on the bottom left of the screen (this will only work if the taskbar isn't locked)
  6. Right click in the new Quick Launch space and uncheck Show Text and Show Title

Done! Now you have a Quick Launch bar that is almost like you had in XP/Vista. Sure, you're missing the "Add to Quick Launch" feature you used to have in Vista, but at least it's close. You can quickly add items to your home brewed Quick Launch by doing a right-click-drag from the Start Menu and and choosing Copy here (if you don't do a right-click-drag, you'll move it which you might not want to do). You can also right-click and send a shortcut to the desktop, and then drag the shortcut down from there.
quick_launch

Update: After I installed Windows 7 Beta when it first came out I did some searching on this issue and came up with nothing. I haven't touched 7 since. After posting this article, I did another search and see that others have come up with the same or a slightly different solution. Good! Don't drink the koolaid!

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