You might have heard about this new feature of Internet Explorer 9 - pinned websites. Apparently you can pin websites on your taskbar and on your Start Menu. But what this feature really is? How does it work and is it really useful in real life? This complete guide aims to answer these questions and also provide information you will find nowhere else on the Internet.
What are Pinned Websites?
I guess this is a question many of you might ask. Pinned websites are simply shortcuts you create in Windows 7 to websites - as if they were files on your computer. These shortcuts allow quick access to websites and also function as a home page. When you pin a website, a shortcut (called Pinned Site Shortcut) file is created on your computer, with the extension .website.
When you pin a website to the taskbar, its shortcut file is found in the folder:
"C:\Users\User Name\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch\User Pinned\TaskBar"
If you create a shortcut to a website in the Start Menu, its shortcut file is found in the folder:
"C:\Users\User Name\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu"
If you pin a website to the Start Menu, its shortcut file is found in the folder:
"C:\Users\User Name\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch\User Pinned\StartMenu"
NOTE: User Name is the actual name of the user account you are using.
How to Pin a Website to the Taskbar
Open Internet Explorer 9 and navigate to the webpage you want to pin to the taskbar. In the Address bar, you can see the icon of the website. Click on it and leave the left mouse button clicked.
Drag the icon to the taskbar. When you see a text saying "Pin to Taskbar", release the left click mouse button.
Now the website is pinned to the taskbar, shown as a normal shortcut.
Create a Shortcut to a Website to the Start Menu & Pin it There
One of the wrong pieces of advice you will encounter very frequently on other websites is about pinning websites to the Start Menu. First of all, this functionality works well only in Windows 7. Second, pinning a website to the start menu requires two steps: first you create a shortcut to a website in the Start Menu and then you can pin it to the Start Menu. Most websites stop only at step one. Now, let’s see how this is done correctly.
To create a shortcut to a website on the Start Menu, navigate to it in Internet Explorer 9. Then, go to the Tools menu on the top-right. Click on it and select "File -> Add site to Start menu".
You are asked to confirm adding the website to the Start Menu. Click on Add.
Now the shortcut is added in the All Programs folder of the Start Menu.
To pin the shortcut to the Start Menu, right click on it and select "Pin to Start Menu".
The Usefulness of Pinned Websites
How are these pinned websites useful in real life? This is a good question. The answer depends a lot on the websites you pin and their support for this functionality and for jump lists.
One great example is LinkedIn - the business related social-networking community. If you pin this website, you get on top of the shortcut, also quick access to useful functionality. If you right click on its taskbar shortcut, you see shortcuts to useful things such as: your inbox, your profile page, groups, etc.
Where do you get a list with sites which provide such useful shortcuts? The Internet Explorer Gallery of Pinned Websites.
Another way pinned sites are useful is that they act as a home page for the browsing sessions started using their shortcuts. For example, you click on the shortcut of a pinned website. Internet Explorer 9 opens it and you browser though it. At some point you visit another website and another.... In the top left of the Internet Explorer 9 window, you see the icon of the website you pinned. Also, the Back and Forward buttons take its color. If you leave the mouse over the website you pinned, it says "Home (Alt+Home)". If you click on it, it takes you directly to the website that you pinned.
How to Unpin Websites
Unpinning a website is very easy. Simply right click on its taskbar (or Start Menu) pinned shortcut and select "Unpin this program from....".
If you created only a shortcut (but not a pinned one) in the Start Menu, right click on it and select Delete and confirm your choice.
Pinned websites are a very interesting feature added by Internet Explorer 9 and not yet adopted by other browsers. Even though its usefulness depends a lot on the websites you choose to pin, it can definitely turn out to be helpful. If you have any questions about it, don’t hesitate to leave a comment. Also, don’t forget to check out the articles we recommend below. You will find other interesting tips and tricks about Internet Explorer 9.