How to Pin Special Items to the Taskbar in Windows 7 & Windows 8

We recently talked about how to pin your own folders and Start Menu items to the taskbar. But that's not the limit of what you can pin. Now we'll find out how to pin some of the special Windows folders like Libraries, Administrative Tools, and whatever components of the Control Panel you'd like. As you will see from this tutorial, the procedures are the same in Windows 7 and Windows 8.

How to Pin Windows/File Explorer Categories to the Taskbar

Open Windows Explorer (in Windows 7) or File Explorer (in Windows 8) and look at the left side of the window. Everyone's screen is going to look slightly different, depending on what's installed and how it's organized, but some of the categories will be the same for everyone. Let's look at Libraries, Computer, and Network. The Favorites category is a different situation, as we'll see later in this section.

To create a shortcut, just drag and drop the category you choose to the Desktop. This will create your shortcut immediately.

NOTE:You can't do that with the Favorites category, however, because the contents of that category are already shortcuts. If you drag and drop them to the Desktop, you'll move the shortcuts out of Windows/File Explorer and onto the Desktop. If you do this by mistake, pressing Ctrl-Z is the universal Undo command.

If you want to put some of those Favorites on the Desktop, select the item you want, press Ctrl-C to copy, then click on the Desktop and press Ctrl-V to paste (or right-click and choose the commands off the menu).

Creating the shortcut is just the first step in the process, though. Unfortunately you can't drag and drop the new shortcut to the taskbar. So here's what you have to do next:
First, you will need to create a folder to house all the items you just put on the Desktop. Right click anywhere on the Desktop and choose New -> Folder. Give your folder a descriptive name.

Then move all the shortcuts you just put on the Desktop into that folder. Open the folder by double clicking and just drag and drop the shortcuts.

If you don't want to leave this folder on your Desktop, move it somewhere else, where it won't be deleted. When you create shortcuts to your own folders on the Desktop, it's OK to delete those folders once you've pinned them to the taskbar, but this is a different situation. If you delete this folder, your pinned folders go away.

Open the folder, right-click on the first item that you want to pin to the taskbar and choose Copy, or select the item and press Ctrl-C.

Then, right-click anywhere there's empty space, and select New -> Shortcut. In the Create Shortcut wizard, paste the information you just copied, by pressing Ctrl-V. Move the cursor to the beginning of the line and type the word explorer followed by a space (the space is essential). Then, click Next.

Name your shortcut whatever you wish, and click Finish. Your shortcut is now created, and you can drag it to the taskbar or right-click and choose "Pin to taskbar".

How to Pin Control Panel Items to the Taskbar

If you want to pin the entire Control Panel to the taskbar, you've got it made: open the Control Panel and you'll then see the Control Panel icon on your taskbar. Right-click that and choose "Pin this program to taskbar" and you're done.

If you just want to pin a few individual Control Panel items, the procedure is just the same as detailed above. Drag the item you want to the Desktop to create a shortcut, move those shortcuts into your taskbar-shortcuts folder, and from there follow the instructions in the previous section.

How to Pin Administrative Tools to the Taskbar

Go to Control Panel -> System and Security -> Administrative Tools. Everything in the Administrative Tools window is already a shortcut, so you don't have to move them to another folder.

To pin these items to the taskbar, right-click on them and select Pin to Taskbar.


Pinning Windows components is simple and straightforward, and lets you set up your taskbar exactly the way you want it, with quick and easy access to the tools you use most. What do you have pinned to your taskbar? What would you recommend to others? Please let us know in the comments.