Windows 7 Taskbar/Start Menu Pinning Quirks



I was going to write a long and rambling post about this, but I helpfully found someone who’s already done it for me: http://www.west-wind.com/weblog/posts/32765.aspx

Some salient highlights:

This is an application I’ve created and have full control over in terms of build, but I can’t figure out why it will not pin to the Windows 7 taskbar. All other applications pin just fine, but this particular one will not pin or be dragged onto the taskbar. Not from a running application, not from a dragged shortcut or by using the context menu to pin it to the taskbar. The Task menu that pops up has nothing more than a Close this Application on it instead of the usual pin options.

Windows has a few reserved names that include things like Documentation, Help, Setup, Readme etc. that are not pinned to the taskbar. These are exceptions in Windows […] But it turns out the rules in Windows aren’t exact matches, but it looks for anything that contains these names. So anything that contains the word Help in the EXE name is considered a special item.

These ‘restricted’ values are determined by a registry key at:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\FileAssociation\AddRemoveNames

with these default values:

Documentation;Help;Install;More Info;Readme;Read me;Read First;Setup;Support;What’s New;Remove

One can only speculate why in the hell Microsoft decided a) To do this and b) Not to document it anywhere or c) Make it apparent in the UI that there’s a reason you can’t pin these files.

In addition to this, it’s fairly well known that you can’t pin things from Network locations either, though this can be worked around by doing the following:

  1. Create a new empty text file in a local folder
  2. Rename the file to the same as your desired network-located file
  3. Right-Click on the file and Pin it to the Start Menu/Task Bar
  4. Right-Click on the pinned item (If it’s on the Task Bar you’ll then need to right-click again on the item in the pop-up list) and choose properties
  5. Change the Target and Start In values to the network-located file, pick an icon if needed and click OK

Again, it’s unclear why Microsoft chose to arbitrarily restrict your ability to pin things in this manner, but I really hope they fix it at some point because it’s an awful lot of arsing around to do something that should be very straightforward.

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