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[Guide] Pin programs with custom launchers to taskbar


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#1 +Xinok

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Posted 24 March 2011 - 20:10

Pin programs with custom launchers to taskbar



About This Guide
A lot of programs have separate launchers which are required to launch the program. For example, portable versions of programs which have a custom launcher, such as those from PortableApps. The trouble is that they don't work properly when pinned to the taskbar in Windows 7. If you pin the launcher, the program windows will be added as separate taskbar buttons. If you try pinning the program directly bypassing the launcher, the program may not launch at all.

The Problem: Left icon is the pinned launcher, right icon is the program window
Screenshot 10.png


This guide will show you how to properly pin these programs to the taskbar. Every window on your desktop has an AppID (short for Application ID), and it is by this that Windows 7 groups items together on the taskbar. This guide will show you how to change the AppID of items pinned to the taskbar so they match that of the actual program and not the launcher.

The trick used in this guide may not work with all programs! If this guide does not work for you, you may use 7 Taskbar Tweaker, but this requires running a background process at all times.

Jump list items may not work for the pinned launcher! Since the AppID is that of the program, the jump list items will also be for the program and not the launcher. Clicking a jump list item is likely to run the program directly and skip the launcher. For that reason, jump list items may not work.


What You Need
7 Taskbar Tweaker
Attached File  mkshortcut.zip   14.21KB   481 downloads - VirusTotal Results


Step 1 - 7 Taskbar Tweaker
The first step is to figure out the AppID of the running program. 7 Taskbar Tweaker will allow you to do this. Download the program and run it. It does not require installation.

In the Settings window, click the Taskbar Inspector button.

Screenshot 000.png


In this window, you can see the AppID of all items on the taskbar, pinned or not. Some programs have a special AppID, while others are just the path of the EXE. Write down the AppID of the program you want to pin to the taskbar. For this guide, I will be showing you how to pin Portable 7-Zip to the taskbar.

Screenshot 3.png



Step 2 - mkshortcut.exe
The second step is to use mkshortcut.exe to create a shortcut to the launcher, but with the AppID of the actual program.

1. Copy mkshortcut.exe into the same directory as the launcher.
2. In an empty space in the folder, Shift+Right Click and choose Open command window here.

Screenshot 4.png


At the command prompt, call mkshortcut.exe with the following parameters:

mkshortcut.exe -output [Shortcut Name].lnk -target "%cd%\[Program Launcher].exe" -appid "[AppID]"

For example, if I want to pin Portable 7-zip to the taskbar, I would write:

mkshortcut.exe -output 7-Zip.lnk -target "%cd%\7-ZipPortable.exe" -appid "C:\Users\Michael\Desktop\Utilities\7-Zip\App\7-Zip\7zFM.exe"



Step 3 - Drag shortcut to taskbar
If everything worked correctly, it should have created a new shortcut in the same folder. Simply drag this shortcut to the taskbar and launch it.

Screenshot 6.png Screenshot 7.png


Added note about jump lists
Updated mkshortcut.exe download to include source code

Edited by Xinok, 27 April 2011 - 18:49.



#2 briangw

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Posted 24 March 2011 - 20:31

Xinok,

Would this work for programs/shortcuts that do not/cannot pin to the taskbar (not just custom launchers?)

#3 OP +Xinok

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Posted 24 March 2011 - 20:40

Xinok,

Would this work for programs/shortcuts that do not/cannot pin to the taskbar (not just custom launchers?)

Could you give me an example? Then I'll see if I can figure something out.

#4 briangw

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Posted 24 March 2011 - 20:49

Could you give me an example? Then I'll see if I can figure something out.


Well, Network shortcuts (i.e. network share on the desktop as an icon) for example won't pin or the hosts file that I have as a shortcut in my quick launch won't pin either. The only other one I can think of is Wndows XP Mode.exe file. Currently, I have that in a QuickLaunch taskbar I created, but it won't pin. Basically, one of the problems I and others I know have is these one off applications that will not pin. Just wondering if there is a way to force them to pin. Your guide is the closest thing I have found for the ability to do so outside of other guides describing how to pin things like My Computer and the Recycle Bin, I was wondering if there is any way to pin anything. Thanks!

#5 OP +Xinok

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Posted 24 March 2011 - 20:57

Well, Network shortcuts (i.e. network share on the desktop as an icon) for example won't pin or the hosts file that I have as a shortcut in my quick launch won't pin either. The only other one I can think of is Wndows XP Mode.exe file. Currently, I have that in a QuickLaunch taskbar I created, but it won't pin. Basically, one of the problems I and others I know have is these one off applications that will not pin. Just wondering if there is a way to force them to pin. Your guide is the closest thing I have found for the ability to do so outside of other guides describing how to pin things like My Computer and the Recycle Bin, I was wondering if there is any way to pin anything. Thanks!

You could try Bat To Exe Converter. Write a batch file which will launch what you want, use that program to compile an EXE (remember to set an icon under the "Versioninformations" tab), use mkshortcut.exe to create a shortcut, and pin the shortcut to the taskbar.

Essentially all you would be doing here is creating a custom launcher, then following the guide as is.

#6 ruxx

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Posted 11 October 2011 - 21:29

Thank You Xinok and all the neowinians who helped me solve the problem. Thank You very much.

#7 Richard C.

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Posted 18 October 2011 - 09:35

Wouldn't it be easier to make a regular lnk file with the paramaters in the "command" field of properties then attaching that to the task-bar like in the old days?