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.
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
mkshortcut.zip 14.21KB 496 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.
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.
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.
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.
Added note about jump lists
Updated mkshortcut.exe download to include source code
Edited by Xinok, 27 April 2011 - 18:49.