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The Quick Launch toolbar is a small toolbar that resides in your Windows taskbar that allows you to quickly launch programs that you place in it. Starting in Windows 7, the Quick Launch toolbar is no longer shown by default and is hard to find as Windows 7 and Windows 8 prefers the technique of pining programs to your taskbar for easy launching. Unfortunately, many people still like the Quick Launch approach to launching programs and miss this feature. Thankfully, the Quick Launch toolbar is still available, but hidden in the hard to find %UserProfile%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch folder. This guide will explain how to enable this toolbar in Windows 7 and Windows 8 as well as configure it to your liking.
To add a new toolbar to your taskbar you need to right-click on an empty portion of the taskbar and then select Toolbars and then the New Toolbar... menu option. This is shown by the blue arrow in the figure below.
New Toolbars menu option
You will now be shown a screen where you can select a toolbar folder that should be added to the taskbar as shown in the image below.
Choose a new toolbar folder
In the Folder: field paste or type the following path:
%UserProfile%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch
Then press the Select Folder button.
Quick Launch Toolbar
You will now see a new toolbar labeled Quick Launch on the bottom right of your Windows 7 and Windows 8 taskbar as shown in the image above.
It is possible to change how the Quick Launch icons will look. To access these settings you right-click on the Quick Launch toolbar and you will see a menu similar to the one below.
The settings that can be changed are:
Large and Small Icons settings
You can also change the size of the toolbar, so that you can see more icons, by dragging the three dotted vertical lines. Before you can do this, though, you will need to unlock the Windows 7 and Windows 8 taskbar first. Once the toolbar is unlocked you can expand it as needed. To expand a toolbar that is on the left side of the screen, you would expand the toolbar using the right dotted vertical lines. If the toolbar is on the right side of the screen, then you would expand the toolbar using the left dotted vertical lines.
When the Quick Launch toolbar is first installed it will be automatically added to the right side of the taskbar. If you are more comfortable with the Quick Launch toolbar being on the left side of the screen it is possible to drag it over to the left side. To do this, you must first unlock the taskbar and then, using your mouse, drag the left vertical dotted lines to the left side of the screen. The image below will show you the dotted lines that you need to drag.
Quick Launch toolbar on the right side
Once you drag the toolbar to the left side of the screen, you will need to expand or shorten the toolbar as necessary by dragging the three dotted vertical bars on the right of the toolbar. When you are satisfied with the positioning of the toolbar you should lock the Windows 7 and Windows 8 taskbar.
To remove the Windows 7 and Windows 8 Quick Launch toolbar simply right-click on an empty portion of the toolbar to bring up the toolbar's menu as shown in the image below.
Close the Quick Launch Toolbar
Then click on the Close toolbar menu option as shown by the red arrow in the image above. You will then be prompted as to whether or not you want to close the toolbar. If you want to close it, then you should press the OK button, otherwise press the Cancel button. The Quick Launch toolbar will now be removed from your Windows 7 taskbar.
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