How to Get the Good Old “Quick Launch” Toolbar and “Show Desktop” Shortcut Back in Windows 7 and Later?

If you are using Windows 7 or later, you might be wondering where are the good ol' "Show Desktop" shortcut and "Quick Launch" toolbar in Taskbar?

Actually "Show Desktop" shortcut has been moved to extreme end of Windows 7 Taskbar in form of a small rectangle and Microsoft has disabled "Quick Launch" toolbar intentionally because the same functionality is provided using the new PIN feature in Windows 7.

But you can enable "Quick Launch" toolbar back in Windows 7 and it'll also contain the good old "Show Desktop" shortcut using following simple steps:

1. Right-click on Taskbar and select "Toolbars -> New toolbar...".


2. It'll open Browse dialog box. Now paste following string in the "Folder:" text box:

%appdata%\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch

Press Enter and click on "Select folder" button.

3. It'll immediately add Quick Launch toolbar to Taskbar.

4. Now right-click on Taskbar and uncheck "Lock the taskbar" option.


5. You'll see a placeholder to drag the Quick Launch toolbar.

6. Right-click on the toolbar placeholder and uncheck "Show Title" and "Show Text" options.


7. If you want to increase the icon size, right-click on the toolbar placeholder and enable "View -> Large Icons" option.


8. Drag-n-drop this toolbar to the left of Taskbar.

9. That's it. Now you have the good ol' "Quick Launch" toolbar and "Show Desktop" shortcut back in Windows 7 Taskbar.


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Posted in: Windows 7

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  • What a bunch of crap that MS did by doing away with the 'SHOW DESKTOP" icon. I don't know why in the hell they do things like this.

  • Thank you very much for your clear and correct instructions. It's so unusual for every step in an instruction actually to agree with the the Windows 7 operating system on a computer, and for the instructed "tweaks" actually to produce the desired result. Well done!

  • Yay! instructions were clear and worked perfectly!!! not having these icons was a huge pain...thanks so much!

  • Great instructions,that helped me a lot. Thanks!

  • Thanks. M$ is so stupid. I guess they know whats best for us , Yeah right.

  • Thanks so much, this will make life a little bit simpler. Cheers

  • I completely agree....not only are the instructions/steps to take clear & easy to understand, the
    visuals are great, and everything worked. What a concept, thank you so much!

  • THANK YOU!!!

  • Absolutely brilliant article - this man is my hero. A simple but much used tool, foolishly taken away by MS can now be added back.

  • ...I'm just hoping that once that Ballmer is gone, MS will start improving their stuff instead of continuously breaking it. How ID**T can this man be: they had about all the personal and business OS market at their feet, people were feeling comfortable with windows xp (and office 2003, another example) and preferred it to any other system. But no, they had to change everything, so now many people started looking for alternatives. Why? They had too many customers? Wtf???

  • I'm using Quick Launch buttons to minimize gaps.

    1. Saves space (There are very small icons).
    2. It's there when paging (multipage taskbar).

    The Disadvantage is that it is not support Jump Lists.

    So if we can get Jump Lists by RightClick (or Alt + RightClick) on Quick Launch button, It would be the best from my point of view.
    Another solution to achieve the 2 advantages would be welcome...

  • Wonderful fix, this has been bugging me for 2 years...I love this ..thanks so much

  • Thanks very much for clear instructions.

    I was using Vista and decided to upgrade to Win 7, and was really turned off on how MS broke such a simple feature. Without your help, it would still be broke.

    Now it's fixed.

    Good job, well done.

  • Thank you. It's hard to make an old dog adapt, and this returns a feature I use(d) constantly.

  • crystal clear instructions......thanks a lot ......

  • Thank you soooo much for posting this. Instructions were so easy and clear! :)

  • I have never understood why the NS geeks keep making changes just for the sake of change. Moving the show desktop icon to the other side after a decade on the left is plain silly or bone stupid, take your pick. Windows 7 is a better operating system, than XP, which was pretty good, so why go out of the way to annoy your customers? Still not as bad as The Ribbon in Office 2010. What a fiasco.

  • i cannot drag and drop that quick launch toolbar

  • This is at least the 2nd time I've used this. Thanks!

  • Dude you are a F ING GENIUS.


  • Awesome! Thank you so much!

  • Great instructions,that helped me a lot. Thanks!!

  • Thank you very much for the guide. The instructions are easy to follow. I am happy with my Show Desktop shortcut.

  • good job with the instructions. thank you for the post

  • Very helpful, but now I have a second, unwanted tool bar on the right side of the screen displaying icons for active windows. how delete?


  • VG

    ^^ Please provide a screenshot to better understand your problem.


  • Thanks. :) This is at least the 3rd time I've used this -- over maybe 3 years or so.

  • The other instructions on the Web -- including Microsoft's -- didn't work. This one did work. Thank you very much.

    PS They left out your #4 and #5.

  • This is awesome, thanks a lot !, I was looking for it for quite a while. Now my 7 is like I always wanted. The QuickLaunch and ShowDesktop are unquestionable and nonnegotiable options.

  • Actually, we had already two options available to us in order to show the desktop:
    1. Right-click on the Taskbar and there you find "Show the destop".
    2. Then you could have the Desktop toolbar installed by right-clicking on the Taskbar, then Toobars, then Desktop. This give a menu with all your desktop icons. Why not after all ?
    But with the ShowDesktop button and QuickLaunch toolbar, it's even handier.
    Thanks for the clear instructions provided here.

  • Now, is there an option to include "add to Quick Launch" to context menu when clicking at a random icon, e.g. on the Desktop?
    I saw a tutorial on adding "Send to -> Quick Launch", but this is not what I want...

  • What if I don't want Internet Explorer on my taskbar. Who would?

  • Oh, sorry I just realized you just click delete on it! Oops. Thanks for this great article! I've been looking for an hour nothing else works this well or easily!

  • Thank you for this. I have done as suggested, and now the icons that I had for Internet Explorer, Outlook, Media Player, and Explorer have now gone blank and don't work. Please tell me how to undo this so called fix.

  • VG

    ^^ This method has nothing to do with your blank icon problem. This method is only adding a new toolbar to Taskbar which can be removed anytime using Taskbar context menu.

  • THANKS! Worked, and better method than adding a command-line destkop toggler lnk I was using before. Why o why did MS get rid of the desktop shortcut!? So useful, practical, and everyone used it.

  • I've managed to install the show desktop icon, but it wont let me move it to the left hand side of the taskbar. Any ideas?

  • VG

    ^^ Make sure you first unlock the Taskbar and then you'll be able to move the toolbar.

  • Any way of moving the quicklaunch bar to the top of the screen (without taking the task bar with it)?

  • I added the quick launch toolbar but it won't let me add any programs to it. I have the toolbar unlocked.

  • Yes it did work but every time I unticked the toolbar option Quick launch disappeared and I had to keep setting it up again. Also it won't go all the way to the left of the taskbar.It's the same problem on both Windows 7 and 8 .It seems that it only creates a temporary task bar folder but when you untick the toolbar or restart your computer it QL disappears again.

  • What I mean to say is that I am able to create the QL toolbar under new toolbar option but the minute I untick the toolbar to turn it of the tolbar disapears but that's not the case with the Windows default toobars. Maybe it'sa bug or one of the updates is blocking Quick Launch on Windows 7 & and 8?

  • Thanks, but what is needed and not found yet by Googling is the reg key that would place new toolbars to the left on the TaskBar. Under Win. Tech. Preview is very very hard to drag Quick Launch or whatever to the left, as only the separator lines to the left are visible (TB is not locked).

    Must be around HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\

  • Hey, I wanted to know for Windows XP, I couldn't find it :( but yes this info was useful thanks a bunch :D

  • Thanks again! I think this is the 4th time I've used this, over several years' time. :)

  • Thank you for the instructions. I cannot move the Show Desktop icon right next to the Windows Start icon, there is always a small gap to the left of the Show Desktop icon. If I open a program, the opened program's icon populates this small blank area instead of showing to the right of the Show Desktop icon on the Task Bar. Is this anomaly something I just have to accept with Windows 7?

  • VG

    ^^ You need to unlock Taskbar and then drag-n-drop Quick Launch toolbar near Start button.

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