Manage TaskBar and StartMenu Pins Through File System in Windows 7 RRS feed

  • Question

  • I would like to unpin Windows Media Player from the taskbar by locating the taskbar's folder and deleting the Windows Media Player link. Feel free to stop reading here and tell me how I can remove Windows Media Player from the taskbar using the file system - the rest of this gets a little strange.


    I viewed the properties of the Windows Media Player link (and other default links) on my taskbar and found that they point to the folder:

    C:\Users\<Current Profile>\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch\User Pinned\TaskBar 

    I opened this folder, deleted Windows Media Player and added a couple of links to Office applications that I would like on the taskbar. I logged off and logged back in only to find Windows Media Player was still there and the Office apps were not.

    This was kind of odd so I decided to investigate rather than just right click and select pin / unpin. So I unhid system folders and files and searched the file system for other possible paths to the taskbar folder but apparently this is the only "taskbar" folder accessible to my admin account. So I added a few items to the taskbar using the "pin to taskbar" option and they did show up in the taskbar folder as expected. I deleted those items, logged out and back in but the items I pinned then deleted from the folder were still there further confirming that this is not the correct folder for managing the taskbar contents.

    Now to the strange part.

    This taskbar folder is where the Windows Media Player shortcut on my taskbar says it is pointing. So I opened the taskbar folder, I cut all of the shortcuts out of the Taskbar folder and I copied those shortcuts to a folder on my desktop, logged out and logged back in. This broke all of the links I had pinned to the taskbar but Windows Media Player was still on the taskbar and it still worked. I checked the general properties of the WMP link and found that they now pointed to the shortcut in the folder on my desktop - what the freak. I renamed the folder to reflect my feelings at the time and again the Windows Media Player link in the taskbar changed its location (right click -> properties -> general -> location) to reflect the new location. This is just supposed to be a shortcut to a shortcut in a folder on the file system but instead it is smart enough to keep me from deleting it without right clicking and pressing unpin and I don't like that.

    So I began to search the file system for any possible locations that could be the real taskbar - I never did find the real taskbar folder but I found several folders that I could not access - here are a couple that seem useful:

     C:\Users\Default User

    C:\Program Data\Most folders in here

    No matter how I tried to assign the permissions I could not access these folders - even using a domain admin account to assign permissions failed.


    So I have a couple questions besides how to manage my taskbar through the file system.

    1.) why am I being locked out of large portions of my system without a way to get in besides accessing them through Linux?

    2.) Why is Media Player so important that it can self heal and find the link that I moved from the Taksbar menu where ever I put it?

    3.) Why aren't the start menu and taskbars pin folders accessible through the file system? 

    4.) If there is no way to manage the taskbar and pinned start menu items through the file system, can I do it through group policy. I read the links on using a startup script (which does it through CSIDL which I think is part of the API - why so hard for such a simple task) and do not want to use those because if I could manage the taskbar and start menu through the file system like you could in XP I would not have to use such a complex solution. I also read several posts on GPO deployment which do not seem to work, or are overkill or are workarounds for the fact that it cannot be managed through the file system, and I tried using all sorts of combinations of system variables without success.  

    I would just like to point out to Microsoft that these kind of changes that usurp our full control of a system can really bug geeks like me. Thank you for reading my rant, please don't delete it or ban me - just answer the question. Feel free to be as sarcastic as you would like if you have the correct answer - I can use a laugh after messing with this for 2 hours.

    Thursday, January 5, 2012 8:16 PM