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Windows XP and Toolbars

Windows XP and Toolbars

Quick Launch has to be one of my favorite XP features. For those of you who don’t know, Quick Launch is the neat little toolbar to the right of the Start button at the base of the screen.

The double arrow-head >> hides a pop-up menu/ toolbar containing a variety of standard shortcuts to launch e-mail, browser or return to the desktop (toggle button).

Many programs offer the user during installation the option to add their program shortcut to Quick Launch. Of course many of us have been seduced into adding a lot of shortcuts here which frankly has a two-fold effect: –

  1. It diminished the usefulness of having a shortlist of your most popular/ most used applications in one place.
  2. The more shortcuts the heavier the load and longer the lag to Quick Launch  opening (unless you have invested in top of the line hardware).

Still we each choose how we use or System and what works for us. For me I have no more than 8 shortcuts there but there is another solution or an additional work-around: –

  • Create a folder on your hard-drive and give it a unique name (keep it short as this will be the toolbar name and will take up precious real estate on the System bar)
  • Optional: create sub-folders by type of application e.g. Security, System, Games
  • Add the relevant shortcuts (again don’t go overboard, these menus affect OS load/ stress/ refresh)
  • Move your mouse down onto the System bar (the horizontal bar at the base of screen between the Start button and the System tray)
  • Right-click on some vacant real estate on the bar and from the menu select Toolbars


  • Select from the next menu New toolbar and browse to your recently created folder
  • This should then appear to the right of the System Tray with the name you gave it
  • Right-click the System bar again and select the option to Lock the toolbar

One word of advice, there is one bug with this. If you manage to crash Explorer.EXE or Windows then you will suddenly discover Quick Launch and your toolbar gone. Have no fear simply go back the same Toolbar menu and select the menus you want and redo the steps above.

Oh yes, these toolbars do not have to be locked to the System bar but can be left to float anywhere on the Desktop. if you drag them to the edges of the Desktop they will create a linear toolbar displaying all the shortcuts and snapped to the relevant edge. Happy customizations.


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