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I am running Windows 7 Professional 64-bit. An issue I keep coming across completely at random is that items pinned to my taskbar and start menu somehow become corrupt. The icons turn into a generic-looking white paper icon and, when clicked, display the following message:

The item you selected is unavailable. It might have been moved, renamed, or removed. Do you want to remove it from the list?

I have absolutely no clue what causes my pinned items to go into limbo like this. Everything will be fine then, all of a sudden, some or all of my pinned items start behaving like this, making me have to repin them.

Am I doing something wrong here or is there just a weird bug in Windows 7?

Update

I just noticed something peculiar. I had a mess of disorganized icons on my desktop, so I created some folders on my desktop and moved those icons to the proper folders. I just looked in one of those folders and saw a hidden folder called User Pinned that, oddly enough, contained all the pinned items in question. It appears that I somehow lassoed this folder up when I was doing my group moves, but I don't remember ever seeing it on my desktop to begin with.

I am certain this has something to do with it. I guess I'll have to catch it as soon as it happens again.

update 2011/4/6

I am closer to figuring this out. Somehow, the aforementioned User Pinned folder got moved from its native location to a folder I created on my desktop (I have no idea how this happened). Every time I'd see it, I'd delete it. That's when I discovered that my pinned items were being corrupted because they were trying to reference shortcuts that no longer existed. After I'd repin all my programs, that folder were reappear in the same folder. It's as if Windows tracks the reference to this folder so that, if moved, it knows where to recreate it if it's deleted. So I moved the folder back to its native location of C:\Users\myname\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch. So far, it seems to be working. Let's hope this doesn't happen again.

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4 Answers 4

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I am closer to figuring this out. Somehow, the aforementioned User Pinned folder got moved from its native location to a folder I created on my desktop (I have no idea how this happened). Every time I'd see it, I'd delete it. That's when I discovered that my pinned items were being corrupted because they were trying to reference shortcuts that no longer existed. After I'd repin all my programs, that folder were reappear in the same folder. It's as if Windows tracks the reference to this folder so that, if moved, it knows where to recreate it if it's deleted. So I moved the folder back to its native location of C:\Users\myname\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch. So far, it seems to be working. Let's hope this doesn't happen again.

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Encountered the same issue, though only with links I created. Others placed by programs upon install were unaffected. Regardless, I tried your fix and moved the folder. It seems to work, but I'm curious what caused this. I suspect solar flares.

Also, the folder in question appeared in my quick launch and needed to be returned to the folder "...\Internet Explorer" as the source folder rather than "\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch" since, according to Win7, they were one and the same.

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My guess is that your cases are related to the same thing as what is affecting mine and another Developer's machine (both Windows 7 64 bit). This behavior started with ours immediately after installing SQL Server 2012 components. Uninstalling this reverts it back to normal behavior. It should also be noted that the shortcuts do not behave like this unless we've remoted into our machines from home or elsewhere (RDP or other). We then have to log off and back on again to get everything to behave again.

NOTE: Just installed SQL Server 2014 (with 2012 not installed) to see if this behavior reared its ugly head again, and it did. So it's something to do with some of the SQL Server 201x components that are being installed.

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I just figured it out (FINALLY!!). I've been fighting with this since SQL 2012 came out. My first clue was when I noticed that it was any program that relied on the %windir% environment variable to resolve the path.

Solution:

Go to C:\Windows\System32\ and run SystemPropertiesAdvanced.exe (because at this point you won't be able to run it from the System Properties window since it also uses the %windir% path). Click on Environment Variables. You'll probably see that there is already a System variable for windir. It's this one that is apparently not getting resolved. Set the variable again as a "User" environment variable and click Apply/OK and voila! Everything will magically work again!

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