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I'd like to create a shortcut to a website in Windows 7 on the taskbar that is not pinned to the default web browser. Currently if I drag the favicon from the left end of the firefox address bar to the Win 7 taskbar it will pin a shortcut to the firefox browser icon. Similarly if I create a shortcut on the desktop to a website and drag it to the taskbar it will also end up pinned to the firefox icon.

The problem with this is to get to that shortcut I have to right click on the firefox icon and then select the pinned shortcut. That is workable for me but I want to do this for a child - so the shortcut needs to be right there on the taskbar as a stand-alone item.

There is a workaround that pretty much solves the problem - create a new folder somewhere safe - create the shortcut to the website in the new folder - right click the taskbar and select toolbars - new toolbar - then browse to the folder you created and select it as the new toolbar. The contents of the folder will now appear on the taskbar as shortcuts. You need to drag it from the right hand end of the taskbar into the middle - turn off show titles and show text and make the icon large. I'd call this a 75% solution.

Anyone know how to make a web shortcut that looks and operates just like any of the other shortcuts on the taskbar?

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Do you need the browser window associated with the shortcut, or do you just need a shortcut to launch a location? –  iglvzx May 31 '12 at 23:07
    
This seems like something that would be so easy to do, yet, Windows doesn't make it so. –  Ben Mar 5 at 19:05
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3 Answers

up vote 2 down vote accepted

One way to pin a URL to the the Taskbar is to create a shortcut using the start command. The target would look like this:

cmd.exe "/c start URL"

This would work if you only needed one URL and you didnt have cmd.exe already pinned. However, since Windows 7 does not allow you pin the same .exe file more than once, even if the CLI arguments are different, we are going to use AutoHotkey.

Setup:

  1. Compile the following script, replacing URL with a valid location (e.g. http://superuser.com/):

    #SingleInstance, Force
    #NoTrayIcon
    Run, URL
    ExitApp
    
  2. Once you have the .exe file, create a shortcut to it (e.g. Right-click, Create Shortcut). Optional: Rename the shortcut and change the icon using Properites > Change Icon....

  3. Pin the shortcut to the Taskbar.

  4. Repeat for each URL you want on the Taskbar, each with different .exe file names.

Result:

When you click the Taskbar icon, the URL will be quickly opened using the default browser.

pinned

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I've never tried Autohotkey before but everything was pretty straightforward. Even more so when I realized it is not necessary to leave AHK running for this to work. And it uses the default browser. –  BJ292 Jun 1 '12 at 18:55
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The only way to do that is to open the website in IE9 and drag the favicon (shown to the left of the URL in the address bar) to the taskbar. You can read more about pinned sites here.

However, the problem with that is that these shortcuts will only open in IE9 (assuming you'd want the shortcuts to open in Firefox). They're specially formatted files with a .website extension, and even if you associate that file type with Firefox, it won't know how to read them.

Actually, if you only need one shortcut, you could pin Firefox to the taskbar and modify the shortcut to point to a specific website. To do so, close Firefox, then hold down Shift and right-click on the taskbar icon and choose Properties. In the Target field, append a space and then the URL of the website. You can also change the icon, if you wish. Click OK, and now your pinned Firefox shortcut should load the specified website.

The problem with this approach is that, as far as I know, Windows 7 doesn't allow multiple copies of the same program pinned to the taskbar, so you cannot have multiple websites pinned this way. Although you could, theoretically, create multiple symlinks to firefox.exe and pin each of those to the taskbar with a different URL. Something to experiment with, if you're so inclined.

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The IE9 solution is not bad. For some reason the site I want bbc.co.uk/cbeebies displays the correct favicon in firefox but the default BBC icon in IE9. Once I've dragged the favicon from IE9 to the taskbar there seems to be no option to change the icon. –  BJ292 May 31 '12 at 22:30
    
@BJ292 Looking at the website's source code, they specify two favicons - the BBC generic one, and the CBeebies one. IE apparently loads the first one it encounters, while Firefox loads the last one. Not much you can do about it, I'm afraid, unless you report it to BBC and they fix it. –  Indrek May 31 '12 at 23:05
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I'm afraid that the Windows' jumplist function is just not designed to facilitate what you want. When you drag an item to the taskbar, it will pin to the program associated with the filetype. In the case of bookmarks (.url files), Windows will pin them to the default web-browser.

You could try to hack it with a jumplist program by manually edit the item or to associate the desired shortcut with a third-party program instead of the browser, but results are pretty iffy and usually also mean compromises or limitations.

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