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Whenever it is possible I prefer to use "portable" versions of applications instead of installing them ordinary way. I put them on drive D: and they store all the data inside their directories and don't rely on system registry/directories. As the result I get the most of applications I use safe in case of the system failure/reinstallation: no need to reinstall and reconfigure the apps, no need to restore data.

But there is a problem when using this approach in Windows 7: many portable applications (at least those of portableapps.com) consist of a launcher .exe file separate from the application .exe itself and these 2 are separate applications from the system point of view. As the result a second icon emerges on the taskbar if I use a pinned launcher button to launch (and if I pin that second button then it just launches the application in non-portable mode).

The same problem applies to any application which uses a separate loader to start to separate start-up-time and run-time code.

So the question is how to teach a Windows 7 taskbar to recognize a sub-launched process as the same application and put it into the same button.

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I do remember this effect, but can not reproduce it now with several PortableApps.com apps. Can you give us an example? –  Peter Hahndorf Dec 9 '12 at 18:01
    
Portable Mozilla Firefox by portableapps.com is an example. Drag FirefoxPortable.exe to the taskbar, click the second button and see new Firefox button created. Pin the second button, close Firefox, wait a minute, click the second button and see Firefox launched in non-portable mode. –  Ivan Dec 9 '12 at 20:06
    
Okay I see the problem now. So you should never pin the second button, but you still don't like the fact that you have two icons per portable app. –  Peter Hahndorf Dec 9 '12 at 20:41
    
I don't get the 2 icons per portable app problem. When I launch a portable app (from the launcher by potableaps.com), I get two icons- one the Launcher and another the app itself. Are these the 2 icons we are talking about ? Do you want to remove the launcher icon ? An annotated screenshot would be great. –  Lamb Dec 9 '12 at 21:06
    
I want to pin the launcher and get the instances stacked in the same button. –  Ivan Dec 9 '12 at 23:59

2 Answers 2

up vote 1 down vote accepted

The reason Windows won't let you do this is because the AppID of the launcher is different than the AppID of the executable it launches. A 3rd party program is required, like 7 Taskbar Tweaker. Here is a guide explaining how. Not the easiest solution, but it's the only one I know of that keeps the app in it's portable state. N.B. This isn't guaranteed to work for all applications because there are a few with special AppID's.

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Ivan's suggestion will work.

Unpin your current portable Firefox shortcut. Then, rather than dragging the launcher application on to your taskbar, simply launch it. Once Firefox appears on your taskbar, right-click the lone Firefox icon in your taskbar and select "Pin to taskbar." Then, no matter where you launch portable FF from, it will use the existing taskbar icon.

This will likely work for other portable apps, but I'd need specific examples to test it as I did Firefox.

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