I just installed Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 at home, on my Windows 7 PC. One of the items installed with VS2010 is "Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Documentation".

I like to have the documentation installed locally and at my fingertips, and so before had always added a shortcut for the help viewer to my Quick Launch toolbar. However, I'm not able to pin the new documentation to the Windows 7 taskbar. It's frustrating.

Note carefully: When I launch "Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Documentation" from the Start menu, it seems to perform two functions:

  • First, it launches the "Help Library Agent", which is a local HTTP server from which the help content is served... similar to the local ASP.NET web development server. This program gets an icon in the tray notification area, not in the taskbar.
  • Second, it launches the default web browser against the localhost URL corresponding to the port on which the "Help Library Agent" is running, for example:

    Similarly, that doesn't get its own icon in the taskbar, but instead hijacks the browser icon.

... in other words, the "Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Documentation" program doesn't leave behind an active foreground process that displays in the taskbar. So, I can't choose "Pin this program to taskbar" as one might do so with a typical program.

How can I get a shortcut to "Microsoft Visual Studio 2010 Documentation" in the Windows 7 taskbar? Has anybody got a workaround for this?


2 Answers 2


You can try Help Viewer Power Tool. It is just standard application (like help viewer was before) so adding it to taskbar is not an issue.


edit: OK, it works now! (FYI a reference for the MS help protocol API is here.)

  1. Enable the Quick Launch toolbar in Windows 7
  2. Make a shortcut to this help URL: ms-xhelp://?method=f1&query=msdnstart&product=VS&productVersion=100&locale=en-US

  3. Drag the shortcut to the Quick Launch toolbar

Just curious: What's wrong with pressing F1 from inside Visual Studio?

  • Nothing wrong with F1 except that Visual Studio needs to be running. May 22, 2010 at 15:08
  • +1 for this; it's nice to get Quick Launch back, and the shortcut works too. Still, a stand-alone viewer would be nicer; it's silly to have to wade through open browser windows/tabs to find the one used for Help. May 22, 2010 at 15:11

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