What is the location of pinned start menu and taskbar items?

Is this list a registry, or a folder somewhere?

10 Answers 10


You can find pinned apps in:

%AppData%\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch\User Pinned\TaskBar

and for the start menu apps go to:

%AppData%\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch\User Pinned\StartMenu
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  • 3
    Presumably, because way bay they were trying to integrate IE directly into the shell of Windows. (e.g. Active Desktop in Windows 98 was where they started going with this) – Colin Mackay Jul 25 '13 at 9:24
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    It doesn't look like pinned directories are stored here. Adding my own directory shortcuts here doesn't make those directories show up in the start menu. – bames53 Sep 30 '13 at 17:58
  • Cool. I had an portable app pinned for years and forgot it's location. This helped. – matrix Apr 11 '16 at 23:23
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    The location for the Start Menu pinned apps was extremely useful for me as I upgraded Windows 7 to Windows 10, and discovered that Windows 10 uses a completely different pinning system in the Start Menu, and all the pinned apps in the start menu were gone! (Though the pinned apps in the taskbar were safe - seems like there was no change in the pinning system there.) So this helped me locate the list of apps I had pinned in Windows 7 and pin them again in the new Start Menu of Windows 7. It also prompted me to clean up this ridiculous new start menu, getting rid of loads of unnecessary tiles. – ADTC May 8 '16 at 4:37
  • @Noah don't worry, there must be a TODO in the code to refactor ;) – CsBalazsHungary Jun 24 '16 at 8:31

You can find the programs that you have pinned to the start menu at:

C:\Users\USERNAME\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch\User Pinned

and the taskbar shortcuts are at:

C:\Users\USERNAME\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch\User Pinned\TaskBar

Just copying shortcuts into these locations does not work. You can, however, add shortcuts via a VBScript:

Set objShell = CreateObject("Shell.Application") 
Set objAllUsersProgramsFolder = objShell.NameSpace(CSIDL_COMMON_PROGRAMS) 
strAllUsersProgramsPath = objAllUsersProgramsFolder.Self.Path 
Set objFolder = objShell.Namespace(strAllUsersProgramsPath & "\Accessories") 
Set objFolderItem = objFolder.ParseName("Calculator.lnk")
Set colVerbs = objFolderItem.Verbs 
For Each objVerb in colVerbs 
    If Replace(objVerb.name, "&", "") = "Pin to Start Menu" Then objVerb.DoIt
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  • Technically that's only correct if you haven't relocated your AppData folder. – Pharap Dec 17 '14 at 19:08
  • Also - the link to the scripted way of adding items is VBScript - not Powerhshell - but probably could be adapted :) – GodEater Jun 18 '15 at 7:41
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    FYI, the linked VBScript does not work in Windows 10. The Shell object no longer returns the "Pin to Taskbar" verb. Microsoft is trying to inhibit apps from loading up the taskbar automatically. – David Chappelle Mar 29 '16 at 14:15
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    It did work in Win10, but a Windows Update from July or August 2015 (probably KB3081424 or KB3093266) broke it. connect.microsoft.com/PowerShell/feedback/details/1609288/… – Joel Coehoorn Aug 16 '16 at 14:13

The list that includes all pinned files and folders as well as programs is in the Registry under this key:


The relevant values are Favorites, FavoritesChanges, and ProgramsCacheSMP. Unfortunately, they're all binary and therefore really hard to modify directly. Each pinned entry appears multiple times even within one data blob, and it's not clear which ones need to be modified for the changes to take effect. I can confirm that changing all instances of, say, Thing1 to Thing2, then killing and restarting Explorer did result in the pinned entry being changed to Thing2.

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To add a degree of precision to the replies which identified the…

%AppData%\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch\User Pinned\StartMenu

…folder as the location where user pinned Start Menu items are stored, note that only actual programs—executables—that are pinned to the Start Menu will appear in that folder. Neither folders nor data files, both of which can also be pinned to the Start Menu, will appear in that folder. I mention it both for future readers who come upon this page via search engine result and because the original question mentioned Start Menu items, not just programs in particular. So if a user has, for example…

• 2 folders • 3 programs • 2 documents • 1 music file

…only the second item—the 3 programs—will show at the location above.

Don't know where the other stuff that appears there, like the folders, documents, and music file above, gets recorded, but the Registry is likely a safe bet.

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Depends on the type of application. Majority can be found in the answers already shared. But they are also contained at the following path.

%AppData%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs


C:\Users\MyUsername\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs
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Since Windows Fall Creators Update 1703 this is handled a bit differently. There's a cache of the Start Menu layout stored in the Windows Registry under HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\CloudStore. It's a bit obfuscated, but if you wanted to back up and restore the layout at a later point (or even on a new windows installation), it's enough to export and then re-import it back in the registry. Of course you need to have all the files back in C:\Users\hkr\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu as well, or the icons will not appear on the Start Menu.

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  • This is 100% the correct answer now, just to add to this, the subkey: \Store\Cache\DefaultAccount\$<GUID>$start.tilegrid$... Contains cached GPO delivered start menu data, which can become corrupt. Deleting this key and restarting explorer fixes this issue. - Josh – Albin Nov 2 '18 at 16:09

Wanted to add to other answers. The paths are:

%AppData%\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch\User Pinned\TaskBar

%AppData%\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch\User Pinned\StartMenu

In my case, I wanted to pin certain programs there directly point to the EXE files due to some corrupt installers preventing icons from showing up from advertised shortcuts. For this, you have to pin the program as usual (right click on the button and "Pin ..."), then create a shortcut pointing to the exe file in some other folder (doesn't matter where), then overwrite the pinned shortcut with your manually created shortcut - voila the icons are back!

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Might be what you're looking for. There's a couple files in there, if you transfer that entire folder to a different PC you get your pinned tiles back. (But, they are not in "shortcut" format - they're an ESE database.)

Credits go to TPreston

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Actually, the answers where incomplete for me. I am experiencing an issue that all the folders pinned under "Windows Explorer" were disappearing (probably something corrupted on my machine that I still have to troubleshoot) and therefore wanted to take a backup of the pinned items; I found that:

C:\Users\<your user>\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch\User Pinned\TaskBar

contains all programs that I have pinned to the taskbar (as in the selected answer), while:

C:\Users\<your user>\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Recent\AutomaticDestinations

Contains all "files" or "locations" that I have pinned in each application (ref to: https://social.technet.microsoft.com/Forums/windows/en-US/57678501-e32d-4ee1-8ca1-a99d798e3e93/where-are-pinned-jumplist-items-located?forum=w7itproui)

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Start Menu pinned Item config:


contains unreadable binaries, however and sadly. Yet, I have backtracked a key that might help to locate control panel links, hopefully :):


Bear in mind that item of "jumplist" of IE is same as pinned item if you disable the save recent file of taskbar.

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