18 September 2010

Pin a removable drive to your Windows 7 taskbar for fast access

The advent of huge amounts of storage on tiny memory sticks and portable hard drives that are now denominated in TB tends to result in us keeping more and more stuff that we might regularly access on them, plugging them in to whichever pc or laptop wherever we happen to be. 

This article from the nice people at Windows Secrets should help make it a bit easier to get at those external drive files on equipment you use regularly.

Windows 7’s ability to ‘pin’ icons to the taskbar allows you to quickly access a program by clicking on its taskbar icon, even if it's not running. This quick access feature should also allow you to rapidly access an external hard drive, but unfortunately the process isn’t as simple as dragging the drive’s icon to the taskbar, as you would an application – doing this actually adds a shortcut to Windows Explorer. In fact the process is much more complicated, but it is possible to add a quick shortcut to the taskbar as follows:

  • Right-click on a blank area of your desktop and choose New > Text File.
  • Name the new file DRIVE-SHORTCUT.EXE, taking care to change the .TXT ending to .EXE.
  • Press [Enter] and click Yes to confirm the suffix change.
  • Right-click on DRIVE-SHORTCUT.EXE and choose Pin to Taskbar.
  • Right-click on the new icon on the taskbar, right-click on DRIVE-SHORTCUT.EXE from the pop-up menu and choose Properties.
  • Click on the Shortcut tab and change the Target and Start in fields to the drive letter of your removable drive followed by a colon (e.g. E:\).
  • Click OK. When you now click on your taskbar shortcut you will be taken directly to the removable drive.
Note: if you don’t see the .TXT ending in step 2, go to Start > Computer > Organize >Folder and Search Options. Click the View tab and untick Hide Extensions For Known File Types then click OK.

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