Windows 7 users can pin programs, files and folders to the taskbar for an easier way to interact with the items. Pinned items are always shown in the taskbar, regardless whether they are open or not on the operating system.
Update: Microsoft kept the feature alive in newer versions of its operating system including Windows 8 and windows 10. The method to fix the issue that pinned items are opened as a new icon when started applies to newer versions of Windows as well.
Recently I noticed a strange behavior that I could not figure out at first. Some pinned items on the Windows taskbar would open right on their pinned icon, showing it as active from that moment on. Others however spawned a new icon on the taskbar, as if they were acting completely independent from the pinned item.
This was highly confusing, and I first thought it had something to do with pinned shortcuts who triggered this behavior. I took a closer look and found out that it was not the case. Firefox was linking directly to the Firefox executable on the hard drive and Chrome was doing the same. While a click on Firefox spawned a new item in the taskbar, a click on Chrome did not.
My next thought was that it maybe had something to do how the items were pinned on the taskbar. You know that there are different options available. It is for instance possible to drag and drop an item on the taskbar to pin it, or to right-click it in the start menu or while it is open as a normal item in the taskbar.
While I was not able to figure out what caused this odd behavior, I was able to find a fix for it. If you encounter pinned taskbar items in Windows that spawn a new icon on startup do the following:
Once you have done so close the program, and re-open it to see if it fixed the issue on your end. It did for me.
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Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.