Fix Pinned Items Opening As New Icons On Windows Taskbar - gHacks Tech News

Fix Pinned Items Opening As New Icons On Windows Taskbar

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.

windows taskbar fix

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:

  • Unpin the original item by right-clicking on it and selecting the unpin option from the context menu.
  • Right-click on the newly spawned item.
  • If you use Windows 7, right-click on the program executable and select to pin it to the taskbar.
  • If you use Windows 8 or newer, select the pin to taskbar option directly from the context menu.
  • Move the new pinned item to the location of the original item.

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.

Summary
Fix Pinned Items Opening As New Icons In Windows 7 Taskbar
Article Name
Fix Pinned Items Opening As New Icons In Windows 7 Taskbar
Description
Find out how to fix pinned Windows taskbar icons opening in a new icon when you start the program they link to.
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Publisher
Ghacks Technology News
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Comments

  1. Akshay said on October 12, 2010 at 12:27 pm
    Reply

    this will not work for all programs.

    for example, if you pin the newly spawned icon for portable FF, or portable thunderbird, then it will break the functionality. this because it looses the information about the profile.

    are you using portable version of FF by any chance. because for installed FF otherwise, it works fine.

    regards
    AK

    1. Alan said on October 12, 2010 at 12:32 pm
      Reply

      Pinned items will never work properly with applications that use launchers (such as PortableApps’ suite of programs), but that’s a design issue and it’s unlikely to be fixed anytime soon.

      Thanks for writing about this Martin, I had this issue and this was the first thing I tried, but I suspect others might have been left in the dark about this.

    2. Martin said on October 12, 2010 at 1:20 pm
      Reply

      Akshay, it was an installed version of Firefox 4.

      1. Ben said on June 24, 2011 at 9:35 am
        Reply

        Worked for FF4, althoughI had to unpin and pin twice. Can’t get it to work properly with this ‘trick’ with FF5

      2. The Toledo's said on January 8, 2017 at 10:21 pm
        Reply

        Well…since I can’t figure out how to respond to the original solution, here is my reply. Thank you!!! I think I probably didn’t read the whole of your fix, but had the extra open….I unpinned the original fixed icon for Firefox, then right-clicked and pinned the extra icon to taskbar. This worked!! Anyway, thanks again!

        The Toledo’s
        AZ

  2. Evan Michaels said on November 25, 2010 at 12:26 am
    Reply

    Beautiful! It worked for me.

    Thank you so much. Clever fix!

    1. Anonymous said on November 12, 2014 at 2:27 am
      Reply

      worked for me

  3. Chris said on May 1, 2011 at 9:09 pm
    Reply

    It worked for me as well. Thanks.

  4. Betty said on May 11, 2011 at 5:17 am
    Reply

    It worked, thanks so much for the fix!
    You Rock!

  5. john werneken said on July 3, 2011 at 6:04 am
    Reply

    WORKS FOR ME TOO! TY!!

  6. Tim said on September 2, 2011 at 1:33 am
    Reply

    Thanks for the tip, worked well. Typical sort of Windows glitch though, and it really annoys me! We pay for software to do a ‘seamless’ job – and it does not. We have to trawl the internet for fixes to problems, we should not have to! Rant over. Thanks again.

  7. Sharon said on September 13, 2011 at 10:13 pm
    Reply

    Can you help me consolidate files/folders on the start menu in Windows 7.

  8. Ed said on November 10, 2011 at 12:28 am
    Reply

    This quick fix worked great for Thunderbird 8. Thanks.

  9. Ben said on November 10, 2011 at 9:38 am
    Reply

    To circumvent the problem I found a more reliable tweak.
    Before pinning a desktop icon with the spawning issue to the taskbar, I change the compatibility modus in properties to ‘Vista (Service pack 2)’
    Works for me all the time.

  10. Dab said on December 11, 2011 at 10:24 pm
    Reply

    I tried this:
    I have a custom Firefox icon in my taskbar, I click it and another Firefox icon spawns (this spawned one has the default Firefox icon). I unpin the original (my custom icon) then right click the spawned one and pin it again. My custom icon appears but as another icon leaving me two icons: my custom icon and the default icon.

  11. duff said on February 16, 2012 at 4:14 am
    Reply

    the glitch is mainly caused by the fact that when you upgrade your software, the pinned icon is still attempting to open the older version. this in turn tells the software to open the update software – thus duplicate icons.

  12. Fortier2010 said on August 16, 2012 at 3:10 am
    Reply

    I am wondering the opposite – I have a pinned Icon on the task bar and I want it to open in a new window, this is how I like things to open. Recently flushed a virus and now when I click on the icon on the task bar it opens right over top. I wish it to open a new window. Its probably an easy fix, but I am not techie at all….any help would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.

    1. finplanner69 said on August 22, 2012 at 4:18 pm
      Reply

      Fortier2010,
      I am having the same problem from a cleaned virus. Did you get your issue resolved?

  13. John said on August 23, 2012 at 7:24 am
    Reply

    I want to have google chrome pinned to the task bar. And when I click on it, I want it to open up multiple windows. This is how it was set up when I first installed chrome. Then something happened and now every time I start up chrome, the window opens up in the icon that was pinned. So I can’t open multiple windows by clicking the same icon.

    Do you have a fix for this?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on August 23, 2012 at 8:58 am
      Reply

      John, double-click the Chrome icon to spawn additional windows.

  14. Mary said on December 6, 2012 at 5:10 pm
    Reply

    My problem – I “did” something yesterday by quickly clicking something, and I don’t know what I did. (I have Windows 7, IE 9). Now my ie icon in the tool tray only has the option of unpinning from the taskbar and opening another IE. The “frequent” list and the “close all windows” options are gone. When I click to open IE, another, unknown icon appears on my taskbar, and that’s where the “frequent” list is and the “close all windows”, but it doesn’t give me the option of opening other IE windows or unpinning from the desktop. So I need to switch between the two icons on my taskbar, instead of having everything under the IE icon and being able to just mouse over that and see all my open IE windows. I can still see my open IE windows by mousing over the “new” icon on my taskbar, but I want everything back under the IE icon, like it was until yesterday. Anybody have an idea what this is and how to fix it???

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on December 6, 2012 at 5:37 pm
      Reply

      Have you tried right-click the second icon to pin it to the taskbar? If that does not work, locate Internet Explorer in the start menu, right-click it and select pin to start menu.

  15. Mary said on December 6, 2012 at 5:47 pm
    Reply

    Martin:
    The second icon doesn’t have an option when I right-click to pin or unpin to the taskbar. IE is NOT in my start menu (this is a work computer, I didn’t set it up), but I found where it was in programs and unpinned the one currently on my taskbar and pinned the one in the program files. Same thing. It’s “e” on my taskbar, but it doesn’t have the “frequest” list and when I click it it spanws the generic icon. I don’t know if I can put screen shots on this forum or not, but if I can I could put screen shots here to show what it looks like. BTW, our IT guy is clueless about what’s wrong.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on December 6, 2012 at 5:51 pm
      Reply

      You should be able to find it using the start menu’s search option. Type in Internet Explorer and see if pinning it makes a difference.

  16. Mary said on December 6, 2012 at 6:05 pm
    Reply

    Well, even stranger things. I searched for IT and the “target” says it is on my “U” drive…. the “U” drive is supposed to be our “personal” drive. There aren’t any programs on that drive. There is no directory called “program files” on the U drive…. ??

  17. Mary said on December 6, 2012 at 6:43 pm
    Reply

    It’s fixed! Don’t ask me exactly what I did, but I had my husband on the phone and he had me look at properties and target, and somehow the target was wrong, it was pointed toward the wrong drive, so I went to the C:\program files (x86)]\Internet Explorer\iexplorer.exe and made that the target, then I changed the icon to be the “e” instead of the funny square. I opened it. When opened, it had all the correct “features” etc. So I pinned that one to the taskbar and unpinned the other “IE” icon I had on the taskbar. Now I only have one IE icon, in the correct “e” icon, that opens multiple copies under the same “e” that I can mouse over and see all of them. Thank you for setting me on the right track!

  18. MOD said on February 24, 2013 at 10:12 am
    Reply

    this is a bug in windows 7, win 8 doesnt have it.

    I have Waterfox that has this bug, Firefox works without problem (some apps are just not working 100% compatibility with win 7)

    I have W 7 Ultimate x64 and Waterfox is a pure x64 platform.

  19. Robert said on June 5, 2013 at 3:25 pm
    Reply

    Not sure if anyone commented with this already, better twice than never ;)
    After FF updates the icon pinned to the taskbar doesn’t respond to right click… so unpinning is not possible. But you can find the pinned icons in this HIDDEN folder
    C:\Users\Silk\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch\User Pinned\TaskBar
    Delete it, maybe even restart, but eventually it will disappear from the taskbar. Just repin the FF icon, and you should be ok. No more double vision :P Hope it helps!

  20. Jon said on August 14, 2013 at 3:03 pm
    Reply

    Worked thanx

  21. boa13 said on September 26, 2013 at 11:10 am
    Reply

    Thanks for posting this, it solved the problem for me.

  22. wolf said on October 17, 2013 at 2:01 am
    Reply

    ” right-click the newly spawned item, right-click the program executable”

    so which is it????????????

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on October 17, 2013 at 9:05 am
      Reply

      Both. When you right-click an icon on the taskbar in Windows 7 or newer, a jumplist – custom or default – comes up. Here you need to locate the executable file and right-click it as well.

  23. Edmund Johnson said on December 11, 2014 at 11:17 am
    Reply

    Great, thank you!

  24. Della said on March 17, 2015 at 9:05 pm
    Reply

    It worked!! Thank you!

  25. M.A. said on April 6, 2015 at 4:53 pm
    Reply

    Worked for me, thanks.

  26. Mine said on May 4, 2015 at 2:09 pm
    Reply

    Thank you so very much! It worked!

  27. Brad said on June 13, 2015 at 4:05 pm
    Reply

    This worked for me with the internet explorer icon in windows 8.1. Whenever I clicked the internet explorer icon, it would open up with another icon on the far right of the task bar. This fixed it, thanks.

  28. Pratik said on August 21, 2015 at 5:29 pm
    Reply

    It works for me.You re genius

  29. Kunal Mehta said on November 4, 2015 at 7:15 pm
    Reply

    Martin, can you please help on this: I am using Windows 10 and am frequently in need of opening several instances of the same app. So how do I make a pinned icon on the task bar to open in a new window?
    (I know that I can open multiple instances of an app by right clicking an already opened instance and selecting the app from the list, but thats not quite convenient.)
    Any help is much appreciated.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on November 4, 2015 at 7:24 pm
      Reply

      You can hold down Shift to open another instance, provided the program allows that.

      1. Kunal Mehta said on November 4, 2015 at 7:49 pm
        Reply

        Oh, thank you so much! That looks like a very nice way. But I would like to have a way to pin icons to the taskbar such that they just stay on the taskbar unmodified and always open separate instances of the apps. Nevertheless thank you very much for the solution suggested by you.

  30. Danno said on March 12, 2016 at 7:48 am
    Reply

    Thanks buddy, that worked for me.
    It was driving me nuts every time I open ie another one popped up thinking it was a virus.
    Muchly appreciated.

  31. Mike Reynolds said on May 2, 2016 at 3:51 pm
    Reply

    Worked for me! Thank you for the well written resource.

  32. Reira said on May 16, 2016 at 7:02 am
    Reply

    As someone asked, how do you to the opposite?
    I want it to have a separate launch, not open within the pinned icon.

  33. JP98SLK said on June 15, 2016 at 5:58 am
    Reply

    Worked like a charm on Outlook & Firefox.

  34. W. D. Gaster said on November 20, 2016 at 9:37 pm
    Reply

    Is there a way to do the opposite (i.e. make the pinned icon spawn a separate icon for the active window a la XP)? I am using Windows 8.1 and Windows 10 (two separate computers). The one with 10 is exhibiting this “issue” with Chrome, but not with anything else. How do I make this happen with ALL of my taskbar programs?

  35. Don said on April 4, 2017 at 6:11 pm
    Reply

    This has bugged me for a while now. Thanks for the trick.

  36. Tapa said on June 12, 2017 at 8:28 pm
    Reply

    Thanks so much!

  37. Brenda said on June 19, 2017 at 12:01 pm
    Reply

    Thank you so much! Silly annoying things but really get on my nerves. This fixed it. Again, thank you!!!

  38. Anonymous said on July 23, 2017 at 11:14 am
    Reply

    worked for me on win 10. thx.

  39. Simon said on August 14, 2017 at 8:34 pm
    Reply

    Thank you! Simple and very helpful fix.

  40. Ed said on September 6, 2017 at 5:27 pm
    Reply

    Worked for me! Thanks :o)

  41. David C said on September 11, 2017 at 10:46 pm
    Reply

    Very helpful – worked for me with the Internet Explorer icon on Windows 10! Thanks! :)

  42. Radek said on September 27, 2017 at 2:41 pm
    Reply

    Thank you! Worked for me with Git Bash icon on Windows Server 2012.

  43. Lang Lang said on December 12, 2017 at 6:58 pm
    Reply

    You’re a genius!
    Thank you so much!

  44. Vince said on January 10, 2018 at 1:25 pm
    Reply

    worked!! finally! THANK YOU!

  45. Kevin said on February 14, 2018 at 4:51 pm
    Reply

    The real hero of the internet! Thanks for sharing – this solved a big headache for me!

  46. Lobke said on June 26, 2018 at 2:48 pm
    Reply

    And for me! Thanks!
    No more double ‘Outlook’ :)

  47. Shana said on July 11, 2018 at 8:03 pm
    Reply

    Worked for me as well! I had the double Outlook issue, too.

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