Open Pinned Sites In The Default Windows Browser

Martin Brinkmann
May 6, 2012
Updated • May 6, 2012
Internet Explorer, Tutorials, Windows

Are you using the site pinning feature of the Windows 7 operating system? When you are using Microsoft's Internet Explorer, you can drag and drop open websites, or more precisely the site's favicons, to the desktop taskbar to pin  websites to it. The idea here is to give users a fast way of launching their favorite websites directly from the taskbar.

One of the issues that you may run into is that the pinned sites open in Internet Explorer by default, regardless whether it is the default system browser. Webmasters can configure their websites for this, so that additional links and information are displayed in the jumplist.

Microsoft has created the Build my pinned site website to help webmasters in the creation of these additional links.

If you are not using Internet Explorer as the default Internet browser on the system, you will notice that a click on a pinned website in the taskbar will open that website in Internet Explorer, ignoring the system's default browser. The core reason here seems to be that only Internet Explorer is capable of interpreting the meta information correctly.

It is possible to change the behavior, to open pinned sites in the default system browser instead. This however impacts the jumplist feature, which can't be used anymore correctly after the changes have been made.

If you still want to go ahead with the change do the following:

  • Use the Ctrl-r shortcut to open a run box, enter regedit in the form, and hit the return key to load the Registry Editor. You may see an UAC prompt that you need to accept.

You need to create the following Registry key


Depending on your system's configuration, you may need to create multiple new keys for that. On a Windows 7 test system, I had to create all folders starting with Microsoft.Website.

You need to delete the following Registry key if it exists (only delete the last folder)


The change is in effect immediately, and a click on the pinned site icon in the taskbar should now launch the pinned website in the default web browser.

If you want to undo the changes, delete the [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\Microsoft.Website\ key again.

Closing Words

I can't really say if pinning websites to the taskbar is something that a lot of users do. It is likely that it is not overly popular, considering that you do not gain a lot by it. You can for instance configure your favorite websites to open with the browser instead, or display a bookmarks bar for the same effect. Have you played around with the feature yet?


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  1. Everett said on September 1, 2012 at 1:25 am

    I like the pinned sites. What bugs me is the links to other websites on the pinned site, opens up in the pinned website browser. Not the regular IE browser.

    I use as a pinned site. All of the links in my email open up the ‘’ browser. So if I click on a link from, my Lastpass toolbar isn’t available to log me in.

    Do you know of a reg hack to force links in a pinned site to open in a regular IE browswer?

    I’ve googled this problem but haven’t been able to find anyone else with the same question.

    Thanks for your help

  2. NONO said on May 8, 2012 at 10:37 am

    i love this feature !

  3. smaragdus said on May 6, 2012 at 2:39 pm

    For me cluttering the taskbar has always been a bad idea.

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