How to Backup and Restore pinned Taskbar items in Windows 10

The Taskbar is one of the most used interfaces in Windows. We all like to pin most used programs, even shortcuts with extra privileges, and automated tasks. This is much better than the Start Menu, and tiles to be very frank. That said, if any Windows Update messes up your system, or if you are switching to another PC, setting up the taskbar with the same set of programs is not easy. This post will show you how to backup and restore pinned Taskbar items in Windows 10.

Backup & restore pinned Taskbar items

Manually Backup

1: Type ‘%AppData%\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch\User Pinned\TaskBar‘ in the Run prompt. This will open the folder which stores all the shortcuts or the pinned items on the taskbar.

2: Copy all the files from there, and paste it elsewhere as a backup – say into – E:\Pinned Items Backup\pinnedshortcuts.

3:  Type Regedit in the Run prompt to open the Registry Editor. Click Yes on the User Account Control dialog box when it appears. Next, navigate to the following key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Taskband

backup and restore pinned Taskbar items

4: Right-click on the Taskband folder and select Export. 

5: Save this file (.reg) extension, to another location – say E:\Pinned Items Backup\ folder. Name it as, say, tb-pinned-items.reg.

6: Close the Registry Editor.

Manually Restore

If you are using it for some other computer, make sure to copy all the files to one of the drives first, and then follow the steps below:

1:   Type ‘%AppData%\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch\User Pinned\TaskBar‘ in the Run prompt. This is the same folder from where we copied all the shortcuts in the previous section. Keep it open.

2: Open the backup folder ( In our case it is E:\Pinned Items Backup\pinnedshortcuts – where you saved all the pinned items) and copy all the files.

3: Switch to the ‘Taskbar folder’ of Step 1, and paste all your files into it. If there is any conflict, replace it with your own set of files.

4: Switch to E:\Pinned Items Backup\pinnedshortcuts, and double-click on tb-pinned-items.reg. If you get a UAC prompt, say yes. This will add the registry file into the main registry hub. You will get a dialog box which will confirm that data has been successfully added to the registry. Click OK.

6: You will not see the items appear on the taskbar instantly. We need to restart the Windows Explorer here. Open Task Manager using ALT + CTRL + DEL. Find Windows Explorer in the list, right-click on it and select Restart.

This will restart Windows Explorer, and you should see all the shortcuts right on the task manager now. Exit Task Manager.

Automatically backup & restore pinned Taskbar items

All this can be automated, but we had to share the hard part first, so you understand whats going on behind the hood. We will create two bat file named as ‘Backup Pinned Taskbar Items’ and ‘Restore Pinned Taskbar Items’.  It will then be super smooth. Follow the steps below:

Automatically Backup

1: Open Notepad, and paste the below-mentioned details in it. Then save it as ‘Backup Pinned Taskbar Items.bat’.

REG EXPORT HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Taskband “E:\Pinned Items Backup\tb-pinned-items.reg”
xcopy “%AppData%\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch\User Pinned\TaskBar” “E:\Pinned Items Backup\pinnedshortcuts” /E /C /H /R /K /Y

2: Run this bat file with admin privileges.

Automatically Restore

1: Open Notepad, and paste the below-mentioned details in it. Then save it as ‘Restore Pinned Taskbar Items.bat’.

REGEDIT /S “E:\Pinned Items Backup\tb-pinned-items.reg”
xcopy “E:\Pinned Items Backup\pinnedshortcuts” “%AppData%\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch\User Pinned\TaskBar” /E /C /H /R /K /Y

2: Run this bat file with admin privileges.

The drawback of this process

We did notice that any pinned apps downloaded from the Store don’t appear in these places. Any items which are downloaded & installed separately from the internet, and then pinned appear here. While we are looking at ways we can also back up the items from Store, seems Microsoft had been strict on its location and might be handling it completely from the registry. We will keep you posted on this.

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Ashish is a veteran Windows, and Xbox user who excels in writing tips, tricks, and features on it to improve your day to day experience with your devices.