How to Pin and Unpin a Program in Windows 7

Customize your taskbar and Start menu by adding or removing programs

Windows 7 Start Menu and desktop

In Windows 7, pinning is adding shortcuts to your most often used programs. The two places you can quickly find programs in Windows 7 are the taskbar and the Start menu. Pinning a program makes it easier and faster to start it.

This step-by-step guide shows you how to pin and unpin a program using two methods: the right-click method and the drag-and-drop method. Either process applies to any program or software you use.

Instructions in this article apply to Windows 7. To learn how to pin to the taskbar in later versions of windows, check out this article.

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Locking and Unlocking the Taskbar

Sreenshot of Lock the taskbar in Taskbar menu

Before you make changes to the taskbar, you might need to unlock it. When the taskbar is locked, this prevents changes from being made to it. This is to prevent accidental changes, such as slips of the mouse or drag-and-drop accidents.

Right-click on the taskbar in a space where there are no icons. This opens a pop-up context menu. Near the bottom, look for Lock the taskbar; if there is a check next to this, that means your taskbar is locked, and to make changes you will first need to unlock it. 

To unlock the taskbar, simply select the Lock the taskbar item in the menu to remove the check. Now you can add and remove programs to it.

When you're finished customizing the taskbar and don't want it changed by accident in the future, you can go back and lock the taskbar using the same method: right-click in the taskbar space and select Lock the taskbar so that a check appears again next to it.

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Pin to the Taskbar by Right-Clicking

Screenshot of Pin to Taskbar in Paint right-click menu

For this example, we are using the image editing software Paint, which comes with Windows 7.

Select the Start button. Paint might appear in the Start menu. If not, type "paint" in the search window at the bottom (it has a magnifying glass next to it).

Once you've located Paint, right-click on the Paint icon. From the context menu, select Pin to Taskbar.

Paint will now appear in the taskbar.

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Pin to the Taskbar by Dragging

Screenshot of dragging Paint to Pin to Taskbar

You can also pin a program to the Taskbar by dragging it. Here, we use Paint again as the example program.

Select the Paint icon. While holding the mouse button, drag the icon to the taskbar. You will see a semitransparent version of the icon, with the phrase "Pin to Taskbar." Release the mouse button, and the program will be pinned to the Taskbar.

As above, you should now see the Paint program icon in the taskbar.

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Unpin a Taskbar Program

Screenshot of Unpin from Taskbar

To remove a program pinned to the taskbar, first right-click on the program's icon in the taskbar. In the context menu that appears, select Unpin this program from taskbar. The program will vanish from the taskbar.

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Pin a Program to the Start Menu

Screenshot of Pin to Start Menu in right-click menu

You can also pin programs to the Start menu. These will appear when you select the Start button. In this case, we will pin the Windows game Solitaire to the Start menu to give easy access to it.

First, locate the Solitaire game by selecting the Start menu and entering "solitaire" in the search field. When it appears, right-click the icon. From the context menu that appears, select Pin to Start Menu.

Once pinned to the Start menu, it will appear in that menu when you select Start

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Unpin a Program From the Start Menu

Screenshot of Unpin from Start Menu

You can remove a program from the Start menu just as easily.

First, select the Start button to open the Start menu. Find the program you want to remove from the menu and right-click it. From the context menu that appears, select Unpin from Start Menu. The program will disappear from the Start menu.​​