How to Pin and Unpin a Program in Windows 7

Customize your taskbar and Start menu by adding or removing programs

Screenshot of the Windows 7 Start Menu and desktop
Windows 7 Start Menu and Desktop.

What does "pinning" mean? In Windows 7, it's the simple process of adding shortcuts to your most often used programs. The two places you can quickly find programs in Windows 7 are the taskbar, located at the bottom of the screen, and the Start menu, which opens when you click the Start button. Pinning a program you use often to either of these places makes it easier and faster to start them, saving you the extra clicks you'd normally make when navigating to them.

Don't use a program that shows up in the Start menu or taskbar? You can unpin programs, too.

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. This same process applies to any program or software you use in Windows 7.

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Locking and Unlocking the Taskbar

First, if you want to make changes to the taskbar, you may need to unlock it. When the taskbar is locked, this prevents changes from being made to it—generally to prevent accidental changes, such as through 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 click the Lock the taskbar item in the menu to remove the check. Now you can add and remove programs to it.

Note: 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 Clicking

For this example, we'll use the image editing software Paint, which comes with Windows 7.

Click the Start button. Paint may appear in the list that pops up. 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, click Pin to Taskbar.

Paint will now appear in the taskbar.

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Pin to the Taskbar by Dragging

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

Click on the Paint icon and hold. 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." Simply 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

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

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

First, locate the Solitaire game by clicking 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 click Start

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Unpin a Program from the Start Menu

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

First, click 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.​​

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