Like HowStuffWorks on Facebook!

How do I add applications to the task bar in Windows 98?

        Tech | Internet Basics

One of the funny things about the Graphical User Interface is that while the interface is graphical, the help files are textual. So if you were new to word processing and didn't know the English word for italics, how would you look it up in a help file? It's impossible! The same thing happens with that little area to the right of the Start button.

It turns out that this area is called the Quick Launch area. The operating system decides which icons to put in the Quick Launch area by looking in a specific directory named:

C:\WINDOWS\Application Data\Microsoft\Internet Explorer                                     \Quick Launch 

If you look in that directory, you will find that it contains one entry for each icon that appears on the screen. In your case, since you have three icons, there will be three entries in that directory. The following three approaches are the easiest ways to add more icons:

Approach 1

  • From the Start menu, you can drag program icons and drop them directly into the Quick Launch area. You may have to resize the Quick Launch area to allow the icon to show up, but it's that easy.

Approach 2

  • Open one copy of the Windows Explorer and arrange it so that the Quick Launch folder is open (or right-click on the vertical bar just to the right of the Start button, and click Open in the menu that appears).
  • Drag application icons from the Start menu and drop them into the Quick Launch directory.

Approach 3

  • Open one copy of the Windows Explorer and arrange it so that the Quick Launch folder is open (or right-click on the vertical bar just to the right of the Start button, and click Open in the menu that appears).
  • Open another copy of the Windows Explorer and find an application you want to add to the Quick Launch area. For example, you might want to add Microsoft Word or Quicken to your Quick Launch area. With the explorer, find the EXE files for Word and Quicken. (This is not always easy. If all else fails, use the Find option in the Start menu and search for EXE and COM files.)
  • When you find the application (EXE) file, right-click on it and choose Create Shortcut in the menu that appears. It is important that you create a shortcut for the application -- if you drag the application itself, Windows won't be able to find it the next time it needs it.
  • Drag the new shortcut into the Quick Launch directory.

­ Once you've done it the first time, it only takes a few seconds to add other icons to the Quick Launch area. If you put six or seven of your most frequently used applications in the Quick Launch area, you can save yourself a minute or two every day. Two minutes saved over 300 days is 10 hours!

These links will help you learn more:


More to Explore