How to create a backup of your Taskbar toolbars in Windows 8.1 and Windows 8

If you like to customize your Taskbar, you probably have some custom toolbar set up such as Quick Launch, or a simplified Start menu replacement as described in the article: "A Start menu toolbar trick of the taskbar in Windows 8 and 8.1". Every time you install Windows, you have to set them up again which is quite a waste of time. It is a good idea to create a backup of any custom toolbars you have added so you can restore them quickly. Here's how to do it.

    • Open Registry Editor.
    • Go to the following registry key:
      HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Streams\Desktop

      Tip: How to jump to the desired registry key with one click.

    • Right click the Desktop folder in the left pane and choose "Export..." from its context menu.
      export taskbar toolbars to a file
      Give the exported file some name of your choice and save it to the folder you want. Your taskbar toolbars will be exported to the *.reg file.

Now you have a backup of your taskbar toolbars.
After reinstalling Windows, you need to restore toolbars from the *.reg file you created earlier. Follow these instructions:

      1. Open Registry Editor and leave it running.
      2. Start the Task Manager and kill all explorer.exe instances. See how to end a process quickly with Task Manager in Windows 8. Once you end all Explorer.exe processes, all file browser windows as well as the taskbar will be closed. Do not close the Task manager too at this point, although if you do close it accidentally, you can start it using Ctrl+Shift+Esc.
      3. Switch to Registry Editor by pressing Alt+Tab or clicking on the Registry Editor window. Click on the File -> Import menu item.
        file_import
        Browse for your *.reg file and import it by opening it. That's it. Now you can close Registry Editor.
      4. In the Task Manager, choose File -> New task (Run).
        file run new task
        Type the following in the Run box and press Enter:

        explorer

The Explorer shell will be started again, and your taskbar toolbars will be restored as they were previously! That's it.

One thought on “How to create a backup of your Taskbar toolbars in Windows 8.1 and Windows 8

  1. PeaceByJesus

    Thanks, but what is needed and not found yet by Googling is the reg key that would place new toolbars to the left on the TaskBar. Under Win. Tech. Preview is very very hard to drag Quick Launch or whatever to the left, as only the separator lines to the left are visible (TB is not locked).

    Must be around HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\

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