How to backup and restore Taskbar pinned apps in Windows 10

In Windows 7, Microsoft introduced the ability to pin your favorite apps to the taskbar. This option was designed as a fast way to put app shortcuts on the Taskbar using jumplists instead of dragging them to the Quick Launch toolbar. In Windows 10, the taskbar allows to pin Modern apps as well. After reinstalling Windows 10, you may need to pin your apps again one by one. Although it is not difficult, you can also restore all previously pinned apps at once. Let's see how it can be done.


To backup and restore your pinned apps, you need to do these two things:
  • A backup of the *.LNK (shortcut) files of the pinned apps
  • An exported registry branch with the pinned apps' settings.

Backup Taskbar pinned apps in Windows 10

Step 1. Backup of the *.LNK (shortcut) files of the pinned apps.

  1. Press Win + R shortcut keys on the keyboard to open the Run dialog. Tip: see Shortcuts with Windows (Win) key every Windows 10 user should know
    Type the following command in the Run dialog and press Enter after typing it:
    %AppData%\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch\User Pinned\TaskBar

    run dialogThis will open the TaskBar folder which contains shortcuts of all your pinned apps:pinned shortcuts folder

    Copy these shortcuts to a safe place from where you can restore them later. You will need them after reinstalling Windows.

Step 2. Export registry branch with the pinned apps' settings.

  1. Open Registry Editor.
  2. Go to the following registry key:

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

  3. Right click the Taskband key in the left pane and choose Export from its context menu.Give the exported file some name of your choice and save it to the folder you want. export pinned shortcutsexport fileYour taskbar pinned apps will be exported to the *.reg file.

Now you have a backup of your pinned apps.

Restore Taskbar pinned apps in Windows 10

To restore Taskbar pinned apps in Windows 10, do the following.

  1. Press Win + R shortcut keys on the keyboard to open the Run dialog and type or paste the following in the Run box:
    %AppData%\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch\User Pinned\TaskBar

    Copy back the pinned apps shortcuts from the backup you made earlier to this folder.

  2. Open Registry Editor and leave it running.
  3. Start the Task Manager and kill all explorer.exe instances. See how to end a process quickly with Task Manager in Windows 10. 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.
  4. Switch to Registry Editor by pressing Alt + Tab or clicking on the Registry Editor window. Click on the File -> Import menu item. Browse for your *.reg file that you had exported earlier and import it by opening it. Now you can close Registry Editor.registry file importimport backup filefile imported done
  5. In the Task Manager, choose File -> New task (Run). Type the following in the Run box and press Enter:

The Explorer shell will be started again, and your pinned apps will appear on the taskbar as they were previously! taskmgr run apptaskmgr run explorer

That's it. The same can be done in Windows 8 and Windows 7.

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Author: Sergey Tkachenko

Sergey Tkachenko is a software developer who started Winaero back in 2011. On this blog, Sergey is writing about everything connected to Microsoft, Windows and popular software. Follow him on Telegram, Twitter, and YouTube.

7 thoughts on “How to backup and restore Taskbar pinned apps in Windows 10”

    1. In taskbar properties you need to change the appropriate option.
      Which build you are running?
      In 10586/version 1511 you need to click the context menu item named “Taskbar Properties”.
      In current Insider builds it is called “Settings”.

      There you will find the ability to change the taskbar position.

      1. Can’t you just click & hold on the taskbar and drag it to the top of the screen? It has to be “unlocked” to do that.

  1. Regarding restore Taskbar pinned apps in Windows 10: Before it work, but now it doesn’t work. I guess it’s because of a new update for Windows 10.

    Do you got any suggestions?

  2. It sort of worked, I got the main programs. But in things like Excel & MS Word I’ve a few dozen frequently-pinned docs visible in the taskbar rightklik on the given icon. Those didn’t come over.

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