From the Kenosha News on 6-11-06

Use Windows Quick Launch for easy access to your favorite software

If you’re like most users, there are a few programs that you use very often, and you’d like to be able to get to them easily. The Quick Launch area of the taskbar provides exactly this capability. You can customize the Quick Launch area to contain the icons to launch the programs you use most.

The taskbar is the horizontal bar that usually runs along the bottom of your screen in Windows with the Start button at the far left end. The Quick Launch area, when active, displays immediately to the right of the Start button. If Quick Launch is active, you should see an icon like a desk blotter and a few other icons in that area whenever you launch Windows. If you don’t see these icons, then Quick Launch is not active.

To activate Quick Launch, right-click on the Start button and select Properties. This will show you the Taskbar and Start Menu Properties window. Click on the Taskbar tab. Make sure that the box next to “Show Quick Launch” is checked. Click the OK button.

Once your Quick Launch area displays, see which icons appear on it. The Show Desktop icon which resembles a desk blotter performs a very valuable function. Click on it once to minimize all of your open Windows and display the desktop. Click on it again to restore all of your open windows to their previous state. This is useful when you have lots of windows open and you want to click on a document or other item that you know is displayed on the desktop.

You can add or remove icons from the Quick Launch area as follows:

To remove an icon, right-click on it and select Delete. You will be prompted if you are sure. Deleting the icon from Quick Launch will NOT remove the actual program from your computer.

To add an icon, it is easiest to have a shortcut for that program already on your desktop. From there, drag the shortcut icon to the Quick Launch area and place it in the position you want. If you don’t have an icon on your desktop for the program, consult my June 5 article from 2005. You can find it on-line at; click on the News Archive link at the left.

The size of the Quick Launch area determines how many icons can be displayed at once. If you have more icons than fit, you’ll see a >> symbol at the right. Click on that to show the remaining items in menu form. If you want to enlarge the Quick Launch area, just click on and drag the vertical bar to the right of the >> symbol until all of the icons show.

You can re-arrange the order of the icons by clicking on any one of them and moving it right or left until it is in the desired position.

If you have questions or topics that you’d like to see covered in this column, you can send your suggestions to

By Carol Sabbar from the Kenosha News on 6-11-06