MDT: Pinning to Taskbar in Windows 7

I’ve been trying to get shortcuts pinned to the taskbar for our laptop users.  I thought all I had to do was to pin them to my test system and make sure to set copyprofile=true in the unattended.xml, but it turns out that it was a fluke that the pinned items carried over in prior images.

I tried to force the items to pin but they did not work at all.  My test cases were as follows:

Starting from the current image:

Pinned taskbar Items in order: IE, FF, Chrome, Explorer, Media Player

Test Case Changes Did Taskbar Save? Image Below 6GB?
LapTestCase1.wim
    • Updated java
    • Uninstall Acrobat Reader 9
    • Install Acro 9 Pro
    • Image from Faculty Account
No No
LapTestCase2.wim
    • Uninstall Acrobat Reader 9
  • Starting from base image:

Yes Yes – 4.54GB
LapTestCase2.1.wim
    • Connect to wireless
    • Install VPN from lawvpn.law.uci.edu
      • Installed certificate
    • Backup image
    • Create Remote Desktop Icon
    • Create VPN Desktop Icon
    • Sysprep from Administrator
Yes Yes
LapTestCase2.2.wim
    • Removed Firefox & Chrome from taskbar
    • Pinned VPN and Remote Desktop
No Yes
LapTestCase2.2.1
    • Unpin Chrome
    • Unpin Firefox
    • Create Remote Desktop Icon
    • Create VPN Desktop Icon
    • Sysprep from Faculty
Yes Yes
LapTestCase2.2.1.1
    • Updated Java
    • Added Chrome & Firefox desktop shortcut
    • Added Word, PowerPoint, Excel desktop shortcut on public/desktop
    • Added exchange OWA shortcut
    • Uninstalled Windows Live ID Sign-in Assistant
    • Update Flash on IE and Firefox/Chrome
    • Update Windows
    • Sysprep from Faculty
No Yes
LapTestCase2.2.1.2
    • Updated Java
    • Added Chrome & Firefox desktop shortcut
    • Added Word, PowerPoint, Excel desktop shortcut on public/desktop
    • Added exchange OWA shortcut
    • Sysprep from Faculty
No Yes
LapTestCase2.2.1.3
    • Updated Java
    • Added Chrome & Firefox desktop shortcut
    • Added Word, PowerPoint, Excel desktop shortcut on public/desktop
    • Added exchange OWA shortcut
    • Update Flash
    • Removed duplicates of Windows Explorer and Internet Explorer in C:\Users\administrator\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch\User Pinned\TaskBar
    • Sysprep from Faculty
No Yes

As you can see from the test cases above, there was no way to consistently keep the VPN Client and the Remote Destop icons pinned to the taskbar.  A simple change such as updating would cause the bar to clear so I gave up on that idea and decided to read more into this issue.

Two Methods for Pinning to Taskbar

TaskbarLinks

The easiest way to pin to the taskbar is to use specify the location of the shortcuts through the TaskbarLinks node in the unattended.xml file.  The only drawback is that you can only pin 3 additional links (Internet Explorer, Windows Media Player, and Windows Explorer are pinned by default).

To use this process, first create a folder that all users have access to.  I created a folder under the Users/Public called Public Links and created my shortcuts in there.

In your MDT Deployment workbench, open up the unattended.xml of your task sequence.

In your Windows Image section of your Windows System Image Manager, go to Components > x86_Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setup_neutral > TaskbarLinks. Drag this node to your answer file under Components > 4 specialize > x86_Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setup_neutral.

Click on the TaskbarLinks node, enter in the path to your shortcuts under Link0 to Link2 such as C:\Users\Public\Public Links\Cisco AnyConnect VPN Client.lnk.

Once you save the changes, update your media and your image will now pin those 3 shortcuts to the taskbar.

Startup VBScript

The only other way to control your taskbar icons is through a startup script.  The script will start when you first log in, setup your taskbar icons, and then delete itself.

I learned about the scripting process through Brian Jackson’s blog found here.  Download his available script and modify it to your needs.

Start off by building your deployment image the way that you want and right before you capture your image through MDT, put the script in your startup folder of the current profile.  Remember to set copyprofile=true in your capture sequence and your deployment sequence for the profile to copy over and deploy properly.

After deployment, the script will run for every new user that logs on so that their initial taskbar will be exactly how you want.

Resources:

http://technet.microsoft.com/en-us/library/ff715544%28WS.10%29.aspx

http://blog.brianleejackson.com/copy-taskbar-icons-windows-7-sysprep-v2

 

-Jimmy Tu

UCI School of Law

Information Technology Services



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