FIX: Unable or Cannot Pin to Taskbar in Windows

Cannot pin programs, apps, or icons to the Taskbar. It is easy to fix. Follow these steps to fix the unable to pin to taskbar problem.

If you read even just a few times, you might know that I love the Taskbar. Just like almost every other Windows user, I pin a lot of programs to the Taskbar. In addition to the regular program icons, I also pin folders to the Taskbar and even add useful taskbar widgets like the network speed monitor and CPU and GPU temperature monitor.

Generally, to pin a program or application to the Taskbar, you can drag and drop the program icon onto the Taskbar or search for it in the start menu and then select “Pin to taskbar” from the right-click context menu.

However, under certain circumstances, you might be unable to pin programs to the Taskbar. Though not a common problem, I’ve seen a couple of users struggling to pin programs to Taskbar. There may be multiple reasons for this. For example, you cannot pin icons to the Taskbar because of corrupted system files, buggy taskbar, system admin policy, etc.

The good thing is, it is relatively easy to fix the cannot pin to taskbar problem in Windows. Follow the steps one after the other.

Fix Cannot Pin to Taskbar

Do the following things to fix cannot pin to Taskbar in Windows.

  1. Restart explorer.exe in Task Manager
  2. Check Group Policy Setting
  3. Re-register the Taskbar via PowerShell
  4. The problem might be with the icon or program itself
  5. Scan and fix corrupted system files

Restart explorer.exe in Task Manager

When you cannot pin programs, app, or icons, the first and foremost thing you should do is restart the explorer.exe program using the Task Manager. One of the main reasons is the File Explorer, Start menu, Taskbar, and other critical components are linked through the explorer.exe file. So, when there is a problem or one of the components is stuck for whatever reason, the Taskbar might be affected. In those cases, restarting the File Explorer will often fix the problem. Follow the below steps to restart the explorer.exe file.

First, right-click on the Taskbar and select the “Task Manager” option.

Next, go to the “Processes” tab. Here, select the “Windows Explorer” process and click the “Restart” button.

restart explorer to fix cannot pin to taskbar

As soon as you press the button, the Taskbar might flicker a bit. It is entirely normal. After restarting, try pinning apps to the Taskbar.

Check Group Policy Setting

Windows has a dedicated policy that blocks users from pinning apps or icons to the Taskbar. Generally, this setting is enabled when the system administrator doesn’t want users pinning new icons to the Taskbar. If the policy is enabled, you have to disable it to fix cannot pin programs to Taskbar in Windows. Do keep in mind that you need to be an administrator to make changes to the Group Policy Editor.

Open the Start menu, search for “gpedit.msc,” and click on the result to open the Group Policy Editor. After opening the Group Policy Editor, go to the “User Configuration -> Administrative Templates -> Start Menu and Taskbar” folder. Here, find and double-click on the “Do not allow pinning programs to the Taskbar” policy.

After opening the policy, select the “Not configured” option and click the “Apply” and “Ok” buttons.

Finally, restart the computer to apply the policy changes.

Re-register the Taskbar via PowerShell

Sometimes, the Taskbar might get de-registered. There may be any number of reasons for that. In that case, you have to manually re-register the Taskbar using a PowerShell command. Here is how to do it.

First, right-click on the Start menu and select the “Windows PowerShell (Admin)” option from the Power User menu.

open PowerShell as admin

In the PowerShell window, paste the below command and press Enter.

Get-AppXPackage -AllUsers | Foreach {Add-AppxPackage -DisableDevelopmentMode -Register "$($_.InstallLocation)\AppXManifest.xml"}

register taskbar to fix cannot pin to taskbar problem

As soon as you press the Enter button, PowerShell will re-register the Taskbar with Windows. After that, close the PowerShell window and reboot the computer.

You can pin apps to the Taskbar after restarting.

The problem might be with the icon or program itself

Sometimes, the problem might not be with the system or its files. Instead, the target program is actively blocking the process, or you are trying to pin an unpinnable icon. For example, you cannot directly pin files or folders to the Taskbar.

To verify if the actual program is the culprit, try pinning another well-known program like Google Chrome, Edge, File Explorer, etc. If you can pin those but cannot pin only that specific application, then the problem is with that application.

As a workaround, you can create a custom shortcut for that application and try pinning it to the Taskbar. You can create a custom shortcut by right-clicking on the desktop, selecting “New -> Shortcut,” and following the wizard.

Scan and fix corrupted system files

Corrupted system files can also be a reason for not being able to pin programs to the Taskbar. In those cases, running the SFC command scan will often fix the problem. When you run the SFC command, it will scan for corrupted files and fix them. I have already written a detailed guide on how to run the SFC command to scan and fix Windows. Read the linked article for step-by-step instructions.

I hope that helps.

If you are stuck or need some help, comment below, and I will try to help as much as possible.

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