Force Taskbar Toolbar to All Users

In my last post, I walked through the (relatively easy) steps to add a menu style Administrative Tools toolbar to the taskbar on Windows 8.1 / 2012 R2.

For a “Generic IT Tools Machine” project at my day job, we needed to make this toolbar appear for all userswithout requiring them to manually perform these steps.

How to accomplish this (Part 1 of 2):

  • On a Windows 8.1 box, logon to a clean Windows user profile (meaning NOT the account you’ve been using for the last 6 months).
  • Perform these steps to manually add the Administrative Tools toolbar to your Windows 8.1 taskbar.
  • Reboot and log on to the same clean user profile to confirm the toolbar persists.
  • Create a folder named AdminToolsLogon at the root of C:\
  • Open up regedit and navigate to:
    HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Streams\Desktop
  • Go to File and click Export
  • Save the file to C:\AdminToolsLogon\ and name it AdminToolsOnTaskbar.reg
  • Right click AdminToolsOnTaskbar.reg and click Edit
  • Scroll to the bottom and only if you see it, remove the line that says "Upgrade"=dword:00000001
  • Confirm the ONLY data inside this .REG key looks similar to the following:AdminToolsOnTaskbarReg
  • Save this file
  • Create a new Notepad document and enter the following:
    @echo off
    regedit /s AdminToolsOnTaskbar.reg
  • Save this file to C:\AdminToolsLogon\ as AdminToolsOnTaskbar-Boot.bat

How to accomplish this (Part 2 of 2):

Next we’re going to create a new Local Group Policy which will push these customized taskbar settings to all users when they logon.

  • Navigate to C:\AdminToolsLogon\
  • Copy AdminToolsOnTaskbar.reg and AdminToolsOnTaskbar-Boot.bat to C:\Windows\System32\GroupPolicy\User\Scripts\Logon\CopyForAdminTools
  • Open the Local Group Policy Editor
    Right Click Start > Run > gpedit.msc
  • Navigate to:
    User Configuration / Windows Settings / Scripts (Logon/Logoff)
  • Double click Logon
  • Click Add
  • Click Browse
  • Double click AdminToolsOnTaskbar-Boot.batLogonProperties
  • Click OK twice
  • Reboot and logon with a new/different username
  • Confirm the Administrative Tools toolbar appears on the taskbar.

Note: By using this method, any additional taskbar customizations a user has will be reset on reboot.


What we’re doing:

Microsoft has a secret sauce which makes up the taskbar customization configuration. This “secret sauce” is contained within the TaskbarWinXP key. By adding the toolbar, this key was modified. After performing these steps, we’ve extracted (copied) the TaskbarWinXP key and told Windows to apply (and override) that key for each user that logs on. Thus, each user receives our customized key, which contains the new toolbar.

Check back for more tips!

  • Michael Hunt

    This was a great help!

  • Steve

    Joe any chance you put together a .exe of sorts on this. Im a novice sys admin here and need someway to have the same toolbar on other 7 machines. I have a feeling Id screw the above up. Also we may have a domain group policy in place from our partner corporation. Any info would be very much appreciated

    • echorelay

      Hi Steve – I have faith that if you follow the instructions, you can do it. 🙂

      I could automate parts of this into an EXE, but not all since part of the process includes creating your own customized toolbar. I think if you go through it slowly, you’ll be able to succeed with this project! And as a side note, Domain Group Policies would not override this customization unless they’re also modifying the toolbar, so you should be fine in that regard.

      Thanks for reading!
      Joe

  • Claus Kant

    Hello, can you make this work in Windows 10 also please ? BR from Denmark

    • echorelay

      I just checked and this process appears to still work on Windows 10. Does it not for you? Thanks!