Microsoft Windows 7 comes with a taskbar that has never before been witnessed in its predecessors. The Windows 7 taskbar features a dock-type appearance and utility tools like launching a program or running an application. Undoubtedly, the Windows 7 taskbar helps the user to an extent more than what meets the eye.
Here, we unveil a new utilization feature of the Windows 7 taskbar. Often, some programs and shortcuts to various applications are pinned to the taskbar for easy accessibility. However, sometimes for reasons concerning privacy and confidentiality, the user may want to hide these icons so that other users logging into his computer do not have access to his private applications or programs. We’ll now plow on the process to achieve this useful tweak.
To start with, the icon that needs to be hidden should remain invisible at the taskbar with only the creator knowing its perfect location and the authority to view and access it. We, here, take Mozilla Firefox as an example to the program that requires to be hidden. On completing the following procedure, your taskbar will contain Mozilla Firefox as a launch up program while keeping it invisible to anyone who logs on to your computer.
Making a program icon invisible
To make an program icon invisible, you need to use a software called “Resource Hacker”. Download this freeware to start the process. The dowloaded file is a “.zip” file. No installation is required to use this software.
On extraction, locate the file “ResHacker.exe” in the extracted folder. Right click on this file and select to “Run as Administrator”. Confirm on request to open Resource Hacker.
1. After the software opens, go to “File” menu (or simply press Alt+F). Select “Open” and navigate to the location where the Mozilla Firefox execution file is present. (It should be in the folder “Mozilla Firefox” in the “Programs” folder of the directory where Mozilla is installed). Select the file “firefox.exe” file and click “Open”.
2. The Resource Hacker wizard opens up. Select “Icon” and then click on the “Action” tab on the menu-bar. Select “Replace Icon“.
3. The “Replace Icon in” window appears. Select “1” in the right pane of the window under the tag “Select icon to replace” and then click to “Open file with new Icon…“.
4. Navigate to “C:\Windows\System32\ ” and click on “shell32.dll” to open it.
5. On clicking “Open” a list of icons appear under the tag “Select new icon“. Select the icon number 52. Then click to “Replace”.
You will be notified that the icon has been replaced.
To proceed, you have to replace a second set of icons. Select “Open” under “File” menu. On asking whether to save your work, select “NO“, as the task is not completed yet. Follow the steps 1 to 5 once again with the exception that in step 3, this time, Select “32512” in the right pane of the window under the tag “Select icon to replace”. Follow the remaining steps as you have done previously.
Save the file you have just created by pressing Ctrl+S to the installed program folder of Mozilla Firefox (in the folder “Mozilla Firefox” in the “Programs” folder of the directory where Mozilla is installed).
Exit Resource Hacker.
The new file created “firefox.exe” can be visualized when you open the folder where Mozilla is installed. This file, does not have an icon, or more technically, the icon of this file is invisible. The original Firefox execution file still remains within the folder with it being renamed to “firefox_original.exe”. Now, right click on the file “firefox.exe” and select “Pin to taskbar”.
To the right of the pinned programs on the taskbar, appears a section which, on hovering your mouse pointer over it, displays “firefox.exe – Shortcut”. You have just created a secret invisible icon in your Windows 7 taskbar. Drag this section to the extreme left of the taskbar to the right of the “Start” button.
Your taskbar remains just as it was before you created this invisible icon. None, but you know the exact location of this icon. Your privacy gets boosted up with an increased accessibility option.
Note: Updating Firefox will again require you to retrace the above steps to restore your invisible icon in the taskbar. Same process can be performed for any other program.