How to permanently remove pinned items from the Windows taskbar

The Windows taskbar allows you to "pin" apps to it so they're easily accessible. However, some items may get re-pinned when the computer is rebooted even though you want them permanently unpinned.

The following solution to permanently unpin items from the Windows taskbar was tested with Windows 10:

  1. Press Win+R keys
  2. Type %LOCALAPPDATA%\Microsoft\Windows\Shell\ and press Enter
  3. Open LayoutModification.xml in an editor (notepad works fine, I prefer Visual Studio Code)
  4. Remove the unwanted taskbar:DesktopApp elements from the LayoutModificationTemplate/CustomTaskbarLayoutCollection/defaultlayout:TaskbarLayout/taskbar:TaskbarPinList element
  5. Save the file

You can now remove the unwanted items from the taskbar and they will not return upon reboot.

LayoutModification.xml: Before and After

Example of a LayoutModification.xml that causes pinned items that were removed to be re-added to the taskbar upon restart:

<LayoutModificationTemplate
    xmlns="http://schemas.microsoft.com/Start/2014/LayoutModification"
    xmlns:defaultlayout="http://schemas.microsoft.com/Start/2014/FullDefaultLayout"
    xmlns:start="http://schemas.microsoft.com/Start/2014/StartLayout"
    xmlns:taskbar="http://schemas.microsoft.com/Start/2014/TaskbarLayout"
    Version="1">
  <LayoutOptions StartTileGroupCellWidth="6" />
  <DefaultLayoutOverride>
    <StartLayoutCollection>
    	<!-- ... Code omitted for brevity ... -->
    </StartLayoutCollection>
  </DefaultLayoutOverride>
	<CustomTaskbarLayoutCollection PinListPlacement="Replace">
    		<defaultlayout:TaskbarLayout>
     			<taskbar:TaskbarPinList>
            		<taskbar:DesktopApp DesktopApplicationLinkPath="%APPDATA%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Accessories\Internet Explorer.lnk" />
                	<taskbar:DesktopApp DesktopApplicationLinkPath="%APPDATA%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\System Tools\File Explorer.lnk" />
                	<taskbar:DesktopApp DesktopApplicationLinkPath="%ALLUSERSPROFILE%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Outlook.lnk" />
                	<taskbar:DesktopApp DesktopApplicationLinkPath="%ALLUSERSPROFILE%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Google Chrome.lnk" />
            		<taskbar:DesktopApp DesktopApplicationLinkPath="%ALLUSERSPROFILE%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Microsoft Edge.lnk"/>
      			</taskbar:TaskbarPinList>
    		</defaultlayout:TaskbarLayout>
  	</CustomTaskbarLayoutCollection>
</LayoutModificationTemplate>

Example of a LayoutModification.xml modified so that no pinned items are not re-added once they've been removed:

<LayoutModificationTemplate
    xmlns="http://schemas.microsoft.com/Start/2014/LayoutModification"
    xmlns:defaultlayout="http://schemas.microsoft.com/Start/2014/FullDefaultLayout"
    xmlns:start="http://schemas.microsoft.com/Start/2014/StartLayout"
    xmlns:taskbar="http://schemas.microsoft.com/Start/2014/TaskbarLayout"
    Version="1">
  <LayoutOptions StartTileGroupCellWidth="6" />
  <DefaultLayoutOverride>
    <StartLayoutCollection>
      <!-- ... Code omitted for brevity ... -->
    </StartLayoutCollection>
  </DefaultLayoutOverride>
	<CustomTaskbarLayoutCollection PinListPlacement="Replace">
    		<defaultlayout:TaskbarLayout>
     			<taskbar:TaskbarPinList>
      			</taskbar:TaskbarPinList>
    		</defaultlayout:TaskbarLayout>
  	</CustomTaskbarLayoutCollection>
</LayoutModificationTemplate>

Broader Topics Related to Permanent removal of Windows taskbar pinned items

Microsoft Windows

The Microsoft Windows Operating System

Permanent removal of Windows taskbar pinned items Knowledge Graph