How to Add Shortcuts to Windows Start Menu – Online Tech Tips | Hot Mobile Press

The Windows Start menu is the central area for launching applications, locating content, and performing other system activities. It provides space to “pin” frequently used items for quick access, including shortcuts to apps, files, folders, and websites.

This tutorial will show you how to add shortcuts to the Windows 11 and 10 Start Menu. We used a Windows 11 PC for this tutorial, but the steps apply to devices running Windows 10.

Pin apps or app shortcuts to the start menu

If there is an app shortcut or executable (.exe) file on the desktop, right-click and select it On Home.

You can also add an item to the Start menu using File Explorer. Open the folder containing the app, right click on the .exe file and select it On Home.

It is possible to add app shortcuts from the Start menu itself to the Windows Start menu. This method comes in handy when you can’t find an app on the desktop or in file explorer. A good use for this would be adding shortcuts for commonly used system utilities (e.g. task manager or control panel).

Press the Start button or Windows key and enter the name of the app in the search bar. Choose On Home below the app menu in the search results.

Add folder shortcuts to the start menu

Pinning folders to the Start menu is also easy. Right-click on the folder and select it On Home.

Adding a file to the Windows Start menu

When you right-click a file, you won’t find an option to add it to the start menu. That’s because Microsoft designed the Start menu to include apps and folders. It is currently not possible to pin a file to the start menu. However, you can pin a shortcut to a file.

You can do this by moving the file shortcut to a specific folder on your PC. There is another option: change your PC’s registry. We’ll show you how to add files to the Start menu using both techniques.

Method 1: The File Explorer Hack

  1. First create a shortcut for the file. Open File Explorer, right click on the item and select it create link.

If your PC is running Windows 11, right click on the file, select Show more optionsand choose create link.

Quick tip: There’s a faster way to create shortcuts for a file. Hold down the Old button, then drag and drop the file to the same folder or to a different location. This creates a shortcut for the file in the destination folder.

  1. Select the new shortcut and press Ctrl + C to copy it to your PC’s clipboard.
  2. Open the Windows Run box, type Shell:Programs in the dialog box and select OK.

Insert alternative %AppData%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs in the Run box and select OK.

  1. The command opens the folder containing the Start Menu shortcuts in Windows. Paste the file shortcut you copied (in step 2) into the Program Files (or Start Menu) folder.

Every file shortcut in the program folder is automatically displayed in the start menu. The last step is to pin the file shortcut to the start menu.

  1. Open the Start menu and select All apps to open the list of all applications.
  1. Locate the file association in the list and right-click on it. Choose On Home to add the file shortcut to the start menu.

You should now see the file shortcut(s) in the Pinned section of your computer’s Start menu.

Method 2: The Windows Registry Hack

In this method, you first unlock the Pin to Start context menu option for files by using a registry hack. After that, you can right-click any shortcut and pin it to the Start menu.

Warning: Before proceeding, make sure to back up your Windows registry. The Windows registry contains a collection of sensitive files that help your computer run smoothly. Deleting important files (even accidentally) can damage your PC or some system functions.

Rather than editing the registry directly, we walk you through creating a special text file that registers the required registry changes for you.

  1. Open Notepad on your computer and paste the following code into a new document.

Windows registry editor version 5.00



  1. Choose file in the menu bar and select Save as (or press ctrl + change + S).
  1. Save the document as a registry file somewhere on your computer. Give it a name like PintoStartScreen.regchange the “Save as type” field to All filesand choose Save on computer.
  1. Open the file and select it OK in the registry editor popup.
  1. Choose OK.
  1. Then create a shortcut for the file that you want to pin to the Start menu. Right click on the file and select it create link.

On Windows 11, right-click the file, select Show more optionsand choose create link.

  1. Right-click the file shortcut and select it On Home.

Check the start menu for the pinned file associations.

Add website shortcut to Windows Start menu

Creating start menu shortcuts for frequently visited websites is easy. We’ll show you how to do it in Microsoft Edge and Google Chrome, but the methods for other browsers are similar. Make sure you are running the latest versions of these browsers on your computer.

Add website shortcuts from Microsoft Edge

Open the website or webpage that you want to pin to the Start menu and follow the steps below.

  1. Tap the Three dots menu icon in the upper right corner of the toolbar.
  1. Choose More tools.
  1. Choose On Home or Pin this page to Start– depending on the version of Microsoft Edge you have. A “Pin to taskbar” option also adds the website shortcut to the taskbar.
  1. Choose Yes in the confirmation prompt.

Check your PC’s Start menu or taskbar for the website shortcut.

Add website shortcuts from Google Chrome

  1. Open the website’s tab in Chrome. Choose menu icon Select in the top right corner More toolsand choose create link.
  1. Rename the shortcut – if you like – and select Create.
  1. Chrome creates a shortcut for the website in the desktop folder. Right-click on the desktop shortcut and select it On Home.

Customize the Windows 11 Start Menu

There are two sections in the Windows Start menu: pinned and Recommended Contents. Windows displays a balanced number of pinned and recommended items. However, if you have too many shortcuts in the start menu, they will be moved to a second page in the pinned section.

Scrolling through multiple pages can be time consuming. Therefore, we recommend customizing how many pinned shortcuts and recommended content Windows shows in the Start menu.

Go to settings > personalization > beginning and select More pens to have more shortcuts in the start menu of your PC.

This tutorial on how to customize the Windows Start menu will show you how to personalize the Start menu interface.

Pin shortcuts for quick access

Shortcuts you add to the Start menu are only available to you (or your user account). To make an app or file shortcut available to all users, paste it to the public desktop (C:\Users\Public\Desktop) folder. Then log in to the user account and add the start menu shortcut manually.

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