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How to Add program shortcut to start menu

How to Add program shortcut to start menu.

The Windows Start menu is the central area for launching applications, searching for content, and performing other system actions. It has a place to “pin” frequently used items for quick access, including shortcuts to apps, files, folders, and websites.

This guide shows you how to add shortcuts to the Windows 11 and 10 Start Menu. We used a Windows 11 PC in this guide, but the steps apply to Windows 10 devices as well.

Pin Apps or App Shortcuts to the Start Menu

If the application shortcut or executable (.exe) is on the desktop, right-click it and select Pin to Start.

You can also add an item to the start menu from File Explorer. Open the folder containing the application, right-click the EXE file, and select Pin to Start.

You can add application shortcuts to the Windows Start menu from the Start menu itself. This method is handy if you can’t find the app on the desktop or File Explorer. A good use for this would be to add shortcuts to frequently used system utilities (such as task manager or control panel).

Click the Start button or the Windows key and type the name of the app in the search bar. Select Pin to Home under 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 the folder and select Pin to Start.

Add a File to Windows Start Menu

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

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

Method 1: File Explorer hack

First create a shortcut to the file. Open File Explorer, right-click an item and select Create Shortcut.

If your computer is running Windows 11, right-click the file, select Show advanced options, and select Create shortcut.

Clue. There is a faster way to create shortcuts for a file. Press and hold the Alt key, then drag the file to the same folder or to a different location. This will create a shortcut to the file in the destination folder.

Select the new shortcut and press Ctrl + C to copy it to your PC’s clipboard.Open the Windows Run window, type shell:programs in the dialog box and click OK.

Alternatively, paste %AppData%MicrosoftWindowsStart MenuPrograms into the Run box and click OK.

The command will open the folder that contains the Start Menu shortcuts in Windows. Paste the copied file shortcut (in step 2) into your Programs folder (or Start menu folder).

Any file shortcut in the Programs folder will automatically appear in the Start menu. The final step is to pin the file shortcut to the Start menu.

Open the Start menu and select All Apps to open a list of all apps.

Locate and right-click the file shortcut in the list. Select Pin to Start to add a shortcut to the file to the Start menu.

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

Method 2: Hacking the Windows Registry

In this method, you will first unlock the “Pin to Start” context menu item for files using a registry hack. You will then be able to right-click any shortcut and pin it to the start menu.

Warning. Before proceeding, make sure you back up your Windows Registry. The Windows registry stores a collection of delicate files that help keep your computer running smoothly. Deleting important files (even accidentally) can break your computer or some system functions.

We will not edit the registry directly, but will create a special text file that will register the necessary changes in the registry for you.

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

Windows Registry Editor version 5.00



Select “File” from the menu bar and choose “Save As” (or press Ctrl + Shift + S).

Save the document as a registry file anywhere on your computer. Give it a name, such as PintoStartScreen.reg, change the File Type field to All Files, and select Save.

Open the file and select OK in the Registry Editor popup.

Click OK.

After that, create a shortcut for the file you want to pin to the start menu. Right-click the file and select Create Shortcut.

In Windows 11, right-click the file, select Show advanced options, and select Create Shortcut.

Right-click the file’s shortcut and select Pin to Start.

Check the Start menu for file shortcuts attached.

Add Website Shortcut to Windows Start Menu

It’s easy to create Start menu shortcuts for frequently visited websites. We’ll show you how to do this in Microsoft Edge and Google Chrome, but the methods for other browsers are similar. Make sure you have the latest versions of these browsers installed on your computer.

Add website shortcuts from Microsoft Edge

Open the website or web page you want to pin to the Start menu and follow these steps.

Tap the three-dot menu icon in the top right corner of the toolbar.

Select More Tools.

Select “Pin to Start” or “Pin this page to Start” depending on your version of Microsoft Edge. The “Pin to taskbar” option also adds a shortcut to the website to the taskbar.

Select Yes in the confirmation prompt.

Check your PC’s start menu or taskbar for a website shortcut.

Add website shortcuts from Google Chrome

Open a website tab in Chrome. Click the menu icon in the upper right corner, select More Tools and select Create Shortcut.

Rename the shortcut if you like and click Create.

Chrome will create a shortcut to the website in a folder on your desktop. Right-click the desktop shortcut and select Pin to Start.

Customize Windows 11 Start Menu

The Windows Start Menu has two sections: Pinned and Recommended Content. Windows displays a balanced number of pinned and recommended items. However, if there are too many shortcuts in the Start menu, they are moved to the second page in the pinned section.

Scrolling through multiple pages can take a long time. Therefore, we recommend adjusting the number of pinned shortcuts and the amount of recommended content that Windows shows in the Start menu.

Go to Settings > Personalization > Start and select More Pins to have more shortcuts on your PC’s Start menu.

Check out this Windows Start Menu Customization Guide to learn how to personalize your Start menu experience.

Pin Shortcuts for Quick Access

The shortcuts you add to the Start Menu are only available to you (or your user account). To make an application or file shortcut available to all users, paste it in the Shared Desktop folder (C:UsersPublicDesktop). After that, sign in to your user account and manually add the shortcut to the start menu.

How to Add program shortcut to start menu

How to Add program shortcut to start menu

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