Windows 10: Pin shortcuts to Start Menu

Updating 6/4/2018:

Since this was written at the launch of Windows 10, Start menu has continued to evolve and customization and management has evolved as well.  There are special cases around multiple links to the same .exe, differences in browser behaviors and rules around other types of links.  (meaning this blog post might not always work depending on several variables) The best resources for customizing Start is found here:

The content team has been awesome at keeping this up to date with every feature upgrade and changes we make are usually added the same day.


(Original post 10/6/2015)

Here's a quickie!

Do you have specific files you use often? Websites? Or prefer the website to the App? Or maybe have an internal website that you can never remember the URL?  Do you want to pin this to the Start Menu in Windows 10?

First - there is a quick solution when using the new Edge browser.  Visit the site, click on the "…" and select Pin to Start. It's that easy.

But for files or website that you want to open in IE, we need a shortcut.  First, I'll step through how to do this from scratch. Later show how you can do this with existing items.


Step 1

Right click on the desktop and select New -> Shortcut

Type in the URL for your site:

And a friendly name:

Now you should see the generic Shortcut on the desktop. (you can customize the Icon for the shortcut if you'd like here but not required)


Step 2

Go to Run (right click on Start and select Run)

Type in %appdata%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\

And hit enter.  A Windows explorer folder should open to that location.

You can drag the newly create shortcuts to the folder. Or you can create a subfolder under Programs

Copying the links to the root Start Menu folder will mean that items show up on the All Apps list, If its in a subfolder under Programs you will find the shortcuts in that subfolder on All Apps.  Depends on how OCD you want to be with shortcuts.


Step 3

Now open the Start Menu and scroll down the All Apps view. You should see your shortcuts listed here.

From here you can right click and select "Pin to Start"

Once on the Start you can resize between Small and Large.

Existing Links

If you have existing IE favorites that you want on Start you can just copy the link file from Favorites folder (%userprofile%\Favorites) to %appdata%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\

Here's a mix of links I've added, two from Edge and the rest from shortcut links.

More information:

Collapse the table of content

Expand the table of content

Start layout for Windows 10 desktop editions

Customize the Windows 10 Start screen

Customize Windows 10 Start with Group Policy