StartPanelLinks specifies shortcuts to display on the Start menu. Up to four shortcuts to recently opened programs can be specified.

OEMs can prepopulate the recently-opened programs list with shortcuts to preinstalled applications, as specified in their OEM License Requirements and in the Customizations Guidelines section of the Windows OPK User's Guide.

Each of the settings under StartPanelLinks specifies the complete path and the file name of a shortcut file (with a .lnk file name extension) on the destination computer.

The link path must refer to a .lnk file in one of the following locations.

  • The All Users desktop directory.
    For example: %ALLUSERSPROFILE%\Desktop
  • The All Users Start menu:
    For example: %ALLUSERSPROFILE%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs

Note You can use environment variables such as %ALLUSERSPROFILE% as part of the path.

You can also use a link path to refer to a .lnk file located in one of the following locations. (However, unless you know the name of the user accounts to be configured on the computer, the end user will not be able to use these options.)

  • A user-specific desktop directory.
    For example: %USERPROFILE%\Desktop.
  • A user-specific Programs directory or one of its subdirectories.
    For example: %USERPROFILE%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\StartMenu\Programs

The link path is not a path to an application (.exe). Instead, the location of the corresponding .exe file is specified in the shortcut itself.

Sysprep adds these links to the recently-opened programs list on the Start menu.

Certain programs cannot be added to the most frequently-used links. For a list of these programs, see this Microsoft Web site.

This setting has no effect on Server Core installations of Windows Server 2008.

Child Elements


Specifies the path to the shortcut to the first link.


Specifies the path to the shortcut to the second link.


Specifies the path to the shortcut to the third link.


Specifies the path to the shortcut to the fourth link.

Valid Passes




Parent Hierarchy

Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setup | StartPanelLinks

Applies To

For the list of the supported Windows editions and architectures that this component supports, see Microsoft-Windows-Shell-Setup.

XML Example

The following XML output shows how to set a shortcut for Notepad and a shortcut to FreeCell.

   <Link0>%USERPROFILE%\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Accessories\Notepad.lnk</Link0>
   <Link1>%ALLUSERSPROFILE%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Games\Freecell.lnk</Link1>

See Also