Windows 8 offers easy options to place a tile on the Start screen, “Pin to Start”, and to put an icon on the desktop taskbar, “Pin to taskbar”, but the method to create a desktop shortcut is not obvious at all. Here is how you can quickly put a shortcut icon on your Windows 8 desktop for any installed desktop program. This does not work for the Windows 8 style apps that only run in the non-desktop environment.
Press the Windows logo key to open the Start screen. Right-click on an empty space and click All apps in the bar at the bottom.
Find the program – you may have to scroll – and right-click its tile.
Now you get the options on the bottom for a number of tasks. Click Open file location (see the red arrows in the illustration). This switches you to the desktop and opens File Explorer. The shortcut location for the program will already be selected. Right-click on the program name, move the pointer down to Send to then horizontally over to the sub-menu and down to Desktop (create shortcut). Click that.
That’s it. You will now have a desktop shortcut for that program on the desktop. You can position it as you like. The shortcut works as expected, double-click it to open the program.
© 2012 Ludwig Keck
For users of Windows 7 and Internet Explorer 9 it is easy to pin a Hotmail icon to the taskbar or to create a link on the desktop. This makes access to online mail just a click or two away.
Using Internet Explorer 9 sign in to your Hotmail account. Move the pointer to the small icon in front of the web address in the address field. Note the little message balloon that says: “Drag to taskbar to pin site”.
As you drag the – now larger – icon across an empty space on your desktop the message now says: “Create link in Desktop”. You can do that by just dropping the icon on an empty spot. This gives you a desktop shortcut.
If you continue the drag to the taskbar, the message now says “Pin to Taskbar”. Just drop it on the taskbar.
The desktop shortcut when double-clicked starts your browser and takes you right to your Windows Live home page (if you selected “Keep me signed in” when last you signed in to your account).
When the icon on the taskbar is clicked it also takes you to your Windows Live home page. Right-click the taskbar icon and the jump list shows the options Home, Inbox, Calendar, Contacts, Send email. This makes getting to those services really easy.
There is another little feature that you might find useful. When you launch your browser from the taskbar or the desktop link, a small icon is placed in front of the Internet Explorer 9 “back” button and the little “home” icon on the right is removed.
The message balloon for that link also shows you the keyboard shortcut method for getting to your home page, Alt+Home. So, wherever to roam to on the Internet, you can get right back to your Windows Live home page.
© 2011 Ludwig Keck