How to Create Shortcut Icons on Desktop in Windows 10

How to Create Shortcut Icons on Desktop - Windows 10 Tutorial

UPDATE: Microsoft has made creation of Desktop shortcuts to both traditional and modern-style “universal” apps in newer builds of Windows 10 much easier than described in the old version of this post. Now you just need to open the Start Menu (click on the Start button in the lower left corner), find the item you want to create a shortcut to and simply drag it and drop on the Desktop. It works for almost all items displayed on the Start Menu, including programs and features you can find on the main list (left part of the Start Menu) and tiles (right part of the Menu). Exceptions are the “Power” and “All apps” buttons, as well as folders.

Create Desktop Shortcut in Windows 10 - Drag and Drop App from Start Menu

Shortcut Icon Created

Make Desktop Shortcut to Folder, File, or Local Disk / Hard Drive Partition

To put a shortcut to a specific folder (Documents, Downloads, Pictures, etc) or file (i.e. report.docx, ebook.pdf…) do the following. Navigate to a folder or file using File Explorer (yellow folder icon on the Taskbar). Do a right-click on a desired item and on the menu click “Send to” > “Desktop (create shortcut)”. As for shortcuts to local disk / partitions (Local Disk C:, for instance), go to “This PC” in File Explorer, right-click on the desired local disk and click “Create shortcut” option on the Menu. A dialog box will appear saying “Windows can’t create shortcut here. Do you want the shortcut to be placed on the desktop instead?” Press the “Yes” button.

Shortcuts to Files and Folders

Desktop Icon Settings

Another feature worth mentioning regarding Desktop shortcuts is Desktop Icon Settings, which is an old Windows feature. If you type “Desktop Icon” in the Search field, a “Themes and related settings” option will appear in the results. Click it, and you’ll be presented with a Themes window with a link to Desktop icon settings. From there you can put and remove This PC, User’s Files, Network, Recycle Bin, and Control Panel icons.

Desktop Icon Settings in Windows 10

Have a comment, question, or user review? Share it with us in the comment section below.

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Danijel is a tech blogger who founded Laptoping in 2006. His specialty are Windows-based mobile PCs, from tablets and ultraportables to full blown gaming laptops.

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15 comments
  1. Am so happy happy with this, it works perfectly in my PC. Thank you so much…… I will have to contact you guys in the future if I have more problems.

  2. The idea I have seen posted to drag and drop onto your desktop to create a shortcut does not work, at least for me. The address will not drag.

  3. I used to be able to go to a login page on the internet, right click that, and the drop down menu had the option to “create shortcut”. But no longer. I switched to windows 10. All the help suggestions I’ve seen so far seem to be referring to searching for shortcuts within the computer, not on the internet.

    • Right on. I don’t want to make a short-cut of an APP on my desktop. I have an ancestry APP and I hate it, as it doesn’t work that good. I want the ability to make an ICON to quickly get to my account in the Ancestry.com via the Internet address. For me, ICONS work better, and they make it so I don’t have to type in the internet address, which I will continue to do, until I can figure out how to make the ICON short cuts.

  4. Hello

    How do I re-pin a icon to start menu? I think I must have un-pined a icon (not sure which) by mistake when exploring the new laptop,as I seem to have a blank box where there was once a icon – tried to undo whatever I unpinned but no luck! It is a icon in the second group of icons on right

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  6. When I’m on a website and want to create a shortcut to my Desktop or other file (like pictures or music), I right click and now only get these options:

    Select All
    Print
    ————
    Inspect Element
    View Source

    HOW DO I CREATE A SHORTCUT OF A WEBSITE? I find it absolutely amazing that anybody at Microsoft thought it was a good idea to remove this option. It’s just stupidity! Sheer lunacy to remove right-click tools!

    And for those of you who aren’t old enough to remember, Microsoft used to allow a massive number of right-click functions. Using their op-sys was easy, but for some unexplained reason they began systematically removing these functions. MS even bought out several Right-Click add-ons and then mothballed them so we couldn’t get a third party tool to do this.

    To be clear – right click works on *some websites, but not others (like Craigslist). Just insane that this is happening.

    • Hey from Germany, Mike? Did you ever get an answer to your website shortcut question? I’m curious also. Beats sitting around trying to come up with a method of killing the guy that invented Windows 10.
      Jerry

  7. I am trying to do a simple procedure and it does not work for me . I want to place my gmail icon on my desk top. I follow your instructions above and I can not find the gmail icon to drag it to the desk top. What am I doing wrong??

        • I assume you have already installed a Gmail app via Windows Store. After installation, you’ll have the app listed on the Start Menu, under All Apps. For instance I’ve installed Quick Gmail app. It showed up on the Start Menu / All Apps list under letter Q. Just dragged it to the desktop and the shortcut was created.

        • The trick is to LEFT click on the app and drag it to the desk top unlike previous Windows where you right clicked to drag.

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