Have you ever needed to create a desktop shortcut to a program? Maybe you had one and it disappeared (somehow) or perhaps the install program simply didn’t put an icon on the desktop. Who knows, maybe the one you have on your desktop has been clicked so many times it’s just worn out and needs to be replaced with a spiffy new model (just kidding).
There are three common ways to create desktop shortcuts—the quick way, the easy way and the techy way.
Most programs have a shortcut under the Start Menu, Programs (it’s rare to find one that doesn’t). Head to the program shortcut (the same way you would if you were launching it). Instead of left clicking it to run, right-click and scroll down to “Send To” then “Desktop”. This will automatically create a ashortcut on your desktop.
With this method you will also go to Start Menu, Programs and head over to the program shortcut. Instead of left clicking it to run, right-click and drag it to the desktop. Once you’re hovering over the desktop, release the mouse button and a little menu will pop up.
Choose the “copy here” option and you’ll have a shiny new shortcut, just waiting to be clicked.
Quick note—I know that some of you may be wondering why you don’t just left-click and drag to the desktop. Although you can, that action will re-locate the icon, not copy it. It will no longer be available under your Start Menu, Programs. Hence the right-click draggin’ trick.
This way is a little more difficult, but it does come in handy if for some reason you don’t have a shortcut to a particular program in your Start menu, Programs area. As an added bonus, you can use this method to create shortcuts to documents, pictures, etc. For the steps below, we’ll assume you’re trying to create a shortcut to an actual program.
1. Right-click the Desktop and select New, Shortcut from the resulting menu.
2. A little wizard will pop up, asking you for the location of the file. You’re looking for the “executable” file, basically the one that makes the program run. You’ll probably want to head to the “C:\Program Files\” directory of your hard drive. If your C: drive isn’t shown when you hit the Browse button, find where “My Computer” is listed and double-click it.
Under “Program Files”, you’ll see lots of folders, look for the one your program is in.
3. After you locate the program’s executable file, double-click it and hit Next on the little wizard. You’ll be asked to name the shortcut. You can use the default name, but I would recommend putting in something more descriptive (usually the name is a little cryptic, like “Prgam.exe” or something).
4. Hit Finish and you’re all done.
Oh, as an alternative to using the Wizard, you can also locate the program’s “exe” file using My Computer or Explorer, then right-click and drag it to the desktop. Select “Make shortcuts here” from the resulting menu and it will create a shortcut. If you don’t like the default name Windows gives it, right-click and select Rename from the resulting menu.
There ya go—you’re a shortcut makin’ expert now.