How to Add Shortcuts to “My Computer” in Windows

Ever since I’ve been exploring my first copy of Windows (Windows 98), I’ve been rather disappointed at the fact that I couldn’t place any shortcuts in the “My Computer” area. There’s so much real estate there that’s not being used. It’s natural to be able to add program shortcuts there. Microsoft didn’t think it was important, but it’s probably the first place you go to explore your hard drive, right? So, instead of shaking our fists at Microsoft’s headquarters, let’s discover a workaround to create a shortcut in “My Computer” that works with today’s most popular operating systems!

Your “Computer” window is designed in a way that makes it display certain things as long as it detects them. For example, your drives show up when they’re detected. The same thing happens with your network shortcuts and certain devices. Since the shortcut you want to make is most likely one that points to a program, you can’t have it pop up next to your devices. Either way, it’s impossible to add shortcuts to device categories. So now, you remain with network locations to deal with. All we need now is to find out how to make a shortcut within “Network Locations” that will show up properly in the “Computer” window.

1. Press “Win + R” on your keyboard. It will bring up a dialog where you can just run things by typing their locations. This is the simplest way to get to where you’re going. A viable alternative would be to open Windows Explorer and click at the end of the path on the address bar. You can type in a path there, too.

2. Type the following path: “%appdata%\microsoft\Windows\Network Shortcuts“. You may need to put quotation marks around the path to get this working properly. Press “Enter” when you’ve typed the path. Here’s the way I do it:

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3. When you arrive, right-click an empty area, hover your mouse over “New,” and then click “Shortcut.” If you know how to create a shortcut, just skip the rest of this article. You’re all set.

4. Browse for the location of the file you want to create a shortcut to. As I walk you through, I’ll be adding my installation of Battlefield 3.

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5. Click “Next,” and then name your shortcut.

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6. After clicking “Finish,” open your “Computer” window to see a nice surprise! In case you’re wondering how I got the little “™” in the name, just hold the “Alt” key while typing “0 1 5 3″ in sequence on your number pad. Let “Alt” go when you’re done, and that little trademark character appears. Neat, huh?

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The first time I figured this out, it was stunning. Hopefully, you’ll feel as accomplished after following this guide. Who knew that a simple shortcut could put a billboard in your “Computer” window? The most useful shortcuts to put here, I guess, would be useful programs like Process Explorer, Process Monitor, Network Monitor, GPU-Z, or any other diagnostic tool you have in your stash. This way, you can open them up just before exploring your hard drive, without cluttering your desktop with shortcuts (in case you’re as obsessed as I am in keeping your desktop “clean”).

If you find yourself stuck anywhere, leave a comment below and I’ll lend you a hand!