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Is there a way to configure Windows 7 search (on the Start menu -- the "Search Programs and Files" field) to treat files of type ".url" as "Programs"?

The reason I ask -- I want to be able to enter the filename of a ".url" file in that field (without the ".url" extension), and then be able to run it by simply hitting enter, just as this can be done for files of type ".exe", ".lnk", and others. (The behavior for the ".url" file would be to open the target URL in my default web browser.)

Currently, Windows 7 search finds my ".url" file, but it categorizes it as a "File" rather than as a "Program" -- and therefore I have to arrow key down to that search result instead of being able to simply hit Enter.

Update: Currently I have my .url files placed into a directory called C:\utility\shortcuts, which I have manually added to my %PATH% (via the normal means, in System Properties). I could locate them elsewhere if it would make a difference, though.

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Where are the .url files located? All of the .url files in my Start Menu directory show up under Programs in the Start menu search. – Patches Apr 3 '11 at 23:10
you might want to give this a shot you can add website shortcuts into it. – Arctor Apr 3 '11 at 23:20
Argh. There's a way to do this, I just know it. I don't know why I can't think of it right now! – Iszi Apr 15 '11 at 19:38
@00101010 - Thanks for the suggestion. I'm familiar with "launcher" programs like SlickRun and Launchy; I actually use SlickRun heavily on my Windows XP PC at work. The goal behind this question, however, is to see if I can configure Windows 7 to itself meet my requirements as a "launcher" -- that is, to be able to run various programs and open various URLs by typing in a keyword and hitting Enter -- without needing to install 3rd-party software for this purpose. – Jon Schneider May 12 '11 at 19:05
@Jon: It's the Start Menu directory, not the Program Files directory. I'll post specifics as an answer. – Patches May 16 '11 at 5:06
up vote 3 down vote accepted

For .url files (or any other shortcut) to appear under Programs in the Windows Start Menu search, they need to be located somewhere in the Start Menu directory (which means they'd appear under All Programs).

The easiest way to access the Start Menu directory is to right-click on All Programs in the Start Menu and choose Open. (Alternatively, choose Open All Users to make it appear as a search result for all user accounts on the system, not just the one you're currently logged into. Administrative privileges are required in this instance.) You can then put them wherever you like in that directory.

The actual location on disk on default Windows configurations is C:\Users\<USERNAME>\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu for the per-user directory or C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu for the systemwide directory.

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this worked! I created a folder called shortcuts under Start Menu\Programs and put my website.url file in there, and I can now just type website (without the trailing ".url") at the "Search Programs and Files" field and hit Enter to launch the website in a new tab in my default browser. Thank you! :-) – Jon Schneider May 18 '11 at 2:30

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