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I am using Windows 8 at the moment and I was wondering if there is a way to make a shortcut to a Modern UI (formerly known as Metro UI) application on my desktop.

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6 Answers

up vote 7 down vote accepted

As far as I know, there's no built-in way to do this. For the apps that come with Windows 8, you can use MetroApp Link; official website (in Italian) here. It doesn't currently support apps downloaded through the Store, though.

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Thanks just what I was looking for. –  Joel Dean Sep 26 '12 at 15:48
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Newer version (Now called ModernApp Link). –  Karan May 16 '13 at 23:39
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All Modern UI apps have a URL protocol associated with them which can be used to launch the app.
You can find find the protocol for a specific app like this:

  1. Press Windows+R
  2. Type regedit
  3. Navigate to HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Extensions\ContractId\Windows.Protocol\PackageId
  4. Find the subkey for your app (eg, AMZNMobileLLC.KindleforWindows8_1.1.0.0_neutral__stfe6vwa9jnbp)
  5. Within that subkey, go to ActivatableClassId_some long name_\CustomProperties
  6. The Name value will tell you the protocol name.

You can then make a shortcut to name://. (eg, kindle://)

Getting an icon is a little harder.
In the subkey directly under ActivatableClassId, you'll find a value named Icon, in the format @{AppIdentifier?ms-resource://AppName/Files/path/to/icon.png}. You'll find a PNG icon in C:\Program Files\WindowsApps\AppIdentifier\path/to/icon.png.
However, you'll need to convert this PNG to an ICO file to use in a shortcut.

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If people are interested, I can write a desktop app that will create shortcuts to arbitrary Modern UI apps, automating these steps. I'll do that if this answer gets 15 votes. –  SLaks Oct 31 '12 at 20:32
    
Brilliant! You get the bounty :) –  DzinX Oct 31 '12 at 21:46
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@SLaks you have my vote and I'll really love to see that desktop app. :) –  avirk Nov 6 '12 at 12:21
    
Amazing answer. I know that this is old, but did you ever maked that desktop app? –  Rotary Heart Apr 23 '13 at 14:30
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@SLaks - You have 15 votes –  Ramhound May 1 '13 at 15:20
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  1. Right click on your Desktop and select new->shortcut.
  2. When the dialog window opens enter %windir%\explorer.exe shell:::{4234d49b-0245-4df3-b780-3893943456e1} and name your application appropriately.
  3. Click on the icon your created and launch the Applications window.
  4. Select the Metro application to use.

Ref: http://forums.mydigitallife.info/threads/32777-Launch-Metro-Apps-Directly-from-Desktop

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That seems to create a shortcut to the Applications folder, whereas the OP wants to create a shortcut to a specific Metro app. –  Indrek Sep 24 '12 at 15:21
    
I suppose if he's open to installing software he could use MetroApp Link. –  에이바 Sep 24 '12 at 15:28
    
Thanks @AvaGailliot –  Joel Dean Sep 26 '12 at 15:49
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I have found out a solution myself and want to make the answer here to be complete. It's done by a piece of codes of C# and PowerShell by Tome Tanasovski posted at http://poshcode.org/3740 .

You don't have to understand the codes well to have it worked. The good thing is that I don't need to download some 3rd exe and it's programmable so that I can open up the calculator and PDF viewer with just a single hot key.

  1. Open up PowerShell command box, and simply paste all codes copied from the link above.

  2. Run

    Get-metroApp

  3. A list of AppUserModelId of some guessable app name is listed. E.g., I'm looking for Calculator. The AppUserModelId is "Microsoft.WindowsCalculator_8wekyb3d8bbwe!App". In the PowerShell command box, run

    start-metroApp Microsoft.WindowsCalculator_8wekyb3d8bbwe!App

Of course you won't like to invoke Calculator again like this. You can save the commands (not all of them, e.g., the part of function get-metroApp is not needed) to a .ps1 . A shortcut to this .ps1 can then be created to execute it. Finally, placing this shortcut to the start menu folder allows you to assign a hot-key for your app.

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You can launch them via powershell, eg

powershell.exe Start-MetroApp Microsoft.BingNews_8wekyb3d8bbwe!AppexNews
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Thanks for the clue though your solution is incomplete. –  chingNotCHing Feb 21 at 15:33
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just make a shortcut pointing to 'ms-mail://'. select icon is described above.

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