6

Problem

If you create two shortcuts with the same target then only one of them is displayed in the Start Menu. This is true for:

  • search results within the Start menu
  • manually browsing program folders within the Start menu
  • pinned shortcuts within the Start menu

This is important because:

  • the shortcuts might have different settings defined in the Properties dialog, such as different compatibility settings, or be set to start in different directories.
  • some programs install a shortcut to a command prompt which is set to open in the program's installation folder. This enables easy access to the program from the command line without having to modify %PATH%, but it means that users who are unaware of this "lose access" to CMD. Programs that do this:

Things I've tried

  • Renaming shortcuts
    • Only the shortcut that comes first alphabetically is displayed
  • Using folders doesn't help
    • Only the shortcut in the folder that comes first alphabetically is displayed
  • Pinning shortcuts doesn't help
    • the pinned shortcut updates to point to the displayed shortcut

Steps to reproduce

Fully up-to-date Windows 10 Home.

  1. Start → search for "Command Prompt" (or "cmd").
  2. (Optional) Right-click on Command Prompt → Pin to Start.
    • This makes Command Prompt available when you open the Start menu without searching for anything.
  3. Right-click on Command Prompt → Open file location
    • This opens a File Explorer window in %APPDATA%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\System Tools
  4. Copy the Command Prompt shortcut and rename the copy "AAA Command Prompt"
    • This ensures it appears before Command Prompt when files are listed alphabetically.
  5. (Optional) Right-click on the new AAA Command Prompt shortcut → Properties
    • Change something. (E.g. set the "Start in" directory to a different location, such as C:\)

Notice that it is now not possible to access Command Prompt from the Start menu - it has been replaced with AAA Command Prompt everywhere. If you rename AAA Command Prompt to ZZZ Command Prompt then you get back the ordinary version and lose the customised version. Moving the shortcuts to different folders within %APPDATA%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\ doesn't help.


Any ideas?

4

A number of Windows 10 updates have caused issues with shortcuts, such as disabling the keyboard shortcuts to links and requiring links to be in specific locations, as well as this issue of allowing only a single target.

Though I know of no fix within Windows, some free third-party tools such as ClassicShell and Clavier+ provide a workaround. Because these tools' configurations can be saved or copied to new Windows installations and can easily be edited, I've come to prefer them to the native Window link files and keyboard shortcuts.

  • 1
    It's sad that functionality that should be properly handled by the OS is better handled by a third party. – Twisty Impersonator Dec 26 '17 at 23:11
  • 1
    @TwistyImpersonator, agreed! This functionality had been working, but is steadily being removed... idle speculation: perhaps to shift attention to paid Metro apps or to use of Cortana? BTW, Linux now offers keyboard shortcuts to apps and a Start-menu app, drawers. – DrMoishe Pippik Dec 27 '17 at 16:57
2

The method I used was to open up an Administrator: Command Prompt and create a symbolic link to cmd.exe and then create a shortcut to that symlink

(Administrator) C:\> cd \Windows\System32

(Administrator) C:\Windows\System32> mklink cmd_admin.exe cmd.exe
symbolic link created for cmd_admin.exe <<===>> cmd.exe

Once you have created the symbolic link, you can make a copy of the Command Prompt shortcut (in any folder) and name it whatever you want. Then follow these steps:

  1. right click on the shortcut and click on Properties at the bottom of the pop-up menu
  2. if it's not already selected, click on the Shortcut tab of the Properties window that just opened up
  3. change the Target: from %windir%\system32\cmd.exe to %windir%\system32\cmd_admin.exe and click the OK button to save your change
  4. (optional) you could make additional changes from the same Properties pop-up such as:
    • the Start in: location
    • make it an Administrator: Command Prompt by clicking on the Advanced button and then checking the Run as adminstrator checkbox
  • In Windows 10 creating symlinks no longer requires admin privileges. In previous versions admin privileges are required, but in that case you could create a hard link instead with mklink /H cmd_link.exe cmd.exe as that doesn't require admin privileges in any version of Windows. – HullCityFan852 May 11 at 22:06

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.