How can I add command line options to an executable in a shortcut in Windows XP?

For example in the shortcut properties in target I have:


I want to add some options:

"c:\path\to\exe\program.exe -option1 -option2"

However when I do this I get an error saying that the name specified in the target box is not valid.


4 Answers 4


Have you tried to add in the Target field

"c:\path\to\exe\program.exe" -option1 -option2

Only the program path and name need to be enclosed in quotes.

  • 1
    Windows 7 strips the quotes and expands known executable paths. If you're trying to run CMD builtins (like piping) from a link, see superuser.com/questions/1089922/…
    – handle
    Jun 16, 2016 at 8:50
  • 1
    Is there a list of all the possible arguments somewhere? Mar 13, 2017 at 23:35
  • 2
    @Hashim: "all the possible arguments" to what, cmd.exe? Here's a link to those.
    – martineau
    Oct 13, 2017 at 22:46
  • All the arguments/options that it's possible to pass to a program you want to run. Oct 13, 2017 at 22:49
  • Also: Watch out for non-printable characters from copy-pasting. If the Target does not work for some reason, just make sure all "space" characters are actual spaces and not something else.
    – Niko Fohr
    Apr 7 at 14:52

Place the switches after the quotes.

Only the program path is kept in quotes due to spaces in the path. Something like My Documents will not resolve properly due to the space between the words, so quotes are needed. This is also why you probably won't find a program with multi-word switches (that are seperate) such as --example switch. You will usually see something like --example-switch instead because a space constitutes a separate program argument.

  • Is there a list of all the possible arguments somewhere? Mar 13, 2017 at 23:35
  • @Hashim- The arguments would depend upon the program the shortcut is linking to. Check the documentation for your program to discover what arguments it will accept. Apr 28, 2017 at 20:25

Your quotes are in the wrong place. The quotes only go around individual paths. So move your ending quote back to the end of program.exe and leave -option1 -option2 outside of the quotes.


You can also use shortcuts for direct access to a folder or a website.




"C:\Program Files (x86)\Internet  Explorer\iexplore.exe" "https://www.theguardian.com/world"

I use quotes around both arguments.
I am using these because Win10 seems to lose the start menu from time to time.

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