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.

  • Works, thanks! That is the power of superuser.com. Its faster than trying to google an answer. Aug 25, 2009 at 17:39
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    @KarlVoigtland Actually, the power of SU is that it often provides the best answer as the first search result when you do Google it. May 6, 2013 at 14:06
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    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
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    Is there a list of all the possible arguments somewhere? Mar 13, 2017 at 23:35
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    @Hashim: "all the possible arguments" to what, cmd.exe? Here's a link to those.
    – martineau
    Oct 13, 2017 at 22:46

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.

  • Can't believe I got an answer in before you Aug 25, 2009 at 17:41
  • I was answering a second question when my program went off, this one seemed easier but I was too late :(
    – John T
    Aug 25, 2009 at 18:02
  • 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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