How to create a desktop shortcut for a Windows 10 Universal app

Universal apps shortcuts in Windows 10

While Windows 8.1 brought the ability to pin Universal apps to the taskbar, users still could not move those app links to the desktop as shortcuts. Something really simple that users got accustomed on every version of Windows.

In Windows 10 things are changing in a big way and yes, you can now have Universal apps shortcuts on the desktop. You can now easily create an app shortcut by dragging and dropping a Live Tile to the desktop (when you’re doing this action, you’ll notice a small tooltip indicating the action “Create link in Desktop”), and it also works when dragging a Universal app tile from the All Apps list to the desktop.

And like any other shortcut, you can select them and hit F2 to rename to a more descriptive name, instead of the “Mail – Shortcut”, just as an example. What was interesting is that while digging in to the shortcut properties, you cannot see the Universal app path. You’ll only see the target type that reads something similar to this: Microsoft.BingNews_xxxxxxxxxxxxx!AppNews, instead of the more traditional C:\Program Files\appName\app.exe which you can’t change.

Windows 10 apps path

The shortcuts for Universal apps are plain and simple, don’t expect any fancy graphics, they are white small with transparent background.

Universal apps shortcuts in the desktop

It only makes sense, Universal apps – formerly known as Windows Store apps, Metro apps, and modern apps – no longer are full screen apps, now they float freely in desktop environment having a consistent experience like if they belong and they play very well when working with traditional applications. As such having the ability to access Universal apps from the Start menu, taskbar, and desktop is an obvious decision.

Windows 10 Start menu and apps shortcuts

Lastly, when using snapping with Universal apps and a traditional applications you’ll notice that you’re not taken away from one experience to another, everything happens in the desktop. Of course, whenever you feel to stretch an app to fill up the screen, you can access the Charms menu from the top-left corner of the app and choose the Fullscreen option. Though, in Windows 10 Technical Preview, you can’t use snap.

Two apps snapped in Windows 10

About the author

Mauro Huculak is a Windows How-To Expert who started Pureinfotech in 2010 as an independent online publication. He has also been a Windows Central contributor for nearly a decade. Mauro has over 14 years of experience writing comprehensive guides and creating professional videos about Windows and software, including Android and Linux. Before becoming a technology writer, he was an IT administrator for seven years. In total, Mauro has over 20 years of combined experience in technology. Throughout his career, he achieved different professional certifications from Microsoft (MSCA), Cisco (CCNP), VMware (VCP), and CompTIA (A+ and Network+), and he has been recognized as a Microsoft MVP for many years. You can follow him on X (Twitter), YouTube, LinkedIn and Email him at [email protected].