Pin Website Shortcuts to the Windows 10 Start Screen

If you’ve been using desktop shortcuts to open your favorite websites, you can instead pin those websites to the Windows 10 Start menu to make your desktop clutter-free.

Moreover, pinning websites to the Start screen helps you get to those sites quickly especially when your Windows 10 device is in Tablet mode, where the Start screen occupies the full screen, covering your desktop. You can pin website shortcuts to the Windows 10 Start screen using four different ways.


  1. Pinning Websites to Start, using Microsoft Edge
  2. Pinning Website Shortcuts (.URLs) to Start, via All apps menu
  3. Pinning Website Shortcuts (.URLs) to Start, via the Context menu
  4. Pin Website shortcuts (as app), using Google Chrome

Pinning websites to Start – Using Microsoft Edge

Microsoft Edge has a built-in option to pin the current webpage to the Windows 10 Start screen. Start Microsoft Edge and visit the website whose shortcut you want to pin to Start.

Click the hub icon (with three dots) on the top right corner, and click Pin this page to Start. Click Yes when prompted.


pin website to start

The website is now pinned to Start. Note that clicking this shortcut opens the site using Microsoft Edge, no matter what your default browser is — as Edge doesn’t pin it as a standard URL file, nor does the system use the http or https protocol association settings to launch that shortcut.

pin website to start

Pinning Website Shortcuts (.URLs) to Start

Create a regular .URL shortcut for the website you’re going to pin. To create a website shortcut on your desktop, visit the website using any browser other than Edge, such as Internet Explorer, Chrome or Firefox.

Visit the website in Internet Explorer, right-click on the web page and click Create shortcut. This method is preferred as the site’s favicon gets stored in the URL.

pin website to start

If using Chrome, Firefox or any other browser, you can drag the site icon (favicon) located near the address bar and to the desktop.

pin website to start

Dragging the address bar favicon works in Internet Explorer as well. However, when using this method in Internet Explorer, it creates a “Pinned Site shortcut” (.website) file on your desktop, instead of the standard Internet Shortcut. The special site shortcut (.website) launches the website using Internet Explorer instead of your default browser.

Or, right-click on the desktop, click New > Shortcut and type in the website address, such as:

These two methods won’t save the favicon. You need to manually download the favicon and apply it to the URL, using the Change icon option in Properties.

Then, open the following folder which stores your Start menu shortcuts:

%AppData%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs

Move the URL file you created on the desktop, to the above folder.

pin website to start

Click Start and scroll down the All apps listing until you see the newly created website shortcut.

pin website to start

Right-click on the shortcut and click Pin to Start.

pin website to start

That’s it. The website is now pinned to Windows 10 Start, along with the site’s favorite icon.

Pinning Website Shortcuts (.URL) from the Context menu

Apply the registry tweak as in article Pin any file to Windows 10 Start Menu Using a Registry Tweak. The registry tweak adds a Pin to Start option for all file types, including website shortcuts having the “.URL” extension.

Create a site shortcut on the desktop, and change the icon as desired. Move the shortcut to the Start menu – Programs folder.

%AppData%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs

pin website to start

Right-click on it and click Pin to Start.

This method is almost the same as the 2nd method — only differing in how you Pin the shortcut to the Windows 10 Start screen.

Pin Website shortcuts (as app) Using Google Chrome

Open Google Chrome and navigate to the website you want to add as an app.

At the top right, click the more button which is denoted by 3 horizontal lines, click More tools and click Add to Desktop

pin website to start

This adds the website shortcut (as an app) to the desktop. Right-click on the shortcut and click Pin to Start.

Note that this method creates a regular .lnk shortcut pointing to Chrome.exe followed by a unique app identifer which only Chrome can recognize. The shortcut target looks like this:

chrome.exe  --profile-directory=Default --app-id=fofedppdknnjehojgmchnadkenhjkcdb

Needless to say, clicking this shortcut or the Start menu item launches the website using Google Chrome.

Quick Tip #1: You may apply the Google Chrome Start menu icon fix as in article Google Chrome Start Screen Tile Icon Large (Fix), to get rid of the black background behind the Chrome icon.

Quick Tip #2: You can still use your preferred keyboard hotkeys for your website shortcuts, even if you’ve moved them to the Start menu\Programs folder per the steps in Method 2 and 3.

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That’s it. Do you have any other trick up your sleeve to pin site shortcuts to Windows 10 Start? Let’s know in the “Comments” section below.

About the author

Ramesh Srinivasan founded back in 2005. He is passionate about Microsoft technologies and he has been a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) for 10 consecutive years from 2003 to 2012.

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