Helping people with computers... one answer at a time.

Adding shortcuts to your desktop for programs, documents or even specific web pages is very easy.

I was wondering if I can make Hotmail an icon on my desktop? If yes, how?

Sure! For the most part the desktop just holds shortcuts, and pretty much any shortcut will do.

And there's several ways to create them.

Right click on your desktop, and select "New Shortcut". Enter as the location of the item, hit next, give it a reasonable name (like "Hotmail"), and you're done.

It's just that easy.

If you like, you can then add that shortcut to your start menu as well. Click and hold on the desktop icon. Now drag it over the Start button. Don't let go, wait and the start menu will pop up. Drag the icon to a position on the menu and release. You could also hold it over a sub menu, wait for that to pop out, and then release in the position you would like it to live on that sub menu.

The reverse works as well... click and hold on a start menu item, drag it to your desktop and release. The shortcut will be removed from the menu and appear on your desktop. If you want the shortcut to remain in both places, hold down the CTRL key before you drop the icon on the desktop.

Shortcuts can be created for programs, as you probably already know, and URLs, as we just showed. You can also create shortcuts for any document or file that Windows knows how to handle: for example ".doc" files, ".mp3" files and others.

Article C2335 - April 19, 2005 « »

Leo Leo A. Notenboom has been playing with computers since he was required to take a programming class in 1976. An 18 year career as a programmer at Microsoft soon followed. After "retiring" in 2001, Leo started Ask Leo! in 2003 as a place for answers to common computer and technical questions. More about Leo.

Not what you needed?

Brian Turner
May 15, 2005 10:51 AM


I found this earlier today, I've tried it and it works

October 13, 2005 12:28 AM

If you already have an IE window open and you click the shorcut, it will take over that window. Can we make it to open another window?

Addie T. VanMatre
November 13, 2005 8:12 AM

I'm sorry Leo, but your article did not help me. I tried the first suggestion by clicking right, etc, naming my desktop item as hotmail, but it refused to acknowledge it. The icon that I want is the icon, which is not located in the box when I click on start. I do have free, but it isn't even located at the bottom right side of icons that are already there. I recently had my computer repaired, and before that, the butterfly icon did show in both the start box and at the bottom right had corner. And I also have my account which I can only get to by putting into the address bar. I don't understand what happened. Can you help me?

November 13, 2005 8:04 PM

I'm sorry, but I can't understand what steps you actually took, so I can't tell what happened. I do know that the steps in the article do work, because I did it before publishing the article. What do you mean by "refused to acknowledge it"? Was there an error message, and if so what, exactly, was it?

it didn't help
November 27, 2005 1:58 PM

I'm sorry Leo, but this isn't what I was looking for. You should name this page "Can I make a desktop item for a web page shortcut?". I was looking for a precedure to make an icon.

Bottom line: You should name your pages more appropriately.

December 24, 2005 11:53 AM

thanks very simple to follow insructions much needed for a newby like myself

shrawan kumar
December 29, 2005 4:19 AM

this artical helped me.. thanks.. but i wanted to knew more in this issue only. when i do the double-clik on the shorctut created by your procedure it opens in the existing opended webpages. that i don't want. i want to open the shorcurt in a new page. Thanks in advance. Regards. shrawan kumar.

December 31, 2005 11:40 AM

i used your method described above to make a shortcut to my works.....but it opens in Internet there any way to have it open in MSN explorer which I like to use....Thanx....keep up the good work....aardee

Leo A. Notenboom
December 31, 2005 5:31 PM

To be honest, I'm not sure. I don't know the command line for the MSN browser... if you right click on the MSN Browser Icon and select "Properties", it may include a command line as the "Target". You can try creating a new shortcut, with that followed by a space and the URL you want the shortcut to refer to. Let me know if that works.

March 15, 2006 5:43 PM

How do you/I get the little thumbnail pictures on the desktop? Is there an ICON Folder somewhere? Sometimes I get the little icon pictures, other times I just get the shortcut with the IE blue E. Can an ICON thumbnail picture be created or copied? Thanks,

April 26, 2006 5:22 AM

this page is the most helpful I have found so far, I need to make a desktop icon suitbale for a mac and PC that links straight to my web page. I want to be able to put this onto disc so I can send it out to people to just drag onto their desktop or install. Any suggestions on where I start looking or how I do it?

August 8, 2006 4:47 PM

I created a shortcut as you instructed. Now I want to use a different icon for the shortcut. How?

September 28, 2006 2:21 AM

Hi Leo, I can get the shortcut to appear on my desktop, but when I click on it I get the error message which says 'this file does not have a program associated with it. Create an association in the Folders Option control panel.' I have tried going in to Folder Options, but I can not find the relevant section ???? I am running windows XP. Steve

December 26, 2006 10:14 PM

I clicked on my desktop, but could not find "new shorcut",only shortcut comes on, and that does not work

Leo Notenboom
December 26, 2006 10:25 PM

**Right** click.

January 8, 2007 9:23 PM

To those who keep asking how to create a custom icon to go with your new shortcut:

1. Using a graphics editing program resize the image you want to use to 32x32 and save it to a directory you won't forget. Most important, make sure to save the image as a .ico file. Google for graphics software that can do it - lots of free ones out there.

2. Next, right click your new shortcut and select "Properties". You'll see an option to "Change Icon". Simply browse to where your .ico is. That's it.

February 12, 2007 11:33 AM

You are amazing. I did exactly what you said about adding shortcut for hotmail and now I the icon on my desktop and it works. Thans sooooooo much.

john foster
May 11, 2007 7:14 AM

hi, i no you can get an icon the way you sugested but how do you get that web pages logo regards john

Gail E Cristofaro
July 10, 2007 11:01 AM

I'm looking for the answer to a question asked about the article above ...what to do when i get this message and can't open? "File does not have a folder associated with it...create??"

July 17, 2007 6:58 AM

Hi Leo, When I click some shortcuts on my desktop that take me to a web site, I get the error message which says - "This file does not have a program associated with it for performing this action. Create an association in the Folders Option control panel." Other desktop icons such as IE, open fine. I have tried many things to resolve this including renewing the icon, but I still have the problem. I am running windows XP. I see that this question has been asked before, it must be a common problem. Thanks, Chuck

February 1, 2008 6:16 AM

When I try to change the icon for a web page on my desktop, it changes and within a second changes back to the standard icon. All other types of icons can be changed with no problem. Is there a setting than can be disabled to allow me to change it?

Joe Shipta
February 19, 2008 5:37 AM

Hi Leo, When I click my shortcuts on my desktop that take me to a web site, I get the error message which says - "This file does not have a program associated with it for performing this action. Create an association in the Folders Option control panel." Other desktop icons such as IE, open fine. I can open my web shortcuts in Windows Explorer but not on my desktop. I have tried many things to resolve this including renewing the icon, making new shortcuts, but I still have the problem. I am running windows XP. I see that this question has been asked before, it must be a common problem. Do you have any solutions? Thanks, Joe

David J
March 14, 2008 7:40 AM

If I try to drag a shortcut off of IE7 favorites onto my desktop iget the same error "This file does not have a program associated with it for performing this action. Create an association in the Folders Option control panel". I have associated the file type to open with IE7. Other shortcuts work just not the new ones that I am trying to create. The favorite works but not the shortcut. If I try right clicking a link and making a shortcut I get the same thing. The icon is made but I get the error when I try to use it. This just started after I installed firefox, didn't like firefox, so uninstalled it. I am running XP.

Stephen Mugford
July 23, 2008 6:33 AM

You little ripper! This is such a neat trick, thank you!!

Dan Morris
August 25, 2008 1:20 PM

Can I e-mail a desktop icon to someone that they can drag onto their desktop?

Rick Thompson
September 18, 2008 12:44 PM


Umberto Monti
September 25, 2008 7:43 AM

Thankyou very much! I only regret to have discovered the suggestion so late since I stayed long without visiting your page.

Rick Ketterman
October 8, 2008 1:18 PM

Using XP Prof, SP3 / Explorer 7 ....

When I try to change the Icon for a web link on my desktop, it changes and within a milli-second changes back to the standard default icon.
All other types of File Link Icons can be changed with no problem. Is there a setting than can be disabled to allow me to change it?

I don't see an answer for this in the article.
Can anyone help me ?

October 22, 2008 10:25 AM

Hi Leo, i keep trying to create a shortcut for some web pages on my desktop, when i click on it a message comes up saying "application not found" why is this do you know?

Thanks Leo

November 5, 2008 12:00 PM

leo your the man! youve been so much help to me, if it wasnt for you i wouldnt be where i am today. you have inspired me. keep up the great work and remain focused at the job at hand. peace and love, danny.

Tony Stygal
December 9, 2008 7:10 AM

How do I replace the Blue Ball in the Google Toolbar with the hotmail icon that google uses to illustrate?
I also have the same problem with the ebay icon.

January 15, 2009 11:26 AM

I got up today and most of my icons were gone. They were icons that I don't use that much, but I would like to know where they went and how do I get them back. I can still go to my start menu and click to bring up what I am looking for, but I prefer my icons...especially my games. Can you help?

January 27, 2009 6:09 PM

what if i want to create a shortcut to a web page, but opened with a browser that is not my default web browser? I want to open a web page with IE, my main web browser is mozilla firefox

February 1, 2009 5:20 AM

Can I create a web address shortcut on IE7 like I can on Mozilla?

March 22, 2009 12:14 PM

How can I create a desktop icon from a picture or clipart and assign it a url link. It must also be transferable to another computer by email so that it still opens the webpage on the second computer. Thanks! EEG

May 2, 2009 1:15 PM

I get how to change an icon but how do you keep the logo of the original address on tyour desktop. It's on my toolbar but when I copy or drag it coverts to explorer icon. Ihave VIsta

Patricia Neyman
July 3, 2009 4:38 PM

Someone showed me once that you can create an ikon to any direction in the address bar by simply "grabbing" the little ikon in front of it and dragging it to the desktop. I use it all the time now.

August 5, 2010 3:47 PM

I am having trouble creating a shortcut icon from any website, could there be a setting in my computer that I need to change? I know how to create these shortcut, I do it all the time, however on my Mom's computer it won't let me create a shortcut from any website. It tells me there is no program association and I need to go into the folders options under control panel. I've looked all around there and can't see my solution.

Janet Gyford
November 17, 2010 4:39 PM

All the desktop and taskbar shortcuts which I get this way look the same, i.e. with the firefox icon. Is there a way to get the individual icon of the web site to come up, so I can tell which is which without hovering over them all to find the name ? Thanks

Velma Hazen
June 3, 2011 10:52 AM

I am trying to create an icon on my desktop for hotmail. Reading your article, I started by right-clicking on my desktop and I get nothing. I have Windows Vista and IE8. I am totally uptodate with Windows Updates. I have not installed IE9. Is there another way to get an icon for Hotmail on my desktop, please? Thanks

Mark J
June 3, 2011 2:12 PM

@ Velma
Try opening My Computer and navigate to the Desktop (Usually the Desktop link is near the top left of the My Computer screen) from there you can then right click and follow the procedure in the article. That might work.

July 26, 2012 11:18 AM

Thanks a lot! This worked like a charm. I am not a very skilled computer user, and your directions were easy to follow and now I have a new Clark Howard icon on my computer.

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