How-To Geek

How to Pin Any File to the Start Screen in Windows 8


By default Windows 8 only allows you to pin a few file types to the Start Screen. Read on to find out how you can change that by editing the registry.

How to Pin Any File to the Start Screen in Windows 8

Press the Win + R keyboard combination to open a run box, then type notepad and press enter.


When notepad opens, paste the following into the new document:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00




Then click on the File menu item and select save as…


Before you go any further, change the Save as type to All Files.


Then give your file a name ending in .reg and click Save.



To use the hack, just double click on the .reg file you just created. When you are prompted about whether you want to continue, click Yes.


Now you can pin any file to the Start Screen.


Undo the Change

If you ever wish to undo the change, press the Win + R keyboard combination and type regedit, then press enter.


Then drill down into:


Finally delete the pintostartscreen key.


That’s all there is to it.

Taylor Gibb is a Microsoft MVP and all round geek, he loves everything from Windows 8 to Windows Server 2012 and even C# and PowerShell. You can also follow him on Google+

  • Published 12/10/12

Comments (12)

  1. Laurie Fountain

    RE Pin any File to Start Screen:
    The code references shell32.dll
    I have a 64bit system with Windows 8 Pro

    Will that be an issue?

  2. Thomas Evans

    How would you do the same thing for the taskbar. I noticed with Win 8 there is no option for many things to pin to the taskbar.

  3. Jimmy Welch

    Doesn’t work on 64bit Win 8

  4. Taylor Gibb

    @Luarie nope you still have a shell32 file on 64 bit Windows :)

    @JImmy Your doing something wrong because this article was written on x64 Windows 8 Pro

  5. Cliff Sees

    This hack worked for me the first (and so far, only) time I used it.
    You must save it as a Unicode file. The first option is ANSI, and it won’t work that way,
    But now the Win + R keyboard combination isn’t working . . .

  6. Zirk

    Off topic:

    I would like to mail this article to a friend of mine. Do I have to select the whole article, copy, paste and send?

    Or is there an option on the site to enter an email address and send?

    Many thanks for THE best geek site!

  7. artyom56

    This doesn’t work for the Internet Explorer desktop icon like shown here:

    The registry works for Windows 8, but the “Pin to Start” in the context menu is missing.

  8. Marko

    The (“) marks aren’t pasted how they should be, so just select them and type new ones, and save with unicode.

  9. Alex

    The registry changes work fine on win8/64. However, the hack.reg file doesn’t. I have no idea why. Running the REG file does not create the needed strings, only the subkey. The command will appear on the right click menu, but cannot execute.

  10. Zirk Jansen

    Hi, with the issues mentioned above, is there any reason not to try this out?


  11. Terry

    BTW: This doesn’t work for URL shortcuts. Is there something that can be done about that?

  12. Jonathan

    I’m trying this on 64-bit Win8 and Notepad puts up an error when I try to save this file. The error says, “This file contains Unicode characters in Unicode format which will be lost if you save this file as an ANSI encoded text file. To keep the Unicode information, click Cancel below and then select one of the Unicode options from the Encoding drop down list. Continue?” There’s a button that says “OK” and a button that says Cancel.

    No matter what I do, I can’t seem to get past this error. If I run the PinToStartHack.reg, a folder called “pintostartscreen” is created with a “Command” subfolder, but each of them contain null REG_SZ values. What am I doing wrong?

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