Do you spend a lot of time using Windows Explorer? Wouldn’t it be handy if you could start your favorite program right from within the Explorer window? There’s an easy way to add applications to your Favorites List in Explorer.

We have previously shown you how to add your own folders to the Favorites list for quick access to often-used files. However, if you try to drag an application to the Favorites list, a message displays telling you the link cannot be placed in Favorites. However, you can get around this limitation.

To add a program to the Favorites list, open Windows Explorer and enter %userprofile%\Links or C:\Users\[user name]\Links in the address bar and press Enter. Replace “[user name]” with your account user name, as shown below.

Drag a program shortcut from the Start menu, desktop, or other location to the Links folder. You can also copy shortcuts and paste them into the Links folder.

The program links are immediately available in the Favorites list in the left pane of the Explorer window. Simply click on a link in the list to start that program.

You can drag and drop the links in the Favorites list in the left pane (not in the Links folder in the right pane) to reorder them.

You can also sort the Favorites list alphabetically by name. To do this, right-click on Favorites in the left pane and select Sort by name from the popup menu.

To remove custom program links from the Favorites list, simply delete the appropriate shortcuts from the Links folder. If you accidentally delete the Desktop, Downloads, or Recent Places shortcuts, you can easily restore them by right-clicking on the Favorites heading again and select Restore favorite links.

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Lori Kaufman is a technology expert with 25 years of experience. She's been a senior technical writer, worked as a programmer, and has even run her own multi-location business.
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