Windows Vista / Getting Started

Creating Your Own Shortcuts

With as many shortcut keys as Windows has, there are bound to be some functions you use on a daily basis that don't have a convenient shortcut. Fortunately, you can create your own. Go to the Start orb and find an application for which you want to create the shortcut (let's say Notepad, for example). Right-click the application and then select Properties. On the shortcut tab, you can select the Shortcut key box and type the shortcut key you want to use to activate the application.

It might initially look like you are not able to change the shortcut because nothing happens when you put the cursor in the box, but after you type the keys you want to use for the shortcut, it should update the box.

The Shortcut tab enables you to establish additional shortcut keys.

You might, at times, have difficulties changing these shortcuts depending on how programs are installed on your system or whether you are on a network. This is because Vista's User Account Control (UAC) might stop you from assigning shortcuts to items on the Start menu you did not personally create. The reason for this is that these items might exist in the All Users folders and you are not the owner of those programs; therefore, you don't have the right to change the shortcuts for these applications.

Granted, you could disable UAC if you knew how and had the rights. But if you do have the right, there is also a less drastic measure you can take that does not compromise your system's security. Open Windows Explorer with your administrative account (click Start, Programs, Accessories, and then right-click Windows Explorer and select Run as Administrator). From here, you can find your way to the Start menu programs, right-click the program, go to Properties, and then change the shortcut from there.

Another option if you are having problems with shortcuts is to find the executable for the application for which you want to establish the shortcut key. Right-click the application icon, select Send, and then choose the option to send it to the desktop as a shortcut. Because you created this specific shortcut, you can right-click, open its Properties, and then enter whatever shortcut key you like. It is yours so you own it and can work with it without UAC getting involved.

The Start menu for all users is located as C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu with the ProgramData folder being hidden by default as a system folder. For the current user you can look under c:\users\<username>\appdata\roaming\microsoft\windows\Start menu.

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