How to add system shortcuts to the Windows 10 desktop

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Microsoft introduced the Settings app in Windows 10 as an alternative to the Control Panel. This includes lots of system customization options for the platform, so it would be handy to have shortcuts to some of its pages on the desktop. You can add system shortcuts to the desktop that open Settings and Control Panel options.

All you need to add a Settings shortcut to Windows 10’s desktop is its URI. Each page of the Settings app has a URI. To start, add a shortcut that opens the display options in Settings as follows.

First, you should right-click the desktop and select New > Shortcut to open the window shown in the snapshot below. Enter ‘ms-settings:display’ in the text box. Click Next, give the shortcut a title and press Finish.

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Then you’ll find a new shortcut on the desktop. When you click it, it will open the display options in the Settings app. You can add an icon to the shortcut by right-clicking it, selecting Properties and Change Icon. Then choose an icon for it from the window shown below, click OK, Apply and OK to add it to the shortcut.

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You can set up lots of desktop shortcuts to Settings app pages much the same with alternative URIs. Below is a list of some other URIs for Settings app shortcuts. For the full list, open this page.

  • Background: ms-settings:personalization-background
  • Date and time: ms-settings:dateandtime
  • Themes: ms-settings:themes
  • Keyboard: ms-settings:easeofaccess-keyboard
  • Battery Saver: ms-settings:batterysaver
  • Mouse: ms-settings:easeofaccess-mouse

With those desktop shortcuts, you can also set up hotkeys that open Settings app pages. Right-click the shortcut on desktop, select Properties and then enter a hotkey for it in the Shortcut key text box. Then press that keyboard shortcut to open the Settings app page.

However, despite the new Settings app the Control Panel remains in Windows 10; and you can also add some shortcuts to it to the desktop. Enter ‘Control Panel’ in the Cortana search box to open the window below.

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Then you can right-click one of the settings categories there and select a Create shortcut option. For example, right-click Display and select that option. That will add a shortcut to the desktop that opens the Control Panel’s display options. Plus you can also give those hotkeys much the same as the Settings app shortcuts.

There are a number of fairly essential options in both the Control Panel and Settings app. Now you can add system shortcuts for them to the desktop to give you more direct access.

Posted by Matthew on July 31, 2016

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