Windows 8 can have a useful start screen if you fill it up with your most commonly accessed programs, files and utilities. One problem that I found is that by default you can’t easily add control panel links or .bat files as quickly as you can with other file types. There is no “Pin to Start” option for *.cpl files or .bat files and some other system related files so you have to make your own.
Windows 8 Creating a Start Screen Link
You can pretty much create any custom link in your Windows 8 Start Screen with the following trick. The first thing you want to know is that all of your start menu available programs are in this folder “%appdata%\microsoft\windows\Start Menu\Programs\” which is typically your C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs folder.
Use Windows+E key to open an Explorer Window, then go to your “%appdata%\microsoft\windows\Start Menu\Programs\ folder.
Right click in the folder and say New –> Shortcut, or simply click on the new item button at the top of the Window and say New Shortcut.
Then link to any file you want to create a Start Menu shortcut link to.
For the example of this document I wanted to link to Sound Properties in Control Panel, this is in C:\Windows\System32\mmsys.cpl name it whatever you want, I named it Windows Sound in my example.
Now, that this link is created, go to your Windows Start Screen by pressing the Windows key.
You can do a search by hitting Windows+F and look for the file you created, search for the name you called it.
Select the file and you should have a Pin to Start option at the bottom of the screen.
Now, you can see I have pinned my Windows Sound which is mmsys.cpl to my Windows 8 Start Screen. You can repeat this trick for any type of file or item as far as I am aware of.
The main reason I have to constantly open my sound is to switch back and forth my default sound devices between USB headphones and my Creative X-FI speakers depending on night and day and this makes it a little faster than digging into the control panel manually.
For your reference here is a great list of Windows Commands and Shortcuts that you could turn into links on your Start Screen.
What other tips and things do you access and prefer to have in your Windows Start Screen on Windows 8?
I have been obsessed with computers, tech, gadgets and games since the early 1980’s having grown up on the Commodore 64 and Amiga computers.
By day I work in the IT Security Industry and have been in IT for over 20 years. On my spare time I am a Vlogger, Blogger, Streamer, Gadget Reviewer, affiliate marketer, influencer and entertainer. I am also an avid movie fan, TV Show fan, Anime fan, video game fan and fan of trying anything and everything new.