Adding shortcuts on desktop using Group Policy Preferences in Windows 8 and Windows 8.1

This post has been republished via RSS; it originally appeared at: Ask the Directory Services Team articles.

First published on TechNet on Feb 17, 2014

Hi All!


My name is Saurabh Koshta and I am with the Core Team at Microsoft. Currently I work in the client space so supporting all aspects of Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 is my primary role.


We very often get calls from customers who are evaluating Windows 8/Windows 8.1 for deployment, but are concerned about some of the changes in the UI that may confuse their users. A typical concern we hear is that users are used to having shortcuts on the desktop for Computer, Documents, and Network. So, I wanted to take a minute to show you how you can easily add those shortcuts (or others) to desktops using Group Policy Preferences.


I have an OU in my domain called “Domain Computers”, which has Windows 8 machines.



The next step is to create a policy and link in to the “Domain Computers” OU. In this case it is called “Shortcut”



Edit the policy and go to the following location:


Computer Configuration -- > Preferences -- > Windows Settings -- > Shortcuts


Highlight Shortcuts and on the right pane, right click and select new Shortcut



In the ‘New Shortcut Properties’, make the following changes so the values look like below:


1. Action : Update


2. Target type : Shell Object


3. Location : All Users Desktop


4. For Target object, click on the browse option and then chose ‘Computer’


5. Name : My Computer


Leave rest of the options as default. Once you have made all the changes, it would look like below:



Similarly for Network the options are:


1. Action : Update


2. Target type : Shell Object


3. Location : All Users Desktop


4. For Target object, click on the browse option and then chose ‘Network’


5. Name : My Network Places



And for Libraries the options are:


1. Action : Update


2. Target type : Shell Object


3. Location : All Users Desktop


4. For Target object, click on the browse option and then chose ‘Libraries’


5. Name : My Documents



So we have the following three shortcuts



Restart the client and once logged in with a domain user, the desktop would have the three shortcuts as listed above and it would look something like below:



The above steps also work with Windows 8.1. Here is how it looks:



Hope you all find this information useful.


Thanks,


Saurabh Koshta

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