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How to pin portable apps to the Start Menu on Windows 10

The great thing about portable apps is that you do not need admin rights to install them. If you have restricted access on a system, you will either have to ask the system admin to install an app for you, or you will have to use a portable app. There are workarounds to installing an app without admin rights but there may be exceptions where not all apps can be installed.

Fortunately, there are some really great portable apps available for Windows 10, and while using them is easy, they aren’t added to the Apps list in the Start Menu and you cannot pin them to the Start Menu either. You can usually find them via Windows Search if the drive they’re on is being indexed but that is about it.

Add portable app to Start Menu

You can do this for any portable app. We tried it with ScreenToGif and it worked perfectly.

  1. Download the portable app you want to use. Move it to a folder you know it won’t be deleted from. You can place the folder on any internal drive. It does not have to be placed on the C drive or Windows drive.
  2. Run the app at least once. Some apps, like Rainmeter, will create a few additional directories in order to work even if they’re portable.
  3. Look for the EXE of the portable app. Right-click it, and select ‘Create Shortcut’ from the context menu.
  4. Open File Explorer.
  5. Enter the following in the location bar.
%appdata%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs

  1. Create a new folder, and give it the same name as the app that you want to add to the Apps list and pin to the Start Menu.
  2. Open the folder you just created, and move the shortcut to the app’s EXE to it.
  3. Open the Start Menu and go to the Apps’ list.
  4. Navigate to the app you just added and expand its folder.
  5. Right-click the app’s executable under the folder, and select Pin to Start from the context menu.

Conclusion

You can remove a portable app from the Start Menu and the Apps list by deleting the folder you made. You can add the shortcut directly to the Programs folder but that may not always allow you to pin the app to the Start menu and in some cases, the app may not show up in the Apps list at all. Creating a dedicated folder for the app is also a good idea if you decide you want to move the actual executable to this folder instead of using a shortcut.

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