How to Pin a Website to the Start Menu in Windows 10

Windows 10 provides you several ways to pin a website to the Start menu in Windows 10. It is a useful function which saves your time. If you are in Tablet mode, you can open your favorite web site with just one tap or click!

For some reason, Microsoft has locked down the ability to pin a website to the Start Menu by right clicking a URL file from your Favorites folder. But a number of third party browsers and the default browser, Microsoft Edge, have the appropriate function to pin your favorite web pages as Start menu tiles. Also, if you want to use the built-in ability to pin web sites to the Start menu, i.e. without using any browser, you can unblock the hidden context menu entry for *.URL files. Let's see all these ways one by one.

Pin a Website to the Start Menu in Windows 10 with Edge Or Chrome

Microsoft Edge

The Edge browser comes with the built-in ability to pin an opened website to the Start menu in Windows 10. It is accessible directly from its menu. Here is what you should do.

  1. Open the Edge browser. Its icon is pinned to the taskbar out of the box.
  2. Navigate to the website you want to pin to the Start menu.
  3. In Edge, click the three dots "..." menu button to open the browser's menu.
  4. There, click the item Pin this page to Start as shown below:
  5. A confirmation box will appear. There, click "Yes" to pin the page to the Start menu. It will appear in the Start menu immediately.

See the following screenshot:

A tile pinned this way will always open in Microsoft Edge. This is because Edge creates a special "modern" shortcut which only Edge can handle and ignores the default browser which might be set in Settings by the user.

Google Chrome

Similar to Microsoft Edge, the popular Google Chrome browser allows you to create a shortcut to the opened page. However, the shortcut will be created on the Desktop instead of the Start menu, but you can pin it to the Start menu from the context menu without additional hacks or tweaks. Do the following.

  1. Launch Chrome and navigate to the page of your choice.
  2. Click the vertical three dots menu button to open Chrome's menu:
  3. Under "More tools", look for the command "Add to Desktop":
  4. Google Chrome will ask you for the shortcut name. You can change it if you wish.
  5. A new URL shortcut will be created on your Desktop:
  6. Now, just right click it and pin to the Start menu using the context menu item "Pin to Start":

The site will be pinned to the Start menu:

When you click this tile, the pinned web site will be opened in Google Chrome. If you open the shortcut's properties, you will see that it is set to launch Chrome's executable file:

Firefox or any other browser

Actually, you can use the trick done by Google Chrome to pin a web site which will be opened in your browser of choice.

For example, to pin a web site which will always open in Mozilla Firefox, you can do the following:

  1. Right click the Desktop and select New - Shortcut.
  2. In the shortcut target box, type or copy-paste the full path to Firefox's EXE file. In my case it is
    "C:\Program Files (x86)\Mozilla Firefox\firefox.exe"

  3. After the "firefox.exe" portion, add a space and type or paste the destination URL of the web site you want to open with the shortcut, so you will get something like this:
    "C:\Program Files (x86)\Mozilla Firefox\firefox.exe" https://winaero.com

  4. Name the shortcut as you wish.
  5. Now, right click the shortcut you created and select "Pin to Start" from the context menu:

Voila, you just pinned a web site which will be opened in Firefox:

Now, let's see how to pin URL files to the Start menu in Windows 10.

Pin URL files to the Start menu in Windows 10

This is possible and the great news is URL files are handled by the default browser installed. Once you pin a URL file, you can switch your default browser and it won't be necessary to change your tiles in the Start menu.

The quickest way to create a URL file for an opened page is to drag the address bar icon to the Desktop. This works in Firefox, Chrome and Internet Explorer. I have not tested it with other browsers, but the same should be possible in other Chromium-based browsers like Opera.

Let's create a new URL file.

  1. Open the target web site in Firefox, Chrome or Internet Explorer. I will use Firefox.
  2. Click the icon on the left from the web site address and drag and drop it to the Desktop. Tip: to drag to the Desktop, drag it first to the Show Desktop (Aero Peek) button at the end of the Taskbar. Or press Win+D after you have started dragging and drop it on the Desktop.

You just created a new URL file:

You can check out its properties. While you created it using Firefox, the target web site will be opened in the default browser every time you click it.

Now, in the context menu of the URL file there is no "Pin to Start" command.

Let's enable it!

You need to enable the Pin to Start command for all file types. I covered this in detail in the following article:

How to pin any file to Start Menu in Windows 10

In short, you need to apply the following tweak:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\*]

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\*\shellex]

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\*\shellex\ContextMenuHandlers]

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\*\shellex\ContextMenuHandlers\PintoStartScreen]
@="{470C0EBD-5D73-4d58-9CED-E91E22E23282}"

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\AllFileSystemObjects]

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\AllFileSystemObjects\shellex]

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\AllFileSystemObjects\shellex\ContextMenuHandlers]

[HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Classes\AllFileSystemObjects\shellex\ContextMenuHandlers\PintoStartScreen]
@="{470C0EBD-5D73-4d58-9CED-E91E22E23282}"

You can download ready-to-use "Pin To Start" registry tweak.

The Pin to Start command will become available for all files in Windows 10:

Now, right click the URL file you have and select Pin to Start. The command will be visible there:

When click the command, the URL file will be pinned to the Start menu in Windows 10:

When you click the pinned URL file in the Start menu, it will open in your default browser!

Also, if you install a new browser app, you will be prompted to choose the app to open your pinned URL file:

The last trick is the best one as it provides you a way to change the default browser and open pinned web sites to the Start menu in any browser you want.

That's it.

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