Add Steam game shortcuts to Windows 8's start screen

Martin Brinkmann
Nov 18, 2012
Tutorials, Windows, Windows 8, Windows tips

The gaming platform Steam is an all-in-one game store and gamer launcher available for various platforms. Most Steam users know that they can create desktop shortcuts for games they have installed in Steam to start the games directly without having to open Steam first.

If you have installed Steam on Windows 8 you may have noticed that only the Steam shortcut gets added to the operating system's start screen, but not the actual games that you have installed. While it is still possible to create desktop shortcuts, it is not possible to add shortcuts on the Windows 8 start screen right away.

The following option explains how you can add Steam game shortcuts to Windows 8's start screen. The method is actually valid for all kinds of shortcuts, not only game shortcuts.

Add Steam games to Windows 8 start screen

pin steam games to windows8 start screen

The first thing that you need to do is create the shortcut of the game. Launch the Steam software, right-click on all installed games that you want to create shortcuts for, and select Create Desktop Shortcut from the context menu.

You will notice that the shortcuts are placed on the desktop of the system. If you can't see them, right-click a blank area on the desktop and select View > Show desktop icons from the menu.

You can launch the games from the desktop right away, but will notice that they are not added to the start screen. For that, do the following:

  • Open Windows Explorer. The program should be listed in the taskbar. If you have removed it from there, press Windows-r together, enter explorer in the run box and hit the enter key.
  • Navigate to c:\users\username\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\ or enter %appdata%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs in the file managers address field.
  • Copy all Steam game shortcuts from the desktop to the start menu area.
  • Press the Windows-key to open the start screen
  • Type the name of the game that you want to add, e.g. Counter-Strike, right-click the result, and select Pin to Start

windows 8 add shortcuts

  • The shortcuts are added to the start screen automatically so that you only need to drag them to the position you want them to be in.

Note that you can use the same technique for all other shortcuts that you may want to add to the start screen.The only thing that changes is that you need to right-click the program in the program folder and select Create Shortcut from the context menu to create the shortcut.

The method can be useful for portable applications for instance which are not picked up by default or system tools which you want to make available directly on the start screen. Doing so makes the programs available via the built-in search as well which is another bonus.


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  1. Fotodor said on March 15, 2020 at 11:42 pm

    If you want really quick access to launch a frequently used application without putting extra icons on your desktop, you can add that application to the context menu for the desktop with a simple registry hack. Here’s how to do it. For today’s lesson we’ll show you how to add Notepad to the menu, but you could add any applications you want instead.

  2. Arda said on January 6, 2015 at 10:55 pm

    It worked like a charm, thanks.

  3. KuLiKo said on November 29, 2014 at 8:57 pm

    Nice tip. Thanks !!

  4. TB said on July 29, 2014 at 7:12 am

    It worked for me, thanks very much for posting this.

    I find Windows 8 completely counter-intuitive and this is a prime example of just how bad it is to do simple things like adding a game launch icon to the W8 start screen. Thanks again you really helped out :-)

  5. Eskil said on November 23, 2013 at 5:03 pm

    Did not work for me. They were easily added to the complete list, but when I selected “Pin to start” they were added as empty web links, presumably because they’re actually links to “steam://rungameid/123456789”.

  6. Ross said on October 22, 2013 at 11:03 pm

    Great, thank you very much for a much useful tip.

  7. The Mighty said on August 17, 2013 at 6:32 pm

    Thx. Worked well!

  8. Wieprzek said on May 20, 2013 at 2:28 am

    Ayayay! Now i can have all my Steam games in start screen :) ; thanks for tutortial, it works very well.

  9. He-Yann said on January 31, 2013 at 4:35 am

    Works very well thanks !!!

  10. mohitrajwani said on November 30, 2012 at 12:09 pm
    Reply helped me..just added some games on my start screen.

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