How to Push Shortcuts to the Desktop With Group Policy

Updated July 20, 2017

Windows system administrators use group policy to customise, configure and lock down their Windows workstations. The Group Policy Editor can configure basic Windows settings, remove access to programs and even push shortcuts to users' desktops. The shortcuts appear on the desktop of each Windows computer that's on the domain. You can only push shortcuts to the desktop using the Group Policy Management Console on a Windows domain. You can't create desktop shortcuts using the local Group Policy Editor on a Windows system that isn't on a domain.

Click "Start," type "Gpmc.msc" into the Search box at the bottom of the "Start" menu and press "Enter."

Click "Yes" to the User Account Control prompt if one appears.

Right-click the group policy object you want to modify and click "Edit."

Navigate to the Computer Configuration\Preferences\Windows Settings\Shortcuts folder in the left pane of the Group Policy Editor window.

Right-click the Shortcuts folder, click "New" and click "Shortcut."

Click the "Action" box and click "Create."

Type a name for the shortcut into the Name field.

Click the "Target Type" box and click "File System Object" if it's a shortcut to a file, "URL" if it's a Web link or "Shell Object" if it's another type of shortcut, such as a shortcut to a printer or computer.

Click the "Location" box and click "All Users Desktop."

Type the destination for the shortcut into the "Target Path," "Target URL" or "Target Object" box. A different box appears depending on which target type you selected. For example, type "C:\Example.exe" or ""

Click the "..." button to the right of "Icon File Path," browse to an icon file for the shortcut and double-click it.

Click "OK."


You can also delete, replace or update existing shortcuts by selecting a different option in the "Action" box instead of selecting the "Create" option.

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About the Author

Chris Hoffman is a technology writer and all-around tech geek who writes for PC World, MakeUseOf, and How-To Geek. He's been using Windows since Windows 3.1 was released in 1992.