Windows 8 and 8.1 Forums


A Shortcut to Nowhere

  1. #1


    Posts : 308
    64-bit Windows 8

    A Shortcut to Nowhere


    In the course of experimenting with shortcuts and pinning and such, I
    stumbled on a bizarre quirk of Windows 8. Find a program –– NOT a shortcut,
    but an ACTUAL "exe" file –– such as Notepad.exe, which is in the
    "C:\Windows" folder. Copy the actual "exe" file itself into your "My Documents"
    folder. Then right–click it there, and select "Send To" followed by
    "Desktop (Create Shortcut)."

    Warning: Don't try RUNNING Notepad that way; apps are supposed
    to run from their own folder locations only.

    Now delete the copy of Notepad from My Documents. Naturally, the shortcut
    on your Desktop will then do nothing, since it now points to a nonexistent
    object. If you double–click it, or try to pin it, you get an error pop–up.

    But if you right–click it and select "Properties," something weird happens.
    Instead of telling you that the shortcut's target is missing, the system GIVES it
    a target by creating a NEW file called "Notepad.exe" in My Documents. And it's
    just an EMPTY exe file –– if you then look at ITS Properties, you find that its
    length is 0 bytes! So now, both that AND the shortcut will do nothing.

    And yet, ironically, this non–shortcut can then be pinned to the Start Screen
    and Taskbar –– because, technically, any exe file is a program!

      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  2. #2


    Yup, broke. Just tried it in XP and got an error message when I clicked OK from the Properties dialog. Don't know if this also happens in Vista or Windows 7 too.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  3. #3


    Germany/Florida
    Posts : 4,514
    Vista and Win7


    LOL, you must have too much time on your hand for such 'advanced' experiments.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  4. #4


    Posts : 308
    64-bit Windows 8


    What I was doing, actually, is continuing to look for methods of getting direct
    shortcuts to data files on the Taskbar, as I described in my post about a week ago.
    It involves getting a "pinnable" shortcut first, and then changing its target
    address after it's pinned. I was using shortcuts to existing Desktop apps,
    or shortcuts to CLSID's. But those involve the danger of accidentally launching
    something when you didn't mean to. That problem can be eliminated by
    using a "shortcut to nowhere" as your "Pinner."

    In fact, last night after discovering this "empty file" quirk, I got an
    idea and tried it. Just launch Notepad (from the Metro Apps Screen) so it
    opens an empty file; and then, without typing anything in it, do a "Save As."
    Save it in "My Documents" and name it "Pinner.exe" so you're creating an
    empty "exe" file yourself. Then right-click it and "Send To >
    Desktop (Create Shortcut)." The resulting "Pinner -- Shortcut" can be used
    in the same way as the other kinds of "Pinners" that I suggested last week.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  5. #5


    Posts : 2,627
    win8.1.1 enterprise


    i have notepad pined to my taskbar, and thats how i access all my documents , just go to start right click for all apps and notpad will be there and just click it and pin to taskbar
    for other apps like firefox and google earth and windows defender i just went to the programs folder in [my]Computer,and used drag and drop them to the taskbar
    Last edited by caperjack; 03 Feb 2013 at 10:18.
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  6. #6


    Germany/Florida
    Posts : 4,514
    Vista and Win7


    Quote Originally Posted by caperjack View Post
    i have notepad pined to my taskbar, and thats how i access all my documents , just go to start right click for all apps and notpad will be there and just click it and pin to taskbar
    for other apps like firefox and google earth and windows defender i just went to the programs folder in [my]Computer,and used drag and drop them to the taskbar
    Why don't you use Toolbars - it's so much easier and always accessible (works the same in Win8): Toolbars - How to Use in Windows 7 and Vista - Windows 7 Forums
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

  7. #7


    Posts : 2,627
    win8.1.1 enterprise


    Quote Originally Posted by whs View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by caperjack View Post
    i have notepad pined to my taskbar, and thats how i access all my documents , just go to start right click for all apps and notpad will be there and just click it and pin to taskbar
    for other apps like firefox and google earth and windows defender i just went to the programs folder in [my]Computer,and used drag and drop them to the taskbar
    Why don't you use Toolbars - it's so much easier and always accessible (works the same in Win8): Toolbars - How to Use in Windows 7 and Vista - Windows 7 Forums
    don't know why ,i only use a few programs ,have on the taskbar and a folder on the desktop with short cuts to ones i use now and then
      My System SpecsSystem Spec

A Shortcut to Nowhere
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