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There are many ways to organize your files on your computer and provide shortcuts to them. In this guide, I hope to provide some inspiration; hopefully you can come up with some great ways to access the data on your drive.

I’ve written about how to organize your files in the past and in this guide I will focus mainly on how to get to those files easily without installing any extra software.

Creating Shortcuts to Your Data

I don’t store my personal documents in the conventional place Windows provides. This is because I frequently change operating systems and have different systems on one machine so I need a central repository of files. More information about this can be read here including instructions of how to implement this properly.

First Organize Your Files

I highly recommend organizing your files in an intuitive and efficient manner before working on how to get to them. Below is a screenshot of my E partition which is my media drive on my laptop:

Shortcuts 01

As you can see, I organize my files by media type and I’ve also customized the folder icons.

Creative Shortcuts on Your Desktop

Recently, I’ve taken to using over-sized shortcuts on my desktop. I don’t usually have any icons on my desktop but I’ve found the shortcuts to be both aesthetically pleasing and useful.

Shortcuts 01

(Click to enlarge)

To achieve this effect, do the following:

  1. Right-click on the folder, you want to create a shortcut to, and click Create shortcut
  2. Copy the shortcut to your desktop
  3. Click on a blank space on the desktop, hold the CTRL key, and scroll your wheel mouse to change the size of the icon
  4. To remove the shortcut overlay icon, follow this guide

You now have a desktop with oversized and stylish shortcuts.

Create Your Own Shortcut Tool Bar

Shortcuts 09

If you have a setup similar to mine, mentioned above, you can easily make a shortcut to all the folders appear on your taskbar with the icons you previously selected. To achieve the effect shown above, do the following:

  1. Right click a blank space on the start menu, select Toolbars > New Toolbar…

    Shortcuts 04

  2. Select the parent folder with the links to your folders you want shortcuts to

    Shortcuts 05

  3. The folder will now appear on your start menu

    Shortcuts 06

The previous steps may be enough to provide you with a useful shortcut system; to change the text label to icons, do the following:

  1. Double-click on the folder name on the start menu to expand to the subfoldersShortcuts 07
  2. Now right click the folder name and deselect Show Text and Show Title

    Shortcuts 08

  3. Resize the toolbar as needed to achieve the following effect:

    Shortcuts 09

Further Customization

Do you have any other ways to customize your shortcut icons? Do you have a good Dock-style solution or method that does not require extra software? Please share your thoughts in the comments.



About Rich

Rich is the owner and creator of Windows Guides; he spends his time breaking things on his PC so he can write how-to guides to fix the problems he creates.

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Comments

9 thoughts on “Make Creative Folder Shortcut Links in Vista [How To]”

  1. Neo says:

    Wow I might try this. I don’t like shorcuts on my desktop only on my quick launch. Just a question can you access those links on the new toolbar using shortcut keys like the quicklaunch icons where you press Win+1 to access the left most icon, Win+2 for next one…

  2. Neo says:

    Wow I might try this. I don’t like shorcuts on my desktop only on my quick launch. Just a question can you access those links on the new toolbar using shortcut keys like the quicklaunch icons where you press Win+1 to access the left most icon, Win+2 for next one…

  3. Rich says:

    Neo, I haven’t figured out how to get this working. If you work it out, let me know :)

  4. Rich says:

    Neo, I haven’t figured out how to get this working. If you work it out, let me know :)

  5. Neo says:

    Wow I might try this. I don’t like shorcuts on my desktop only on my quick launch. Just a question can you access those links on the new toolbar using shortcut keys like the quicklaunch icons where you press Win+1 to access the left most icon, Win+2 for next one…

  6. Rich says:

    Neo, I haven’t figured out how to get this working. If you work it out, let me know :)

  7. Imiunleashed says:

    Hey Rich i cannot make the toolbar shortcut to show the icon, any idea why that happens?
    You say to double click on the toolbar shortcut to expand the contents, double click just does not even seem to work :(

  8. Rich says:

    Are there subfolders in the folder you added to the taskbar? The icons will only show if there are folders (not files.)

  9. Imiunleashed says:

    Yes there are around 6 subfolders, I cannot double click on it and right clicking on it brings the menu related to the taskbar

Comments are closed.


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