Create Direct Shortcut to “All Apps” Page of Windows 8 Start Screen and Pin it to Taskbar

UPDATE: It seems the method given in this tutorial no longer works in Windows 8 RTM version. In Windows 8 RTM, you can create the direct shortcut to "All Apps" page using following command:

explorer shell:::{2559a1f8-21d7-11d4-bdaf-00c04f60b9f0}

Just enter the above mentioned string in new shortcut's location box as mentioned here.

The new Start Screen present in Microsoft's upcoming OS Windows 8 is very controversial. Many people are loving it but there are lots of people who are finding it difficult to use. That's why we posted a topic recently containing some suggestions which might please all Windows 8 users.

To make Windows 8 users life easier and to provide Start Menu style functionality in new Start Screen, Microsoft has added an "All Apps" page to Start Screen which shows a complete list of all programs/apps present in Windows 8.


To access this "All Apps" page, you can use any of following methods:

  • Press WIN key to show Start Screen and press Ctrl+Tab keys together to show All apps page
  • Press WIN key, right-click on empty area in Start Screen and click on All apps option in bottom bar
  • Move mouse cursor to top-right corner to access Charms bar and click on Search charm
  • Move mouse cursor to bottom-left corner, right-click and select Search option
  • Press Win+X keys together and select Search option from Quick Access Menu

You can see all above mentioned methods require 2 or 3 steps to complete. None of them is a single step task. That's why today in this topic, we are going to share a very easy to use method which will allow you to create a direct shortcut to this "All Apps" page of Start Screen so that you can just double-click on it and access the all apps page.

Actually Windows 8 comes with a built-in command to show "All apps" page. We found this command while investigating about the new Quick Access Menu (Win+X menu) present in Windows 8. We found that Windows 8 contains a Search.scf file in "C:\Windows\System32" folder which is responsible to show "All Apps" page.

1. Open Windows Explorer and go to C:\Windows\System32 folder and you'll get "Search.scf" file after scrolling down a bit. Alternatively you can open "System32" folder directly by providing System32 command in RUN dialog box.


2. If you double-click on Search file, it'll launch All Apps page.

3. To create a shortcut, right-click on it and select "Send to -> Desktop (create shortcut)" option.

4. That's it. It'll place a direct shortcut on Desktop. You can rename it to your desired name.


Now whenever you need to access All apps page, just double-click on it and you'll have quick access to all apps page.

PS: You can also create this shortcut using "New ->Shortcut" command of context menu.

NOTE: If you can't find the "Search.scf" file in System32 folder, you can copy it from "Group2" folder present in "WinX" folder mentioned in our exclusive tutorial about new Win+X menu.

If you want, you can also copy RUN shortcut present in "Group2" folder under "WinX" folder and put it on Desktop or pin to Taskbar for easy and quick access.

BONUS TIP: Pin All Apps Shortcut to Taskbar

You can pin "All Apps" shortcut to Taskbar as well. But the problem is, its a Windows Explorer command file and if you try to pin it to Taskbar by dragging-n-dropping it, Windows will pin it to Explorer icon instead of direct pinning it to Taskbar.

1. To overcome this limitation, right-click on Search shortcut on Desktop and select Properties.

2. Now append explorer string before the existing string present in Target text box as shown in following screenshot:


3. Apply the changes and now you'll be able to pin it directly to Taskbar.


4. But as soon as you append Explorer string in Target field, the shortcut will stop working and nothing will happen when you click on it.

Again to overcome this problem, press Shift key and right-click on Search shortcut pinned in Taskbar and select Properties. Now remove the C:\Windows\explorer.exe string from beginning of Target string.

Look at following screenshot. You just need to delete the selected string from Target text field.


Again apply the changes and you'll have a working shortcut to "All Apps" page in Windows 8 Taskbar.

PS: You can also put this shortcut in Quick Launch toolbar. Quick Launch toolbar can be enabled in Windows 8 using the same method which works in Windows 7:

How to Get the Good Old "Quick Launch" Toolbar Back in Windows?

Using this direct shortcut is really quicker and easier than the other default methods. What do you think about this direct shortcut? Feel free to provide your feedback in your comment...

PS: Also check out point 5 in our exclusive Windows 8 Secrets topic to learn how to launch Metro apps directly from Desktop in Windows 8 using a hidden secret "Applications" folder.

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Posted in: Windows 8 / 8.1

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