Pin Windows 8 Metro Apps to the Taskbar

So if you have been tinkering with Windows 8, you have probably read about the trick you can use to create a desktop shortcut to the Applications folder in Windows 8. It basically lists out all the apps and programs that show up in your All apps screen in Windows Explorer. It looks like this:

shortcut to applications

I personally find this very useless as you can pin it to the task bar, but it looks horrible. Not only that, but you’ll spend more time looking for the Metro app in this explorer window than you would just going to the start screen and clicking on the app.

I figured there had to be a better way and I ended up finding a program called Metro App Link, which apparently lets you create desktop shortcuts to Metro apps like Travel, Sports, News, etc. However, I downloaded it and it didn’t work! I clicked the buttons to create the shortcut and nothing happened.

So finally, I had to find out some other way, which I eventually did. This is definitely the best way that actually works in the final release of Windows 8. The first step is to create a desktop shortcut, followed by changing the icon to match the Metro app, and then to pin it to the task bar.

Pin Metro Apps to Taskbar in Windows 8

First, we have to create a new shortcut. Go to the desktop, right-click and choose New – Shortcut. Now here’s where the magic happens. In the location box, type in the following:

C:WindowsSystem32cmd.exe /c start "" "APPNAME:" && exit

All you have to do is replace APPNAME with the name of the Windows 8 metro app. Now that’s the tricky part. I have gone through the registry to figure out what these apps like Bing, Travel, Music, etc are actually called in the system. Here’s a current up-to-date list that is working on my final release version of Windows 8. The first name is the APPNAME you’ll use in the command above and the second name is the name you see when you go to All apps in Windows 8.

bingtravel – Travel

bingsports – Sports

bingnews – News

mschat – Messaging

bingfinance – Finance

bingweather – Weather

bingmaps – Maps

xboxgames – Games

microsoftmusic – Music

microsoftvideo – Video

ms-windows-store – Windows Store

Once you have created the shortcut, test it out and it really works! Yay! You can access Metro apps from the desktop! Of course, the icon looks ugly and needs to be replaced:

pin metro app taskbar

At this point, all you have to do is download a Metro icon pack from somewhere and change the icon by right-clicking on the shortcut and choosing Properties.

change icon

Click on Change Icon and you can pick one of the Metro icons you downloaded to replace the command prompt icon. Here are a couple of places where you can find Metro icons for free:

After that, just right-click on the shortcut and choose Pin to Taskbar and you can now open your Metro apps in one click!

pinned app

Now the only problem so far is that I can’t find all the app names for some of the other Metro apps like Mail, Camera, Reader, etc. As I find more, I will post them here in the comments. Enjoy!

Special thanks to link6155 from 7PMTech on getting me started!