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Create an Application Folder for Quick Launches on the Desktop and the Start Screen

Searching for a quick way to launch Desktop applications from the Microsoft Windows 8 Start screen or from anywhere, for that matter? Here’s how to do it, making use of the hidden Application Folder.

In previous versions of Windows, if you wanted to run an application but couldn’t see its icon everywhere, there was a quick and simple solution: Head to the Application folder, look for the proper subfolder, and find the .exe file that launches the application.

That’s all well and good for earlier versions of Windows (Windows XP, Windows 7 and etc). But you will never find the Applications Folder visible in Microsoft Windows 8.

It may not be noticeable, but it is still there, and you can use it for a nifty hack: quickly launching any app—including Microsoft Windows 8 and Desktop applications—from either the Windows 8 Start screen or the desktop.

  1. First, run File Explorer (previously known as Windows Explorer).
  2. Navigate to the Desktop
  3. Create a new folder.
  4. After you create it, rename it:


  5. On the Desktop and in File Explorer, you will see only its name—Applications.
  6. Doubleclick it, and you will see a list of your applications: Microsoft Windows 8 applications, Desktop applications, and many system applications, such as Control Panel (Like shown in image below).
The-Applications-folder-includes-Windows-8-native-apps-as-well-as-Desktop-apps Create an Application Folder for Quick Launches on the Desktop and the Start Screen

The Applications folder includes Windows 8 native apps as well as Desktop apps

Microsoft Windows 8 applications, oddly enough, do not appear at first to have any icons associated with them, but Desktop applications and system applications do. To run an app—including Microsoft Windows 8 native applications—double-click it. (If you look closely enough in a folder, you can see the icons for Microsoft Windows 8 native applications. They have white symbols on a white background.)

That takes care of the Application Folder on the Desktop. But the folder does not show up anywhere on the Microsoft Windows 8 Start screen. Not yet, that is. Right-click it and select “Pin to Start.” it is right now pinned to the Start screen. To find it, scroll all the way over to the right. Double-click it, and the folder opens, with all your applications only a double-click away.

If you like, move it to a more prominent location on the Start screen by dragging it.

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