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Saturday, August 1, 2015

Create Web Shortcut Tiles - a Windows 10 Update

Being able to create tiles to go to your primary websites on your Start Screen is a great feature.

With the introduction of Windows 10 Update 10586*, the Internet shortcuts from all browsers pinned to the Start Page now operate properly. To create a tile of your favorite webpages, you may now:
  1. Open the Start Shortcuts folder in Documents you previously created (or create one now)
  2. Go to the web page desired
  3. Click-drag the small icon to the left of the web address (url) in the browser address bar  into the Start Shortcuts folder
  4. Install Pin Shortcut Files to Start Screen from the Download menu above, if you have not previously done so.
  5. Right click on the web page shortcut, and select Pin to Start
  6. Position the new tile as preferred on the Start Page by click-dragging 
*Easily tell what version of Windows 10 you are running:  Press Win-R and type winver

Being able to create tiles to go to your primary websites on your Start Screen is a great feature.  In Windows 8.1, this simply required either using OblyTile, or creating a URL shortcut and Pin to Start.

Unfortunately OblyTile utility does not work on Windows 10 (yet). And Windows 10 has a problem that it does not switch to the desktop view to display the web page if your browser is launched using a url shortcut Tile from the Start Screen.

Please note that this only works with programs, such as Internet Explorer, Firefox, or Chrome...NOT with Microsoft Apps, like Edge.

The following is an alternative method that will enable you to create properly functioning web tiles. The steps to do this may seem complex, but they only need be done once and really look more complicated than they are.

Initial Setup

  1. Create a new folder in your Documents folder called Start Shortcuts.
  2. Find your browser's file in the Program Files or Program Files(X86) folder.  An easy way to find this if you've already pinned your favorite is find the tile of your default browser, right click and select Open File Location, then repeat the right-click:Open File Location on the displayed shortcut.
  3. Create a shortcut of your browser in the Start Shortcuts folder by Alt-Click Dragging the file found in #2 to the Start Shortcuts folder. This shortcut will become your template for the web tiles you will create.

Create Shortcuts

  1. In the Start Shortcuts folder, create a shortcut of the template created above by Alt-Click Dragging the template to a blank space in the folder. 
  2. Rename this new shortcut with the name you want for the tile; ex: Gmail
  3. Right-click on this shortcut and select Properties
  4. Open your web browser to the page you wish to have as a web tile.
  5. Select the entire web address in the address field (not the Google search field) and copy with Ctrl-C
  6. Put your cursor in the Target field of the shortcut properties and press the End key to move to the end of the field.
  7. Enter a space by pressing the space bar and paste the web address with Ctrl-V
  8. If you want to add a custom image to the tile, create an icon file and select using the Change Icon... button, as described below in Adding a custom image in the tile below
  9. Click OK
  10. Double-Click on the newly completed shortcut and be sure it opens the correct web page.
  11. Right-Click on the shortcut and select Pin to Start
  12. Go to the Start Screen and move the new tile from the bottom of the screen to the location of your choice.
  13. Repeat for additional web tiles as desired.

Adding a custom image in the tile

In Windows 8.1, this was an easy task using ObleTile. Until there is an equivalent program for Windows 10,  you must use or create an .ico file to attach to the shortcut. There are a selection of Icon Files in the Download area of this site. Otherwise, you may create your own ico file.
  1. Download Greenfish Icon Editor Pro from http://www.snapfiles.com/downloads/gficoneditor/dlgficoneditor.html . My experience is that this free program is very safe to use.
  2. Open Greenfish Icon Editor Pro
  3. Find an image you wish to use for your tile. This can be jpg, png or any other standard graphics format.  It should be close to square to fit nicely in the tile.  If don't have one, you may google  tilename image for the tilename you are creating, and to find and save a suitable image.
  4. Open the image file you've selected into Greenfish by dragging the file on the open program.
  5. If the file size is greater than 256 x 256, you will need to reduce it. Select Icon:New Page and then type in: 124x124 and Square.
  6. Choose  File:Save As and Icon Files (ico) and store in the Start Shortcuts folder
  7. If you've already pinned your tile to the Start Screen, the simplest way to add the image is, with the shortcut you've created, Unpin from Start, right-click Properties:Shortcut:Change Icon, save with OK, and again Pin to Start.