How to pin a Steam game to the start menu in Windows 10 (without special software)

This has nothing to do with Tempest or web development, but I just figured this out, and it might be useful to someone. For some reason, Steam lets you create desktop shortcuts to individual games, but there is no straightforward way to add a tile pointing to the game in your start menu. There are apps that will do this, but they require access to your steam account, and there is an intermediate step in opening the game.

There is a way to manually create shortcuts to steam games that you can put anywhere though, including the start menu. Here are the steps:

  1. Open Steam, right click on the game in your library, and choose “Create Desktop Shortcut”
  2. Right click on the new shortcut, go to Properties, and then copy the ‘URL’ section. It should be something like “steam://rungameid/212680”
  3. Right click on the desktop and go to New->Shortcut
  4. When prompted for the location, type “%windir%\explorer.exe” (no quotes), followed by a space, and then paste the URL you copied from the Steam shortcut. So, what you end up with should look something like, “%windir%\explorer.exe steam://rungameid/212680”
  5. Set the name of the shortcut to the name of the game.

You now have a working shortcut that you can pin to your start menu or taskbar. As a final step though, you can give it an icon matching the game. To do that, right click on the shortcut and choose “Change Icon…”. Browse to C:\Program Files (x86)\Steam\steam\games (assuming the default location for your steam install). In there you should see a number of Icon files with random strings of characters as names. One of them should match your game. Select it, and you will be able to set your new shortcut’s icon to match.

And that’s it! A bit of work, but it should only take a minute in total once you know the steps, and no special software is required.

One last note though: once you pin it to the start menu, don’t delete the original shortcut, or strange things will happen, like losing the icon. If you don’t want it hanging around on your desktop, move it to a different folder, like %AppData%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs (your start menu folder), before right-clicking on the shortcut and choosing ‘Pin to Start’.