Add website links to Windows 10 Start Menu

The web is used more then ever before. This probably comes at no surprise. Cloud-based web applications are very much here to stay and will probably continue to grow. The ability for a company to develop a product on multiple platforms whilst (at the same time) keeping great cross-platform compatibility is a major benefit to this.
Removing the need to maintain new versions of the same software between different operating systems nativley gives users a better overall experience.

I like to use Google Keep; a web-app that allows you to jot down notes. I could use OneNote, however since I am deep in the GSuite eco-system, it makes sense to keep everything in one place. There isn’t a local application available that is native to Windows 10 and using bookmarks within the browser is a bit clunky (if you have many, like me).

I embarked on a mission to answer the following question:

How can I launch a web-app from the Start menu, whilst taking advantages of the UI experience (search and menu items) that comes with native Windows 10 apps?

The answer isn’t as conventional as I first thought.

Please note: Anything specified in this guide is followed at your own risk. I am not responsible should your computer break by any of these steps. If you are unsure about something, use your favourate Search engine and do some research!

General info that I have realised through experimentation:

  1. Windows 10 Start Menu does not play nice with Windows’ Internet Shortcuts . (This applies to shortcuts with the .URL extension). If you add an Internet Shortcut (.URL) to the Start Menu – Programs folder, you can expect nothing for your efforts. Yes that’s right, nothing!
  2. Choose your browser wisely! The methods for Edge and Chrome browsers are application specific and will only open the URL in the original browser.

Chrome

Limitations:
Will only open in Chrome
You can use Windows Search to get the item. You can also pin the item to your start menu as a tile.

  1. Open Chrome and go to the website
  2. In Chrome, click the Menu (elipses) > More Tools > Create Shortcut
  3. Name the shortcut accordingly and then click Create
  4. You can safely delete the shortcut from your Desktop (if you wish)
  5. The shortcut will be placed in your start menu automatically : Start > Chrome Apps.
    You can also: Rightclick > Pin To Start (if you wish)

Edge

Limitations:
Inability to search using Windows Search tool
Will only open in Edge

  1. Open Edge and navigate to your web page
  2. In edge, click the Menu (elipsis) > More Tools > Pin this page to Start

Firefox and Other

Limitations:
This is more complicated and involved
You will not get icons (without downloading and setting custom Icons)

  1. In Desktop, Rightclick > Create New Shortcut. Type “cmd” as the location. Click Next
  2. Name the shortcut “Google” (for this example) and click Finish
  3. Go to the properties for the link (Rightclick > Properties)
    Under the Shortcut tab, change the Run dropdown menu to select “Minimised
  4. Under Shortcut tab, append the following to Target (after C:\Windows\System32\cmd.exe):
    /c START https://www.google.com
    Target should now look like this:
    C:\Windows\System32\cmd.exe /c START https://www.google.com
    Breakdown:
    /c – runs the following string as a command.
    START – runs the following command
    <URL> – the url to run
  5. Next, you will need to move the shortcut to your Start Menu – Programs folder
    Navigate to C:\Users\<YOUR_USER>\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs
    You can also get to it by Start > Run > shell:programs
  6. Move the new shortcut to the Start Menu – Programs folder. You can now search for the site and Rightclick > Pin To Start if you wish.

Conclusion

All in all, there are noticable differences between the 3 browsers and how they integrate with Windows. For me, Chrome gives the most seamless experience to get the desired result. Being able to quickly search for a web-app and open it up from the Windows UI will allow you to be more productive.
I am surprised at how limited Edge is, since it is Microsoft’s own flagship browser afterall.

WSL and NPM: npm ERR! Error: EACCES: permission denied

Have you tried installing an NPM package and have been presented with errors similar to “npm ERR! Error: EACCES: permission denied”?
Chances are likely that you are using WSL (Windows Subsystem for Linux) and issuing commands from within VSCode terminal emulator.

Sadly, I will be unable to give you instructions on how to fix this. However, it seems to only occur whilst using the VSCode Terminal connected to a WSL.

To get around this, I have found that closing VSCode (all VSCode instances that are connected to the WSL) and issuing the command through the “app” terminal instead. You should now be able to install as normal!

Ryzen Master causing instability

Through some rigorous troubleshooting steps on a Ryzen 1700x recently, I have discovered that Ryzen Master was the cause of instability.

I am unable to rule out the suggestion that RAM compatibility might be part of the issue, however many symptoms have been fixed after removing Ryzen Master from the system.

Symptoms

  • Stuttering/Choppiness during games
  • Random FPS drops during games
  • Crashes during games
  • General instability

RM was installed on the system as a tool to monitor temps and voltages and was not intended to overclock. Having a search around, I read that Ryzen Master (once installed) uses a “default” profile. The default profile apparently comes with an overclock (which I was unaware of)

After removing Ryzen Master from the system, games instantly ran as expected. CS:GO no longer randomly stutters or freezes. Overwatch is as smooth as silk.

I would actually go as far as to recommend not using Ryzen Master for anything. At all. Seriously..

Further Reading

I read a somewhere that Ryzen Master was used to overclock the CPU. The issue arose when they tried to reverse the overclock. RM apparently overrides BIOS settings so resetting the BIOS is futile.

After removing Ryzen Master from Windows, they found that the overclock was still active. Flashing the BIOS still didn’t help. The solution was to reinstall Windows as Ryzen Master settings (somewhere) were still changing BIOS settings when Windows has been booted.

Sure, this part of my post is heresay, however after learning of this experience and solving my own issue, I will be sure not to install RM again (even of it is purely for monitoring purposes). If you plan to overclock, go old school!

C type sizes

typebytesminmax
signed int4-21474836482147483647
unsigned int404294967295
signed char1-128127
char1-128127
unsigned char10255
signed short int2-3276832767
unsigned short int2065535
signed long int8-92233720368547758089223372036854775807
unsigned long int8018446744073709551615

Add a “New file” to the Windows 10 Context Menu

Have you ever thought that life would be made easier and more productive if you had a quick way of creating a file at your fingertips?

Windows has always been very picky about file extensions, and non-standard Microsoft file types can be a pain to create quickly, but there’s a neat trick to add these to the “New” menu.

First you need to open up the Windows Registry Editor application and expand HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT

Within this list, you will need to search for your desired file extension.

In my case, I want to add Python files to the Context Menu. I will need to find a folder in this list named .py as this is the file extension used for python files.

Similarly, if you wanted to quickly create a new html file, you would look for .html

You will need to add a new Key named : ShellNew.
Right click on your desired file extension and click New -> Key.
Name it : ShellNew

You should now see a new “Folder” called ShellNew:

The last step will be to add a new String Value to the ShellNew key, named NullFile.
Right Click on ShellNew : New -> String Value

Name this : NullFile.
Your Registry Editor should now look something like this:

You can now check your Context Menu to see if your changes worked!

Enjoy your productivity!