How To Add Portable App to Start Menu

Is your portable application not appearing in the Start menu? Follow these steps to add a portable app to the Start menu in Windows.

For most Windows users, portable apps are fantastic. One of the main advantages of a portable app is that you don’t have to install it. Download the portable app, execute the EXE file, and you can start using the application without any installation procedure. The best thing is, when using a portable application, you get all the advantages of a regular application, including advanced functionality.

Though most portable apps function similarly to installable applications, one missing thing is that they don’t appear in the Start menu by default. After all, there is no installation or initial setup process in most cases. If it doesn’t appear in the  Start menu, it becomes hard to find the app via the Start menu search.

To remedy that, most portable applications have an option or two to add themselves to the Start menu. That way, you can search for the app in the Start menu and pin it to the taskbar or Start menu.

You can easily add a portable app to the Start menu if the app doesn’t have the option or cannot find it. It is pretty easy to do.

This easy Windows how-to guide shows you how to add a portable app to the Start menu.

Add a portable app to the Start menu

To add a portable app to the Start menu, you must create the app shortcut and place it in the Start menu folder. It’s that easy. Let me show you the exact steps.

  1. Launch the File Explorer with “Win + I.”
  2. Go to the portable application’s folder.
  3. Right-click on the application’s EXE file.
  4. Choose the “Create a shortcut” option.
  5. Select the shortcut and press “Ctrl + C.”
  6. Open the Run window with “Win + R.”
  7. Paste “%appdata%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs” and click “Ok.”
  8. Press “Ctrl + V” to paste the shortcut in the Start menu folder.
  9. Close the File Explorer.
  10. The application will appear in the Start menu within a few seconds.
  11. (Optional) Right-click on the app and choose “Pin to Start.”
  12. This action pins the portable app to the Start menu.

Steps with a bit more detail:

The first thing we must do is create a shortcut for the portable application. To do that, open the File Explorer with the “Win + E” shortcut, go to the portable application’s folder, right-click on the application’s EXE file, and choose the “Create a shortcut option.”

Note: Windows 11 users should choose the “Show more options > Create a shortcut” option from the right-click menu. Alternatively, hold down the “Alt” key and drag & drop the EXE file in the same folder to create a shortcut.

create the portable application shortcut

You can rename the shortcut if you want.

rename the portable app shortcut

After creating the shortcut, select it and press the “Ctrl + C” shortcut to copy it.

Now, open the Run dialog window with the “Win + R” shortcut. Paste “%appdata%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs” in the blank field and press the “Ok” button. This action opens the Start menu folder in the File Explorer.

Once in the Start menu folder, press the “Ctrl + V” shortcut to paste the portable app shortcut you copied earlier.

add portable app to start menu

Close the  File Explorer. Give the system a few minutes to index the changes. After the system indexes the changes, you should see the newly added portable app in the Start menu.

portable app appearing in the start menu

(Optional) If needed, you can pin the portable app to the Start menu. That way, you can launch the portable app from the Start menu without searching for it. To pin the portable app to the Start menu, search for it in the Start menu, right-click on the app and choose the “Pin to Start” option.

That is all. It is that simple to add a portable app to the Start menu in Windows.

I hope this simple and easy Windows how-to guide helped you.

If you are stuck or need some help, comment below, and I will try to help as much as possible.

Scroll to Top