Windows 8.1 introduced a Start Screen/All Apps view hybrid that lets users quickly access programs and apps no matter where they reside. Unfortunately, Windows 8 users have no such luxury yet, and we’ll show you how to gain access to the All Apps view so you’re not missing out.

The Modern Windows 8 environment is meant to make things easier on users. However, for those not used to the new design, it can be frustrating to find exactly what you need at a given time. Until you get used to Windows 8, tricks like adding this all apps shortcut can make the transition easier, especially without a Start Menu to rely on anymore.

Add An All Apps Shortcut In Windows 8

This will only work in Windows 8. You can create this shortcut in Windows 8.1, but it will only open the Search function of the Start Screen and not the All Apps view.

Head to your desktop and right-click anywhere in open space.


Click “New.”


Then, click “Shortcut.”


This will open the Create Shortcut Wizard.

Now, you’ll want to type in the following shortcut location:

C:\Windows\explorer.exe shell:::{2559a1f8-21d7-11d4-bdaf-00c04f60b9f0}

Depending on where you Windows 8 install is, you may need to adjust the drive and folders in the first part of the location.

Click “Next.”

(5) shortcut wizard 2

Now, you can name your shortcut anything you want. Click “Next” after naming it.


Windows 8 will create the shortcut ready for use on the desktop.

If you click on it, you’ll open the All Apps view as it appears in Windows 8.


If you want to get fancy with your shortcut, you can change the icon to give it a more Windows 8 feel.

Right-click the shortcut you created and click “Properties.”


Now, click “Change Icon….” and “Browse.”

(9) open properties

Head to the following location:



Click “Open.”


This will load a new set of icons for you to choose from, including some Windows 8-based ones that don’t appear otherwise.

Scroll all the way to the right and click the white space. These Windows 8 icons will show you, and you can select the All Apps view one. Then, click “OK.”


For easier functionality, you can drag and drop the All Apps shortcut into your Taskbar or pin it to the Start Screen. You could even open the Properties of the shortcut again and create a keyboard shortcut to access the All Apps view anytime you want.


Like we said, once Windows 8.1 is released, this will be included in the upgrade. While the upgrade to Windows 8.1 will make this possible for all users, you aren’t required to upgrade to it at the time. This can be a handy way to get the All Apps view in the meantime or you can stick with it after the Windows 8.1 preview goes live for users.