Windows comes with a Win+X menu that displays some of the commonly used system tools and features such as the command prompt or the PowerShell console. Since Microsoft has not given the Win+X menu any official name, some people call it the power menu or the administrator menu. Microsoft has not given any options to add new shortcuts to this menu, but there is a simple way to add new shortcuts. Thanks to a simple tool developed by Rafael Rivera, you can add your own custom shortcuts to the Win+X menu in a very easy manner. Here is how:
- Press the key combination Win+R to open the Run dialog.
- Type %LocalAppData%\Microsoft\Windows\WinX\Group3 in the Run dialog and press Enter.
- Copy and paste the shortcut of any application that you want to add to the Win+X menu in the folder opened in step 2 above. For example, I have copy-pasted the shortcut of the open-source ShareX screenshot software.
- Download hashlnk tool from https://github.com/riverar/hashlnk/tree/master/bin. Extract the hashlnk.exe file from the ZIP archive to a folder anywhere on the local hard drive. In my case, I extracted it to “C:\hashlnk\” folder.
- Open a command prompt and type hashlnk.exe followed by the full path of the LNK file (shortcut you copied in step 3). In my case, I typed C:\hashlnk\hashlnk.exe %LocalAppData%\Microsoft\Windows\WinX\Group3\ShareX.lnk.
- You will see a message – “Hash generated and applied”. At this point you have to sign-out from Windows and sign-in again (or you can reboot Windows). After signing-in to Windows once again, press the key combination Win+X and you will see the newly added shortcut.
The hashlnk tool was developed by Rafael Rivera and was made open-source by the developer. He originally developed this tool for Windows 8 but it continues to work in Windows 8.1 and Windows 10. You can read more about how he developed this tool and what this tool really does on Rafael Rivera’s website: https://withinrafael.com/2012/06/01/the-winx-menu-and-its-hashing-algorithm-revisited/.