You may have noticed that with Internet Explorer 9, dragging a site’s icon to your desktop results not only in a link being created, but also the IE window being refreshed.
Why does that happen? (And is there a choice?)
By default, when you click and drag a site icon to desktop, you’ll create a Pinned Site Shortcut.
The page is relocated to a new window, which will show it as a pinned site. For example, you’ll see the navigation buttons take on the key color of the site icon (or the msapplication-navbutton-color meta element.) More on pinned sites in a moment.
Just want a basic link without the extras?
Hold down Shift then drag & drop the site icon to the desktop. This will create an Internet Shortcut. You’ll notice IE does not move or change in this case.
You may be asking “So… why the two options?”
Pinned Site Shortcuts use the .website file extension, and Internet Shortcuts use the .url extension. They look the same when a site has a favicon, and slightly different without:
“Um, that’s fascinating, Chris, but what’s the practical difference?”
Certainly the most substantial difference is that one gives you a pinned site, along with the many features they support – Jump Lists, Notifications, Thumbnail Toolbars, etc. Links for learning more are at the end of this post.
Let’s look at some other differences.
Firing up the right mouse button, here are the right-click menus for each (Internet Shortcut on left, Pinned Site Shortcut on right):
Mostly the same, except the Internet Shortcut offers “Print”, and the Pinned Site Shortcut offers to pin to the Start Menu and Taskbar. Speaking of which…
Dragging (or pinning) the shortcuts to the Taskbar has different effects by shortcut type:
This post focused on the differences in shortcut features, but there’s much more that pinned sites can do (and generally don’t need much work to enable.) Here’s where to find more:
Enjoy making those shortcuts!
From what I see people are not preferring this new default behavior in IE9. I joined an MSDN thread and submitted my analysis here,
I would like to see this behavior user configurable at least, since it breaks my current UI navigation habits.