Holy cow, I wrote a book!
Anonymous bemoans the fact that
pinning programs to the Start menu (in Windows XP) actually
pins the shortcut rather than the program itself.
This means that if you right-click on a shortcut to pin it,
then delete the shortcut, the pinned item stops working.
How do you pin the program directly?
You pin the program directly by right-clicking on the program directly.
If you right-click on a shortcut and select
Pin to Start menu, then you're
pinning the shortcut.
This is sort of obvious, because after all, that's what you right-clicked on.
If you want to pin the raw program, then dive into the Program Files
folder and right-click the EXE and select
Pin to Start menu.
Now you pinned the program executable rather than a shortcut.
The Windows XP Start menu behaves this way instead of
tunnelling through the shortcut to the executable because
the shortcut itself contains valuable information
such as name, command line parameters, hotkey, working directory,
If you have a shortcut called "Development command prompt"
that has custom console colors and runs CMD.EXE
with a working directory set to your development tree and
with a special startup batch file (via the /K command
line switch) to set up your environment variables,
and you right-click on that shortcut and selected
Pin to Start menu,
then you would probably be upset if the thing that actually
got pinned to your Start menu was a boring CMD.EXE
command prompt with no options and no customization.
"It would be nice if Windows were a bit more intuitive about this."
provide any specific suggestion as to what would be more intuitive.
Pinning the executable and throwing away the shortcut properties
is definitely not intuitive.
The Windows 7 folks thought about this and came up with something
that hopefully meets the a bit more intuitive criterion:
When you pin a shortcut to the taskbar or the Start menu,
they make a copy of the shortcut and pin the copy.