Tech – for Everyone

Tech Tips and Tricks & Advice – written in plain English.

Customize Your Shortcuts “Sidebar”

Whenever you Open, or Save, a file in Windows, a standard ‘dialog box’ appears, which shows ‘shortcut’ locations on the left “sidebar”. You can easily customize these locations to add or remove folders to best suit your personal usage habits.

For example, I never use the “Public” folder, nor do I do music on my PC (other than listen to Spotify), and I cannot recall ever, in decades of using a computer, wanting to Save As something to my recent searches list — why have those in my sidebar?
I do however, have certain ‘go to’ locations I would like see listed..

Here is the how-to tutorial for customizing the shortcuts:

1. Open a dialog box (either a Save As or Open dialog will work).
2. Right click on some white space in the locations on the left pane and select Open Favorite Links Folder. (or navigate to: “C:\Users\your User name\Links”.)

You will now see the “default” shortcuts listed (these are ‘shortcuts to’ and not the actual locations, and so it is safe to delete them).

3. Add or remove shortcuts as desired. (A quick way to access your folders, so you can ‘drag and drop’ them, is to ‘expand’ the folders list.)

To continue my example, I will delete (or, drag to the Recycle bin) the shortcuts in the main pane: Music, Public, and Searches (as I don’t use ’em ever).

For some reason.. (a “Windows Quirk”) the ‘Public’ folder tried to re-appear, so I ‘deleted’ it a second time.. to make it ‘stick’..
I then located the two folders I most use (Desktop and Downloads)

4. Right-click on the folder you wish to add, and drag it into the main ‘pane’, let go (release the click) and choose Add shortcut here.

Your changes should take effect immediately, as you can see by the new icons in my sidebar.

(Yes, Desktop is there twice now.. but my change is the icon on top, which means it will always show, even if my dialog box is scrunched down to tiny size)

If you make mistakes, or just want to go back to the standard (aka ‘default’) list, repeat Step 1, but choose Restore Default Favorite Links.

Today’s quote:People are always blaming their circumstances for what they are. I don’t believe in circumstances. The people who get on in this world are the people who get up and look for the circumstances they want, and, if they can’t find them, make them.” ~ G.B. Shaw

Copyright 2007-2012 © “Tech Paul” (Paul Eckstrom). All Rights Reserved.

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November 8, 2012 - Posted by | advice, computers, how to, Microsoft, PC, tech, tweaks, Vista, Windows, Windows 7, Windows 8


  1. Hello Mr. Techpaul…… Excellent sharing of knowledge…. Thank you very much.


    Comment by jotoku | November 8, 2012 | Reply

    • jotoku,
      Thank you for taking the time to let me know you liked my article.

      Over the years, I have posted almost 2,000 entries here. If you liked this one, you might want to also look at my older “How To” entries, here:


      Comment by techpaul | November 8, 2012 | Reply

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