How to create a Favorite using GPO Preferences


  • Open up the Group Policy Management Console (on a Server 2008 or above machine)
  • Create a new Group Policy Object (or open an existing one if you are feeling brave)
  • Navigate to User Configuration > Preferences > Windows Settings > Shortcuts





  • You can use the Shortcuts section of GPP to create all sorts of links for the Desktop, Start Menu, Programs or URLs. To create a new Favorite, right-click Shortcuts > New > Shortcuts
  • The brings up the Properties panel for a new shortcut. If you’ve used GPPs before, you should be familiar with the layout



  • l’ve filled out the key bits of information needed as I don’t need anything fancy like custom icons
    1. Action = Update – This creates a new shortcut or updates an existing one
    2. Name = Whatever you want to show up in the user’s favorites.
      1. Tip: You can create a new subfolder for the Favorites by using a backslash e.g. “Corp Shotrcuts\Adam IT Blog”
    3. Target Type = URL (because it’s a web link not an app shortcut)
    4. Location = Explorer Favorites – This creates the favorite in the main folder of IE Favorites (e.g. %USERPROFILE%\Favorites). You could choose Explorer Links if you want it to appear on the Favorites Bar
    5. Target URL = The destination address where you want the Favorite to link to.
    6. If you want the favorite to be removed when the policy no longer applies, click the Common tab and tick the 3rd checkbox. This will change the Action to Replace, which means the shortcut gets deleted and recreated each time the policy is applied.
    7. If you need more help, click the Help button! It actually opens a very detailed help file that explains everything


  • That’s all there is to it. Just repeat for all of your Favorites
    1. Tip #1: You can use the CSV file from the first bit of this article to copy the Names and URLs for each shortcut. This saves time and avoids typo’s!
    2. Tip #2:   After you have created the first Shortcut item, right-click it and select copy, then paste it as many times as you want. This speeds up the creation process slightly
    3. Tip #3: If you think you will be doing this a lot, you could create an AutoHotKey Macro to automate it completely

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