One of the things I find incredibly frustrating about the removal of the Start Menu on Windows 8 is there’s not “Recent Files” menu anymore. For me, this was incredibly useful as multiple times a week I’d be opening the same OneNote notebook, Excel spreadsheet, etc.
So, how are we supposed to get around this? One of my UX buddies suggested Microsoft should create, by default, a “recent items” group on your Start Screen, that you could rearrange, remove, and add back as you see fit. This would be sweet. Hell, I’d settle for app jump list availability from the Start Screen (ie: right click Excel, have “recent items” in the app bar, pop up a context menu of recent files to open w/ Excel). But alas, none of these options are available.
The alternative, I guess, is to pin the actual document to your start screen:
Uh… how??? If you right click a file, you’re met with the above context menu. If you right click a folder however, you get the option to Pin to Start:
But I don’t want to pin the whole damn folder!
For the solution, we have to harken back to how the “old” Start Menu was stored in the file system. If you recall, we had a directory:
And guess what, we still do!
So, what we can do, then, is take the file and create a shortcut in to this folder on the hard drive:
But don’t try to do it via drag & drop – you need Administrator permissions. You’ll quickly be met with this:
I click ‘Yes’ here, then Cut & Copy the shortcut in to the Programs folder. Upon doing that, you’re met with the alert that you need to provide Administrator permission and to Continue, Skip, or Cancel. Click Continue of course.
Now great, we’ve got it in the Programs folder. It still won’t show up in the Start Screen. To do that there’s one more piece. First, go to “All Apps” on the Start Screen:
Then on THAT list, you should see your new shortcut show up, most likely on the far left. Now you can right-click that and Pin to Start!
And voila, you now have quick access to a file you always use.
[UPDATE] The main annoyance I’ve had w/ this approach is that, if you have more than one user on your PC you’ll see that the file you dropped in doing the above steps now shows up for all users – ugh, annoying. Of course there’s a way to fix this. Instead of using the C:\ProgramData location, use this one:
where ‘Brandon’ is your username. Enjoy!