Create shortcut to open URL in non-default browser

Internet Explorer ShortcutIf like me you have Firefox set as your default browser in Windows XP but need to create a desktop shortcut to a web page but force it to open in Internet explorer or any other non-default browser there are two methods to achive this:

Method 1 – Create from Scratch

Right click on the desktop and select New -> Shortcut:


You will then be asked for the location of the item for the shortcut. Ordinarily you would just type http://the_url_you_want/ here but that would cause the page to open in your system’s default browser which is not what you want. Instead, copy and paste one of the following depending which browser you want to force the shortcut to open in:

To force open a URL in Internet Explorer:
“C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\iexplore.exe” http://url_you_want

To force open a URL in Firefox:
“C:\Program Files\Mozilla Firefox\firefox.exe” http://url_you_want

After copying the blue text above you simply past that into the item location field, replacing the “url_you_want” with your chosen url. For example, if you had firefox set as your default browser but wanted to have a shortcut to that always opened in Internet Explorer it would look like:

"C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\iexplore.exe"

Method 2 – Modify a shortcut to the browser

What if you want to open in a browser other than IE or Firefox (Opera or Safari, etc). You can acieve the same result as Method 1 by first creating a shortcut to the browser program itself and then modifying this shortcut to include the URL or web page you want.

Click on Start, Programs and find the browser you wish to use. Click and drag the icon for the browser to the desktop from the Programs menu whilst holding down the CTRL key.


You should now have a shortcut to the browser on your desktop. In this example I have chosen Internet Explorer (see icon to the left).

ie7_shortcut4.jpgNext right click on the shortcut you just created and select properties from the popup menu. This should then load the shortcut’s properties page.

All you need to do now is click on the target field in the properties page and scroll to the very end (or hit the End Key on the keyboard). You now need to type the URL that you wish to open at the end of this field, in the example to the right I have chosen and appended this to the end of the target. Leave all the other settings the same for now and that’s the new shortcut done.


From this shortcut page you can easily choose a Shortcut Key combination (CTRL+ALT+B, etc) to launch your shortcut instantly and choose whether to open the web page in a maximised, minimised or normal sized window.

UPDATE Jan 2010 – As several users have pointed out in the comments, the above techniques do not work if you are running Vista or Windows 7 as the path to internet explorer EXE file has changed. In this case or if you want to apply the above to other browsers here’s what Xygris recommends:

For those with other browsers, different operating systems or just updated versions with different paths try just copying the shortcut from your start menu to your desktop (via drag & drop) and them appending the new shortcut with the URL.

Thanks for the heads up Xygris.

Unable to access (a few other sites) or sign into MSN messenger (fix)

Internet Explorer 7Had a strange problem recently whereby a Windows XP Pro machine didn’t seem to want to connect to the internet, or so it appeared. I tried accessing and and both returned error pages as did MSN Live Messenger when trying to log in.

I checked the BT HomeHub and the broadband light and LAN lights were on but I rebooted the hub just for good measure.

I then connected my iPhone to the hub via wi-fi and it was instantly online so no problem with the broadband connection itself and access to and was fine.

The ethernet cable from the router to the computer was seated correctly, the XP machine had picked up an IP properly from the router’s DHCP, it all seemed ok.

I tried accessing just in case it was a caching error and to my surprise it loaded the page without delay.  After trying a few others,,, etc I established it was just a handful of sites affected. Continue reading “Unable to access (a few other sites) or sign into MSN messenger (fix)”

Outlook reminders not working (fix)

Outlook LogoHaving migrated our Exchange server at work to a new machine, several of my employees noticed that the reminder window was no longer popping up to remind them of upcoming appointements, events, meetings, etc.

Luckily there was a nice easy fix:

  1. Quit Outlook
  2. Click Start->Run
  3. Type “outlook /cleanreminders” without the quotes and hit OK.
  4. Outlook will then launch after cleaning any corrupt appointments.
  5. Quit Outlook again.
  6. Click Start->Run
  7. Type “outlook /cleanfreebusy” without the quotes and hit OK.
  8. Outlook will then launch after cleaning any corrupt free/busy slots.
  9. That’s it.

4 of my employees had this problem with Outlook 2000 and Outlook 2003. The above fix worked first time for all of them.