Tailoring Your Windows 11 Experience: Renaming Pinned Apps for Clarity


“In our current setup, we utilize a Group Policy Object (GPO) to add custom shortcuts and applications to the Start menu, which functions effectively on Windows 10. However, with the transition to Windows 11, we’re encountering issues with the pinned apps section not reflecting these customizations. I’ve attempted to manually pin the applications and generate a JSON file for deployment, but I’ve run into a challenge: the shortcuts’ names default to the name of the executable they launch, rather than a distinct name that indicates their purpose. This is particularly problematic for a program we use that requires running multiple instances via different Edge profiles; all pinned shortcuts simply display ‘Edge,’ making it unclear what each shortcut is for. I’ve considered modifying the registry to address this but haven’t found a solution. Is there an alternative method to rename these pinned shortcuts so their function is immediately apparent?”


With the advent of Windows 11, IT administrators are facing a new challenge. Group Policy Objects (GPOs) that once efficiently managed custom shortcuts and applications in the Start menu for Windows 10 are now falling short. The core issue arises with the pinned apps section in Windows 11, which does not reflect the customizations made through GPOs. This is particularly evident when attempting to pin applications manually and deploy them via a JSON file. The shortcuts, instead of displaying a customized name, revert to the name of the executable they launch. This becomes a significant problem when dealing with applications that require multiple instances to run under different profiles, such as Microsoft Edge. The result is a series of indistinguishable shortcuts, all labeled simply as “Edge,” leaving users without a clear indication of each shortcut’s function.

The Solution:

Fortunately, there are methods to circumvent this limitation and ensure that your shortcuts are clearly labeled according to their intended purpose. Here’s a step-by-step guide to renaming pinned shortcuts in Windows 11:


Accessing the Start Menu Folder:

First, navigate to the Start Menu folder by right-clicking on the application you wish to rename in the Start Menu and selecting ‘More’ followed by ‘Open file location’. This can also be achieved by unhiding hidden files and folders and navigating to `C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs`.


Renaming the Shortcuts:

Within this directory, you’ll find all the programs currently listed in the Start Menu. Right-click on the desired application and select ‘Rename’. Enter the new name that you wish to appear for the shortcut.


Applying the Changes:

After entering the new name, you may encounter a prompt asking for confirmation to proceed with the change. Click ‘Continue’ to apply the new name.

Limitations and Considerations:

It’s important to note that this method does not allow the renaming of pre-installed system applications such as Calendar, Calculator, or Camera. However, for third-party applications or those installed externally, this process should work seamlessly.


By following these steps, you can effectively rename the shortcuts for your applications in Windows 11, ensuring that each is easily identifiable and serves its intended purpose. This solution provides a straightforward workaround to the limitations posed by Windows 11’s pinned apps section, allowing for a more organized and user-friendly Start Menu.

This approach offers a practical solution to the issue at hand. However, it’s worth noting that the landscape of operating systems is ever-evolving, and staying informed about the latest updates and tools provided by Microsoft can further enhance your ability to manage and customize the user experience in Windows 11. Keep an eye out for updates that may introduce new features or changes to the Start Menu and pinned apps functionality.

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