Create a Shortcut to Open a Website in a Non-Default Browser

In a perfect world, you’d be able to use your preferred browser to visit all your websites and browser-based applications. However, there are a number of applications–mostly intranet web applications–that do and don’t work with certain browsers. And unfortunately for me, my company has applications that require Internet Explorer and ones that require anything-but-Internet-Explorer.

Historically, I’ve kept track of various intranet sites by using bookmarks in my browser of choice. The fact that I’m forced to use different browsers to visit different sites throws a wrinkle in the plan, though. So what to do!?

The first step is to create a shortcut for the browser-specific website. The trick is to create a shortcut to the browser executable and pass the URL as a parameter. Follow these steps to create the shortcut:

  1. Right-click on your desktop or in a folder in WIndows Explorer and choose New > Shortcut
  2. For the “location of the item,” enter the path to your browser’s executable followed by the URL. Example: “C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer\iexplore.exe” http://www.msn.com

Using this technique, I can create shortcuts that launch different browsers and keep them in a folder on my desktop. By putting them into a common folder, I can keep all my shortcuts in one place. Of course, the annoying part of doing this is that I’ll have some work to do as browsers and applications evolve. I’ll need to manually update shortcuts if an install path changes or an application no longer needs the specific browser. But hey–it’s an imperfect solution to solve a problem caused by imperfect application.

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