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In general, a shortcut is a path that is shorter than the usual or formal path to something or a method of operation that saves time over the regular operation. In Windows 95 and later operating system s, a shortcut is a computer desktop icon that enables a user to easily see and select a particular program or data object. The operating system comes with some shortcuts already visible on the desktop. A user can remove these or add new ones.

To create a shortcut in Windows 95 or 98, click on My Computer, then click on your "C" drive (or other drive where your files may be). Find the folder or file that you want to put on your desktop, click on it with the right mouse button, and select Create Shortcut from the pop-up menu. A new icon will now appear in My Computer. Hold the left mouse button down and drag the new icon to your desktop (you may need to minimize the My Computer window to do this). Now your new file or program will always be visible for quick selection on your desktop without having to go through Start menus or the Windows file manager.

In the Macintosh operating system, a shortcut is called an "alias".

This was last updated in April 2005

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