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Did you know you can add website shortcuts to Windows 11 by right-clicking the desktop, selecting New > Shortcut, and entering a URL? However, you can’t set up shortcuts that open multiple websites with that method. Nor do browsers include the option to create multiple webpage desktop shortcuts.
To set up shortcuts that open multiple websites, you’ll need to create batch file scripts. That's an easy job for batch savvy users, but not ideal for those who've never scripted such files. However, you can also set up batch file shortcuts for opening webpages and files with AutoStarter X4 as outlined below.
How to Download and Extract the AutoStarter X4 ZIP
AutoStarter X4 is a handy freeware program compatible with all Windows platforms dating back to XP at least. That app automatically generates batch file scripts for opening website pages and files. All you have to do is select a few configuration options within the software, and AutoStarter X4 will set up the batch file for you.
AutoStarter X4 enables you to set up batch file desktop shortcuts that open multiple web pages and files. It lets you make far more robust and technical shortcuts than you can create within Windows 11.
To set up batch file scripts with AutoStarterX4, you’ll first need to download AutoStarter X4’s ZIP archive and extract it as follows.
- Open AutoStarter X4’s Softpedia page within your browser.
- Click the Download Now option to save AutoStarter X4’s ZIP archive to a folder.
- Select the AutoStarter X4 ZIP archive, and click Extract all on File Explorer’s command bar.
- Click Browse to choose a folder to extract the AutoStarter X4 ZIP archive.
- Then click the checkbox for the Show extracted files complete option.
- Select Extract to extract the archive.
- Click AutoStarter X4 in its extracted folder to open the window in the screenshot directly below.
How to Set Up a Batch File That Opens Multiple Websites
Now you can set up a desktop shortcut for opening multiple websites, which is quite straightforward in AutoStarter X4. To show how that’s done, we’ll set up a batch file desktop shortcut that opens both the Google and Bing search engines within Microsoft Edge. This is how you can set up such a shortcut.
- Click the Start button in AutoStarter X4.
- Then select the Webpage(s) option on the menu to bring up the window shown directly below.
- Press the Browse button to select Microsoft Edge’s path. The default location for that software is C:Program Files (x86)MicrosoftEdgeApplicationmsedge.exe.
- Then type https://www.google.com https://www.bing.com in the Enter your webpage URL text box. Note that all website URLs must include the https:// part and the different page addresses should be separated by a space.
- Select OK on the Add Webpage(s) window.
- Now press the Create Batch button.
- Press the Browse button within the Save / Update Batch File window.
- Select to save the file to the desktop.
- Type a title for the batch in the File name box.
- Then click the Save button.
- Press the Save / Update button.
- Now you should see your new batch file on the desktop. Clicking that shortcut will open the Google and Bing search engine sites in Edge.
That wasn’t too tricky, was it? Now you can set up batch file shortcuts that open any number of your favorite websites with that method.
Note that you’ll need to select the Save Project option if you ever want to reopen them within AutoStarter X4 for further editing. The software has an asx4 file format for its batch file projects.
To view the batch script, right-click the file shortcut on the desktop and select Show more options > Edit. A Notepad text document will open that includes the script. You can modify the script further from there.
How to Combine Website and File Shortcuts
Why stop at setting up desktop shortcuts that open multiple websites? AutoStarter X4 also enables you to set up batch files that open multiple files. So, you set up a batch file that opens both website pages and files with this software.
To add a file for an AutoStarter batch file project to open, click the red Start button. Select the Open file with program option to bring up the window in the screenshot directly below. Click the Browse buttons on that window to select both a file and a program to open it in. Select OK when you’re done.
You can select as many files as you wish for the shortcut to open. Select the Webpage(s) option to throw some websites in for good measure. Then click the Create Batch option, and select to save the file to the desktop.
How to Assign Hotkeys to Batch File Shortcuts
When you’ve added some batch file shortcuts to the desktop, you can assign hotkeys to them. By doing so, you’ll be able to bring up the websites and files they open by pressing their respective keyboard shortcuts. This is how you can assign hotkeys to batch files saved to the desktop.
- Right-click the batch file on the desktop and select Show more options.
- Select Send to > Desktop to create a shortcut file type for the batch file.
- Then you can remove the target batch file off the desktop by right-clicking it and selecting Show more options > Move to folder. Choose a folder to move it to, and select click the Move option.
- Right-click the batch file’s new desktop shortcut to select Properties.
- Click inside the Shortcut key box and press a keyboard key to set up a Ctrl + Alt hotkey. For example, pressing B will establish a Ctrl + Alt + B hotkey.
- Select Apply to save the new hotkey.
- Thereafter, press the OK button.
- Now you can press the batch file shortcut’s hotkey to open the websites and files.
Create More Flexible Website Shortcuts With AutoStarter X4
Windows 11’s built-in shortcut options aren’t very flexible, but that hardly matters when you’ve got AutoStarter X4. AutoStarter X4 is an amazingly handy tool for such a lightweight program. With that software, you can set up much more versatile shortcuts with which to quickly open multiple websites and files whenever you need them.
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About The Author
(45 Articles Published)
Jack has been a freelance tech journalist for more than a decade. He has covered Windows Vista, 7, 10, and 11 topics within a multitude of guides for Make Use Of and numerous other websites.
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