Windows does not support relative paths in shortcuts. So, if you work on multiple computers and carry portable programs in a flash drive, you’ll have to launch each program by going inside its respective folder. HowToGeek.com has showed a solution to this problem by creating a batch (.bat) file and then converting it to an executable (.exe) file. That involves a lot of work.
In this post I will show you a simple way to create a portable shortcut with relative paths using the standard Windows shortcut creating wizard. Here are the steps:
- Create a new shortcut using Create Shortcut Wizard (right-click > Shortcut).
- In the field that asks you to enter the item’s location, enter:
- For name, provide the program (or file) name for which you are creating the shortcut, then hit Finish.
- Now, right-click on the new shortcut and select “Properties”.
- Under the “Shortcut” tab delete “C:\Windows” in “Start in” field to make it blank. This ensures that the shortcut will start in its current path.
- In Target field add this:
%windir%\explorer.exe. Following it, add the relative path to your program in double-quotes. For example,
%windir%\explorer.exe "\your\folder\app.exe” or
- If you want, replace the shortcut icon for whatever icon you prefer. But make sure it’s something from
%SystemRoot%\system32\SHELL32.dll. Relative-path trick doesn’t work in shortcut field.
- Click OK to close thhe Properties window.
- Place the new shortcut in its proper location (perhaps at the root folder of your USB drive).
That’s it. Try the shortcut now; it should open the application/file you want.
Instead of using a shortcut you could also create a batch file that uses a root relative path to the EXE file. For example,
@start "" "\Portable\App-name\app.exe"
The batch file should then work on any computer from anywhere on the flash drive, whatever the drive letter.
This tip has been tested and found working on Windows 8 and Windows 7, but should do so in other Windows versions as well.