Bluestacks 3 – Make Manual Desktop Shortcuts for Apps

Using Bluestacks 3 for android emulation on Windows 10 has always been my preferrence. One of its features is adding icons for installed apps to your desktop for quick access and convenience. Even though I usually delete them immediately there are times when I want them back, either because I really started enjoying the game and want quick access or because I want to add them as tiles for Windows 10 start menu. Unfortunately Bluestacks support says there just isn’t an easy way to get them back, if you’ve deleted them, short of uninstalling and downloading/installing again. I know support says its a feature that is planned for the future but I wanted to show you how to manually create them now without having to go through that mess.

I am doing this with Bluestacks 3 installed to default location on Windows 10 but this might help you do similar on other versions/platforms with minor adjustments and some problem solving skills.

About Bluestacks Version 3

About Bluestacks Information

One of the first things we need to do is find the internal app name of the APK file. I usually do this by getting the name from Google Play Store using my browser or or I use a File Manager  installed to my Bluestacks instance. To get the link from the google play store browse to the app you intend to create the shortcut for and grab the name from the URL, I’ll use the YouTube app to display this way of doing it then move on to using a File Manager app below the image.

This can seem a little daunting at first if your looking around with a file explorer on Bluestacks instead of just grabbing it from google play or if your APK was manually installed but its not to difficult. I recommend using File Manager by ZenUI, ASUS Computer Inc. to browse around Bluestacks files and locate what you need if you don’t already have a decent file manager installed its a great app and serves this purpose well.

File Manager by ZenUI, ASUS Computer Inc.

File Manager by ZenUI, ASUS Computer Inc.

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Now that we have the internal name of our app lets get started on that shortcut. If you aren’t already familiar with making shortcuts on Windows platform its a fairly simple process.

  1. Right Click an empty area on the desktop or inside a folder and hover over ‘New’ then click on ‘Shortcut’ in the submenu.
  2. Type the location of the item then click ‘Next’.
    • Guide: Change ‘EDIT BLUESTACKS APP NAME’ to the name shown in Bluestacks below the icon then change ‘EDIT.INTERNAL.APP.NAME‘ to the internal app name for the APK file …
      "C:\Program Files (x86)\BlueStacks\HD-RunApp.exe" -json "{""app_icon_url"": """", ""app_name"": ""EDIT BLUESTACKS APP NAME"", ""app_url"": """", ""app_pkg"": ""EDIT.INTERNAL.APP.NAME""}"
    • Example: YouTube app location to use for teh shortcut …
      "C:\Program Files (x86)\BlueStacks\HD-RunApp.exe" -json "{""app_icon_url"": """", ""app_name"": ""YouTube"", ""app_url"": """", ""app_pkg"": ""com.google.android.youtube""}"
  3. Type a Name for your shortcut and then click ‘Finish’

The next few images should be able to walk you through the process fairly quickly. Once we have a standard shortcut we will go back and change the properties to clean it up and add proper icons images.

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Now lets get to the edits required to clean it up and add proper icons images.

  1. Right click the shortcut icon and select ‘Properties’.
  2. Click on the ‘Change Icon’ button.
  3. Browse to ‘C:\ProgramData\BlueStacks\Engine\UserData\Library\Icons’ and select the appropriate icon.
  4. Type the app’s name in as the entry for ‘Comment’ and click ‘OK’.

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Now test your new shortcut 🙂 it should function exactly like any other app link created by Bluestacks during install 😉

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