[Windows] RStudio Desktop Shortcut


I teach research methods and statistics, and the very first hurdle I troubleshoot is students being unable to find RStudio once it’s installed on Windows machines. There will be at least one student (usually five in a class of 20) who will inevitably click on R instead of RStudio, because R creates desktop shortcuts by default.

While I find it puzzling why some are unable to figure out where programs are installed on their machines (despite my repeated nagging), I think it may be helpful to have the RStudio installer have an option to create a desktop shortcut, and to have the desktop shortcut created by default.

Have other instructors encountered this issue? What do you think?


I run into this problem very often!

When I started working with R Studio I was confused as well and multiple times clicked on R over R Studio icon. I guess it’s somehow inevitable :nerd_face:. I usually ask students to open both so they see the difference in environment of R and R Studio, afterwards they remember which is which, some of them saying when told to open R Studio: “That means to open the nicer R, right?”


One of the initial boxes on the :ballot_box_with_check: checklist for my students is to create a custom installation directory for both R and RStudio. Once that is done, they are to create a shortcut on their desktop or start menu (or wherever best suits their workflow).

This makes things easier when updating both R and RStudio. It helps to fix compatibility problems with the former, as the previous installation and packages are in a known place. The shortcut for the latter will stay up-to-date even after updating to newer versions of RStudio.

It is important to try to address these early steps, as any problems here can cascade down the line. The biggest threat is losing student engagement so early.


Thanks for sharing! I like your idea of having students open both, so they remember which is which. And yes, RStudio is definitely the nicer R (or niceR)! :smiley:

The challenge is R creates desktop shortcuts by default, whereas students have to search for RStudio post-installation, and either manually create a desktop shortcut, or pin to taskbar.


I completely agree about student engagement, and this is great advice; thanks for sharing.

I hadn’t thought about custom installation directories but the bit about package persistence across R updates sold me! I think I’ll do that on my own machine! :+1: