The icons that lay cluttered on your Windows Desktop aren't just for running programs - you can do other things like shutting down the computer, chat using Google Talk, quickly compose an email, open multiple websites at once or just run your favorite programs faster.

Here's a quick list of desktop shortcut that can help you boost productivity.

Shut Down, Log Off or Restart Windows in 1-Click

Right-click anywhere on the desktop and choose New->Shortcut. Now type the following command in the target box (without the square brackets)

%SystemRoot%\system32\shutdown.exe -s -t 00 [to shut down]

%SystemRoot%\system32\shutdown.exe -r [to reboot]

%SystemRoot%\system32\shutdown.exe -l [to log off]

Click Next and type a name of this shortcut. [more here]

Create a pre-addressed e-mail message from the desktop

If you frequently send email to or even multiple people, you can create a desktop shortcut that will launch a compose message window in your default email editor (like Outlook, Thunderbird, GMail, etc).

Just type the following command in the target box from New->Shortcut as explained previously: [create a new e-mail message that is pre-addressed to Bill Gates]; [create a new e-mail message that is pre-addressed to Bill Gates as well as Steve Jobs]

Start Microsoft Office Programs without the Splash Screen

You can suppress the splash screens of Microsoft Office software like Word, Excel, Powerpoint, etc with a simple trick - append a /q switch in the application shortcut.
"D:\Program Files\Microsoft Office 2007\Office12\WINWORD.EXE" /q
The above example will start Microsoft Word in quiet mode.

Send an Instant Message or Make a Call via GTalk

When you have a long list of contacts in Google Talk, this will come in very handy. Create a shortcut on your desktop for gtalk buddies with whom you frequently chat or call as mentioned below:

gtalk:chat? (starts a chat)

gtalk:call? (starts a call)

Click on the desktop shortcut and a message window pops-up for you to type the message , no need to hunt for that name in your long GTalk buddy list. [via]

Start Skype in Minimized mode

Select an existing Skype shortcut menu or create a new one using the same method New -> Shortcut and browse for skype.exe. Add the /minimized switch.

skype.exe /minimized

Skype is minimized to system tray when it starts.

Launch Firefox with Multiple Websites

Say you want to check gmail, Adsense earnings, orkut scraps in one go.

Just create a desktop shortcut with the following text in the target box.

firefox.exe "||"

[Alternatively, you can add these URLs to the Firefox home-page list in the settings window]