The Start Menu is most likely where you begin every time you turn on your computer. Despite a brief hiatus with Windows 8, it’s been a mainstay of the Windows desktop for decades, with a track record as a reliable app launcher. Unfortunately, it still attracts an excessive amount of bloat as you use your computer. The Start Menu Apps List on a fresh Windows 10 installation is fairly tidy.
The majority of apps, especially those from the Store that are UWP, are found at the top of the menu. A few folders, such as “Windows Accessories,” are included in Windows to organize less frequently used utilities.
Your app list can quickly become disorganized as you add more apps to your PC. Apps can add whatever shortcuts they want to the menu, and there isn’t much consistency between them. Desktop apps, in particular, have a habit of creating a new folder for themselves, which contains a slew of uninstall, settings, and website links. You may find it more difficult to locate an app over time, and unwanted shortcuts may appear in Windows Search.
Start Menu folders
There is still hope. To restore some order to your PC, you can manually move, create, and delete Start menu shortcuts. In the background, Windows uses the same Start menu shortcut storage system as previous versions.
On your computer, app list entries are stored in one of two folders. These locations are simply regular directories, the contents of which are displayed in the Start menu by default.
The following are the two directories:
The Run prompt (press Win+R to open it quickly) is the quickest way to open either of these locations. Press “OK” after copying and pasting the directory into the box. Alternatively, you can copy and paste directory paths into File Explorer’s address bar.
As previously stated, these paths are nothing more than regular folders. The structure of your Start menu should be replicated immediately within the two “Programs” folders. Simply select the shortcut or folder you want to delete and press the delete key. You’ll notice it’s gone when you reopen the Start menu.
What should I do now?
When looking for a specific shortcut or folder, keep in mind that it could be in either of the two directories. Right-clicking a shortcut in the Start menu and selecting “More > Open file location” is a quick way to find out where it is.
In general, software installed for all users of your PC adds shortcuts to “%programdata%,”” whereas software installed for your profile only goes into “%appdata%.” For all user accounts on your PC, every shortcut and folder you add to the “%programdata%” location will appear in the Start menu.
You should be able to clean up your apps list now that the Start Menu storage system has been revealed. You could try removing desktop apps from individual folders or making your own custom folders to collect various types of apps. Copy, paste, and delete shortcuts and folders as needed using File Explorer.
Adding new shortcuts
You might also want to expand the menu with new shortcuts. We’ll add a link to the “winver” utility, which displays the “About Windows” version prompt, in this example. In the Start menu, we’ll call our link “About Windows.”
Open the folder in your Start menu (we’ll use “% appdata% ” because we don’t want other user accounts to see our shortcut). Right-click the background of File Explorer and select “New > Shortcut.” Type “winver” in the prompt that appears and press OK. To name your shortcut, type “About Windows” on the next screen. When you press OK and open the Start Menu, your shortcut should appear!
You’ll need to know the path to the executable file of a program that doesn’t come with Windows before you can create a shortcut to it (usually a “.exe” file). To find programs on your computer, use the “Browse” button in the shortcut wizard. They’ll usually be found in the “C:WindowsProgram Files” folder, in a directory called after the program or developer’s name.