PDQ Library:  Organizing Windows 7 Start Menu

You must use an administrator-level account to follow any of these instructions.

Organizing your Start Menu Icons

In Windows XP you could organize program icons (shortcuts) in the Start Menu easily by right-clicking on the START button and selecting that function. You also could drag and drop items. In Windows 7, you are only offered that method to move items into folders. It's a bit slow, but fool-proof. Here is how you move a program icon (shortcut) into the Accessories folder:

  1. Click Start, All Programs, then Accessories to open the Accessories folder tree (left pane).
  2. Scroll upward until you see a program you wish to move into the Accessories folder.
  3. Click and drag the icon to a spot in the Accessories folder (a line will appear to indicate the location) and release the mouse button.
  4. The icon should move into the location you selected.

Creating a New Folder in the Start Menu

To organize your Start Menu, you can create your own folders to move (or copy) program icons into. To create a new folder:

  1. Click Start (within an administrator-level account), then optionally All Programs.
  2. Right-click on a spot between the items listed, and select New Folder.
  3. Type a name for the folder, such as Apps, Tools or Media.
  4. Move or copy Items into the new folder.

Manual Method of Organizing the Start Menu

Geeks only (backups recommended): To organize your programs more easily, you can also use Windows Explorer to move items around. It's faster if you have many items to organize, but please take care editing directly using administrator privileges. The Start Menu you see when you click on the Start key is a merge of several start menus. You probably should not mix them up.

Shown below are the locations of three Win7 start menus on a one-user system. Play nice - don't move icons from one start menu folder tree to a second one. Instead, duplicate the folder in the first Start Menu, and move icons in that tree into it. When you click the Start Menu, the icon will appear in the correct folder with all the other items in the same folder name in all the other Start Menus. If this seems all too confusing, just use the previous method.

  1. Start Menu Default: "C:\Users\Default\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu"
  2. Start Menu User (you): "C:\Users\USERNAME\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu"
  3. Start Menu Program Data: "C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu"
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