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Bring Shortcuts Back To Your Start Menu In Windows 7

Matt from OH asks:

The Shotcuts on my start menu are a little…lacking. Any way I can bolster my selection a bit?

(Note: although this guide is written primarily with Windows 7 users in mind, these methods can also be adapted to work in other versions as well. Steps 15-22 in particular are simple to implement across virtually any version of Windows since Windows 98.)

Finding your Start menu shortcut listing to be lacking its shortcuts? There’s a fix for that:

Step 1. Click on the “Start” button in the lower left corner of your taskbar. Your Start Menu will open.


Step 2. Click on the “Computer” button/link in the Start menu to open up your disk dive list.


Step 3. Double click on the “Local Disk (C:)” icon under the “Hard Disk Drives (#)” sub heading. Your disk drive list will update to show the contents of your C: drive.


Step 4. At the top of your C: drive directory listing, click the “Organize” button and select “Folder and search options” from the top of your list. The “Folder Options” dialog box will appear.


Step 5. In the “Folder Options” dialog box, click the “View” tab to display the various folder display option available.


Step 6. Under the “Advanced settings:” options, find the “Hidden files and folders” options, and select “Show hidden files, folders, and drives.”


Step 7. Click the “Apply” button in the lower right corner of the “Folder Options” dialog, followed by the “Apply to Folders” button at the top of the “View” tab.


Step 8. Click the “OK” button to close the “Folder Options” dialog.

You will be taken back to your C: drive directory listing, where you now see a number of formerly hidden file folders displayed, denoted by a slightly less opaque folder icon next to their name.

Step 9. Find and open the following folders in this order (each folder will open a new directory listing containing the folder found after the “>”): ProgramData > Microsoft > Windows > Start Menu > Programs


Step 9-1. Alternatively, if you have your address bar enabled, copy and replace the currently displayed address with the following (without quotes): “C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs” and hit the “Enter” key.


Step 10. You should now see all the shortcuts available on your computer. Select the shortcuts you wish to place back into your “All Programs” Start menu folder, and copy them to your clipboard (CTRL+C)


Step 11. Click the “Start” button on your taskbar to once again open your start menu, and right click the “All Programs” link.


Step 12. In the small submenu which appears, click “Open.” Your Start menu program shortcuts folder will appear.

Step 13. Open the “Programs” folder and paste (CTRL+V) your shortcuts into it.


Step 14. Re-open your “All Programs” shortcut listing in your Start menu. Your missing multi-user shortcuts should now be back where they belong.


If, at this point, you are still missing a shortcut or two, attempt to create new shortcuts by following these steps:

Step 15. Close all windows and Follow Steps 1-3 to return to your C: drive directory listing.

Step 16. Once there, open the “Program Files” and/or “Program Files (x86)” directories. Upon opening each directory will list a number of folders which contain the installation files needed to run your programs.


Step 17. Find and open the folders containing the programs which you are missing shortcuts to, open them, and find the .exe program file which opens said program (e.g. Word.exe or Outlook.exe)


Step 18. Right click the .exe program file you wish to create a shortcut to, and select “Send to” from the right click context menu.


Step 19. In the “Send to” sub-menu which appears, click on “Desktop (create shortcut.)” A shortcut to your program will be created on your desktop.


Step 20. Repeat Steps 17-19 until all your missing programs have a shortcut on your desktop.

Step 21. Close all windows, select all the shortcuts on your desktop, and cut them (CTRL+X)

Step 22. Repeat Steps 11-13 to add your newly (re)created shortcuts to your All Programs shortcut listing.


As you have probably realized, following these steps will allow you to not only regain lost shortcuts, but to add new ones as well. So have at it, and enjoy your revitalized Start menu shortcuts once again!

– J. Conboy