Organizing the All Programs Menu

by Allen Wyatt
(last updated July 6, 2015)

Tara noted that when she uses the Start menu and clicks on All Programs, she can see all the programs installed on her system. She also noted that she doesn't like how those programs are organized in the listing, so she wonders if there is a way to modify how programs appear when she clicks on All Programs.

Actually, there is a relatively easy way to change how the All Programs menu appears, once you understand the basis for that menu. Interestingly enough, the basis is a folder hierarchy. Each folder that appears in the All Programs menu corresponds to a folder on your system, and each item in the menu corresponds to a file within those folders. The trick is just to learn where those folders and files are located.

The easiest way to get to the right location is to simply click the Start menu and then right-click on All Programs. Windows displays a Context menu, and two of the options on that Context menu have bearing on the All Programs menu:

  • Open. This option represents programs and folders that are available only to the currently logged in user account. (That's you, right?)
  • Open All Users. This option represents programs and folders that are available to all users on your system.

When you choose one of the options, Windows opens a Start Menu folder. (Go ahead; open them both. You might as well, since you'll actually want to utilize both options in your organizational efforts.) The items in the Start Menu folder represent some of the things that appear when you click the Start menu. Double-click the Programs folder and you'll see items that appear in the All Programs menu. If you have both Programs folders open (accessible when you choose both Open and Open All Users), then the combination of what appears in both folders represents all the items that appear in the All Programs menu.

Now that you understand where the items in the All Programs menu are stored, all you need to do is organize what appears in the folders. You can create new subfolders, rename existing subfolders (don't rename the Programs folders themselves), and move files between folders. As you do so, the changes are reflected immediately within the All Programs menu.

Remember that there is no right or wrong way to organize the All Programs menu. Indeed, how you organize it is entirely up to you and your preferences in how you want to work with your computer.

 This tip (12451) applies to Windows 7.

Author Bio

Allen Wyatt

With more than 50 non-fiction books and numerous magazine articles to his credit, Allen Wyatt is an internationally recognized author. He  is president of Sharon Parq Associates, a computer and publishing services company. ...

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