How To Set Up The Hidden Start Menu in Windows 8.1

Yes, guess what? Microsoft didn’t actually kill the Start Menu completely. They just buried them in the system and never bothered to tell you that you can have it back in a way you can get access to it right from the Task Bar.

Let me show you the way.

First, right-click the Taskbar, go to Toolbars and New toolbar…

Taskbar - toolbars

In the File Explorer dialog box, navigate to the following location, and click Select Folder button.

C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs

New Toolbar - Choose a folder - 2015-06-17 22_47_02

Now, you will see a new toolbar called Programs which happens to be the last folder you selected showing up on the right side of taskbar next to the system tray, with the chevron icon, once clicked, to bring up the Start Menu full of installed applications.

The Hidden Start Menu

It does look like the old-fashion version of Start Menu we’ve used in Windows 7. You can navigate through the sub-folders, launch the applications, or even reorganize them by dragging them around, renaming or deleting them from the menu, just like the old days.

Obviously, this isn’t the full-blown of the Start Menu we’ve used to in Windows 7 or will be using in Windows 10. It’s not even remotely close to what the 3rd party like Classic Shell to offer. But, it could be a very good supplement place where I can easily find the application I just installed and pin it on to the taskbar or make a copy on the desktop.

Kent Chen

Microsoft MVP, IT Professional, Developer, Geek, and the co-founder of Next of Windows.

Last updated: 06/17/2015

Posted in: Tips & Tricks , Windows 8
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