Missing Start Menu – Programs Menu quick fix for Windows 8 Developer Preview


One of the things that frustrated me about Windows 8, when I started trying to use it was the lack of the “Start -> Programs” Menu. Every time you get to the desktop and click the Windows Icon in the bottom right it brings you to the tiles screen. After installing Microsoft Office, Visual Studio 11 Developer Preview, and Visual Studio 2010, there were a few tiles, but not all the ones I needed (for example I had no way to launch Visual Studio 2010). Plus there were extra tiles I didn’t need. This is an “alpha” release of Windows, so I don’t expect it to work perfectly, but I wanted to see if I can be functional with the Windows 8 preview and use it for presentations and such. So my first attempt was to add items to the task bar, but that only works if they are on the tile screen, so I got some access. Then I tried adding icons to the desktop, and realized that would be way too time consuming. Finally, I resorted to adding a toolbar to the task bar and it works brilliantly. So here are the steps to get your programs menu back.

Step #1: Right click the task bar and choose “Toolbars” -> “New Toolbar…”


Step #2: Paste in the path “C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs” and then “Select Folder” button.

Alternatively you can also use the parent directory “C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\” if you want your menu to include items at the root of the start menu.


Step #3: now drag it to the left side of the task bar and with a little adjustments (you have to grab the toolbars on the left to readjust them) you can move your “Start Menu” or “Programs” menu to the far left and resize it so it is as small as possible.

Now you will notice a little “>>” button. Use that to bring up your new “Start Menu”



8 thoughts on “Missing Start Menu – Programs Menu quick fix for Windows 8 Developer Preview

    • @Mass: Regarding adding the menu to the start page as a tile, I don’t think so. The API for creating tiles is pretty locked down. You can expose content on the tile but not menus and controls. Windows 10 is in preview and they are adding back a more “Windows 7 like” start menu. For Windows 8 (and 8.1) there are third party products that give you some of the missing features lacking in Windows 8.x start menu. Here are five of them http://www.pcworld.com/article/2054422/five-tools-to-bring-the-start-menu-back-to-windows-8-1.html

      One other note, you can right-click the start menu in Windows 8.1 to get some quick access to features like “Shut Down” and “Control Panel”, so that is a nice touch which I use frequently.

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