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How To: Get your woobie…..sorry, the Start Menu on the Windows 8 Desktop

If you are a pre-Windows 8 user who can’t imagine Windows “without” the Start Menu, or you have recently upgraded to Windows 8 and seem lost, I have good news. You can have your beloved Start Menu, and enjoy Windows 8 too!

Truthfully, the new Windows 8 Start screen, along with the Desktop Taskbar, are the right places to find shortcuts to your programs. But as you transition your way of thinking, this may help you to get over the learning curve. For me, I find it to be a convenient way to access seldom used programs and Windows Utilities. Programs I use every day get pinned to the Taskbar. Programs I want ready access to get pinned to the Start Screen, along with all the Windows Store Apps. But things like audio/video converter tools, readme files, admin tools, Office tools, etc. can all be accessed from the revived Start Menu. Helps to unclutter your Desktop, Taskbar and Start screen. Note that the Start Menu will “not” display any Apps downloaded from the Windows Store. Only installed Programs and Windows Applets will appear on this menu.

This is how you do it:

Right click the Taskbar (the area at the bottom of your Desktop). Click Toolbars, and then New Toolbar


When the New Toolbar dialog appears, navigate to the following folder;

Computer > Local Disc C (or whatever your C drive is labeled) > Program Data > Microsoft > Windows > Start Menu. Click on Start Menu to make it appear in the Folder: textbox


Click Select Folder and that’s it! The Start menu reimagined.


While your at it, you may also want to turn on the Desktop Toolbar, which gives you quick access to all your desktop shortcuts, Control Panel, Libraries, drives, etc. BTW, you can create as many “custom” Toolbars as you like. Simply create a folder under your “C” drive, copy some shortcuts (.lnk files) into the folder, and pin your new folder to the Taskbar using the steps above. I created a folder labeled Shortcuts a couple months back for easy access to my Microsoft Access applications and a folder I call QuickClick, which includes a bunch of batch files to update each application. Now that I have pinned Start Menu to the Taskbar though, I plan to incorporate these custom links to free up space on the Taskbar and eliminate redundancy.

For those that care to know, this also working on Windows RT machines. But as the list of programs is limited to Office and Windows Applets, the Start Menu does not offer all that much functionality.


So there you have it. Now there is absolutely no excuse to not upgrade or replace that aging PC with a new Windows 8 machine. Go for it.