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How to Get a Start Menu Back in Windows 8

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Add Useful Links to Your Start Menu
Add custom links to your Windows 8 Start menu.

Add custom links to your Windows 8 Start menu.

Robert Kingsley

You've now got access to your programs and the ability to shut down the computer via your new Start menu, but it's still not quite complete. You'll remember in Windows 7 that you could pin programs to the Start menu to get to them without having to sift through the "All programs" menu. There were also a number of useful links to tools like the Control Panel and your libraries. You can have those features as well; you'll just have to throw a few shortcuts into the "Start Menu" folder we accessed before.

To add commonly used program shortcuts to the root of the Start Menu, you can always browse through the Program Files and find each executable file on your own. That would work, but it's not worth the effort. Remember that shortcuts to all of your programs are already aggregated in the Programs folder of your Start menu.

To add your shortcuts easily, just open your Start Menu folder by right-clicking the Start Menu and selecting "Open Folder." Next, browse through the Start menu programs folder using the toolbar we created on the taskbar. When you find a program you want to "Pin" to the root of the Start Menu, right-click or long-press it and click or tap "Copy." Next, right-click or long-press the Start Menu folder you have open and click or tap "Paste." The shortcut will now appear in the root of the Start Menu.

You can add shortcuts to any folders in the File Explorer you want quick access to by creating the shortcut on the desktop and then copying it to your Start Menu folder. Using the method described on the last page, you can also create shortcuts to useful features like the Command Prompt, Devices and Printers and My Computer. Use the following commands and names.

  • Devices and Printers - %windir%\explorer.exe shell:::{A8A91A66-3A7D-4424-8D24-04E180695C7A}
  • Control Panel - %windir%\system32\control.exe
  • Computer - explorer ::{20D04FE0-3AEA-1069-A2D8-08002B30309D}
  • Network and Sharing Center - explorer.exe shell:::{8E908FC9-BECC-40f6-915B-F4CA0E70D03D}
  • Run - %windir%\explorer.exe shell:::{2559a1f3-21d7-11d4-bdaf-00c04f60b9f0}

Once completed, your Start menu won't be a perfect replacement for the original, but it'll be pretty darn close. It isn't pretty, but it gives back the functionality that so many users don't want to live without.

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