10 Jul 2012


By now if you have used the Windows 8 Start Screen enough, you have probably discovered the "All Apps" view.  The "All Apps" view  shows you every shortcut that is installed on your machine but perhaps not pinned to the main Start Screen.  In particular if you have upgraded your Windows 7 machine to Windows 8, you may have noticed that your All Apps view shows the folder names that you may have had shortcuts placed in before upgrading.  Here I'll outline the basic steps to customize the "All Apps" view.

There really isn't a whole lot to this.  You simply open windows explorer and use the following path:

 %ProgramData%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs

Once there, you may see (all users) folders you previously had customized if you ran an inplace upgrade from Windows 7.  Or you might just see the default folders that get created as you installed new apps.

Likewise if you browse to the following location:

%UserProfile%\Start Menu\Programs

You also see the per user folders that are here.

If you move shortcuts and folders around in either view, the changes get reflected after you reboot in the Start Screen "All Apps" view.

Any high level folders show up in the "All Apps" view.  That is, if you create subfolders they won't show up, only the upper level ones will.

So in my example I have the following structure I set up:


From this sample you can see that the All Apps view gets organized and sorted based on these folders.

You can also right click any "All Apps" view icon and choose "Open File Location".  This takes you to its location where you can also delete the shortcut if you want.  This change shows up instantly.  However, adding and renaming folders requires a reboot in most cases.

A word of caution though:  There is a folder called Windows System.  If you attempt to rename this folder, the name change won't show up and there is a good chance the Start Screen will break and become jumbled.  The fix to this is to reboot or kill the explorer.exe process and restart it.  Or to simply never touch this folder as far as renaming or moving.

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