recent programs don't appear on Start Menu

even though the option is checked in Properties | Start Menu |Privacy and the "Number of Recent Programs Programs to Display" in Customize Start Menu is greater than zero

Question Info

Last updated February 17, 2020 Views 21,629 Applies to:
Hi Michael Gordon,
Did the issue occur after you upgraded your Operating System?
 If you are missing the list of recently opened programs follow these steps to ensure that the settings are correct for the Start Menu.
1.     Right click on the Start Button
2.     Click Properties
3.     In the Task Bar and Start Menu Properties window click “customize”
4.     Click on the “Use Default Settings” button
5.     Click “Ok”
6.     Click “Apply”
7.     Open a program or two and ensure that the icons for these programs are showing in the recently opened items.
If that does not help, try the following.

1. Left click on the Windows orb to open the Start Menu

2. Right click on the All Programs. You should see a menu like the one pictured below

c) Left click on the Open menu item (aka the current user’s, yours, Start Menu). You should see something like what is pictured below, though the actual contents may be a little different

d) Double left click on the Programs folder. You should see something what is pictured below, though the actual contents will be different, you should see a “bunch” of folders

e) Create a new subfolder. (you can name it what ever you really want too)

f) Select a bunch of the folders/shortcuts and drag (i.e. move) them into the subfolder


g) Start Task Manager, go to the Processes tab, select “explorer” and then click on the “End Process” button. This will end the explorer process, taskbar, start menu, etc.

This step is very important. Unless you restart Windows Explorer your results (i.e. what you see in All Programs) will not be reliable.

h) Now in Task Manager, select the File menu, Run submenu.

i) Enter “explorer” (no quotes) and click OK. This will restart Explorer, and the taskbar, Windows orb, etc should all re-appear

j) Try your All Programs now. If enough things have been moved, you should be good! 

k) If you’re All Programs is still empty, then repeat the above steps in the All Users Start Menu folder (i.e. the “Open All Users” menu choice when you right click on “All Programs”)

Now you can also begin to move folders back up into the Programs folder as need be.

Remember to end/run Windows Explorer during this process.

Azeez Nadeem - Microsoft Support

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