Q: How can I add shortcuts to the Windows 7 start menu?

For some reason, it is impossible to add any new shortcuts to the start menu in Windows 7. I always get a message 'Windows can't create a shortcut here. Do you want the shortcut to be placed on the desktop instead?' I tried to select 'Show hidden files, folders, and drives' in the Folders and search options > View and to get to the start menu from ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu but this does not help.

How do you manually add a shortcut to the start menu?



Right click on the file and select Send to Desktop (create shortcut) and then drag the shortcut on the desktop to the Start menu.

You should not create shortcuts or change any files in the Programs area unless you are troubleshooting.

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Sorry ... I don't accept that the "Pin to start menu" option is a substitute for being able to manually add a shortcut to the start menu.  Being able to pin something is useful, but it doesn't cover many of the use cases for manually adding something.  First, when you pin something, it will always appear in the same place.  So there's no way to "pin" something into your Accessories\System Tools folder.  Second, there is no way to "pin" something into the All Users start menu.  If you have 5 people who need to access a program (like a family where 1 is typically the admin) then you have to login as each and pin it separately.  Or am I supposed to just tell my 7-yr-old daughter to go hunt down the EXE for the app I installed and pin it herself?

I completely appreciate why Microsoft wants to keep average users from messing with their start menu.  But there should be a way to disable this protection on a per-user basis or at least relegate it to a warning that you can only override as an admin user.  It's kind of silly to have the only solution as "copy it to your desktop then copy it to the folder where you want it".  That makes just as much sense as having to copy/paste everything through Notepad when you want formatting stripped off.


Organizing the folders and files in the Start/All Programs section is not a mystery and is fully supported.

There are 2 locations where the All Programs folders are kept.

Click Start, right click All Programs and select either Open or Open All Users.

Open is where all of the folders and files are kept that appear only in the logged on users all programs folders.

Open all users is where the programs that appear in every users all programs folders are located.

Usually, the only programs that are in an individual users folder is if that user is an administrator and they installed a program and selected to not make that program available to other users on the computer.

Once you go to that location in Windows Explorer for these folders and files, you can organize them any way you wish, just as you would any other folders.

Hope this helps.

Thank You for using Windows 7

Ronnie Vernon MVP
MVP 1999 - Present
Windows Insider MVP

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Views: 277,357 Last updated: July 13, 2018 Applies to: