Customizing the start menu

I've only had Windows 7 on my XP machine for about an hour and I already find the start menu "cumbersome".......

In XP I had program groups under programs. For example there was a Windows Office group that had all the Office programs in it.

In W7 I have to go to "All Programs" then rummage around until I find the Windows Office group, then open it to get to products. I DON'T want to have to do that........

How do I put the Windows Office group in the "pin" area or SOMEWHERE on the first screen and have it actually act like a program group? I've tried a couple different methods and they all cause the Windows Office group to open a Windows Explorer instead of just expanding to show the office programs.......

What do I need to do to get this to work correctly?


New Member

Cool you have found Win7 Forums.

Alright, let me see if I can help you out a bit. 1st of all I use XP so rarely these days (except for client support) I can barely recall its wonderful Start Menu. Your view to the Win7 Start Menu will, also, improve as your XP memories fade :)

Personally I either like or having accepted what IS & accustomized myself to Win7 manage quite nicely w/out wanting something different.

Anyway, you mentioned MS Office so let's use that as an example. Expand the Office folder, from there you can Rt Cl on the individual components & \"pin\" then to either the Start Menu or the Taskbar or both. You can do this w/ anything from All Programs, simple items or pieces from w/in folders.

Myself I use no Desktop icons & it doesn't bother me or slow me down to hit All Programs & nav to what I want.

But, here's a couple tips that likely will enhance the experience for you:
>> Have your Favorites added to the Start Menu, saves opening a browser 1st.
>> Add the LINKS Toolbar - this puts anything that is on your Favorites Bar @ your fingertips, again w/out opening the browser 1st.

Replace Quick Launch on the Taskbar, same as you had in XP -

Discover the 'tricks, & shortcuts possible in Win7 & you will find it very cool :) The Keyboard can do a lot in 7, like never before!
Gets so one really doesn't use the Start Menu much after a while.


\"A scan a day keeps the nasties away!\"
I use a freebie called Free Launch Bar that replaces the taskbar like Quick Launch did.
It allows the creation of menus that you populate with you favorite shortcuts.
My implementation is to create as many menus as I need (9) and name them by content.
For instance I have a tools menu that contain only system tools or an imager menu that contains apps like paint, irfanview etc.
You can assign icons relevant to the content of each menu and populating them is a drag and drop proposition.
You can also drag and drop individual shortcuts to the Free Launch Bar as well, just like the Quick Launch bar.
For simplicity sake I plave separators between the menus and allow the program to place little arrow tips to the right of each menu.
Hover the mouse pointer over a menu provides a tool tip with the name of the menu and clicking opens it.

Free Launch Bar - Reviews and free Free Launch Bar downloads at

If you really want a XP type Start menu then see Vista Start Menu, a neat free app that creates a Vista like tree style start menu.

Vista Start Menu – Convenient alternative to Start menu

Works great.

I use both apps but to tell the truth I rarely use the Start menu, the menus in my Free Launch Bar are most convenient.

Below is a link to a screenshot showing Vista Start Menu in action

Below is a link to screen shot of Free Launch Bar with typical menu open.

Clicking the image will show image full size.


Essential Member
There's a open source File Manager called Surf.

It can get into those hidden folders, such as the Start Menu and Send to as an example.

Open two instances of it, go to the Start menu directory and you can place your shortcuts in any folder. You can also create new folders.

Just navifate to the C:\users\yourusername\Start Menu

Thanks for the replies. I'll have to look at some of the tools.........

My current problem with the start menu is (again using Office as the example)...

I don't want all the programs in the pinned area... I want the Office group with the individual programs INSIDE it in the pinned area........ I want to hit "Start" and see "Microsoft Office", click on that and start my program.

It's not a huge problem with office 'cause there are only a few programs, but I'm a photographer so my "Imaging" group has a lot more programs in it. And I don't want to have to go through the "all programs" then wade through column after column of programs to find the one I'm after..... There's GOTTA be a better, faster way on a system as
advanced as Windows 7.... I"ll look at the suggested provided.

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