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Start Menu Program Sorting

    Question

  • I am mostly satisfied with the Windows 7 Start Menu, minus the seeming inability to custom sort the folders and shortcuts within the Programs menu. In Windows XP, I could do this very easy no problem. But in Windows 7, I can only "sort of" custom sort the Start Menu program the way I want. I of course disabled the "Sort by Name" option or whatever it is in the properties meu of the Start Menu, but that isn't enough. As a temporary measure, I have resorted to using the third-party program called Vista Start Menu, but under ideal circumstances I wish I did not have to. Why can't Microsoft just keep what they had with Windows XP in the specific regards of program sorting? Is there a way to fix this?
    Saturday, August 15, 2009 5:59 PM

Answers

  • Hi,

     

    Thanks for your detail update.

     

    Follow your tips, I reproduce the scenes. As you mentioned above, after logging back the shortcuts are automatically sorted in front of folders. In my opinion, the reason is that the values of properties of the shortcuts is higher than the values of properties of the folders by design. Your suggestions are great and appreciated, we'd like to forward your feedback to our related DEV teams. Thanks for your efforts and understanding. 

     

    Best Regards.

    Dale Qiao

    Tuesday, August 18, 2009 9:40 AM

All replies

  • Hi,

     

    Thanks for posting in Microsoft TechNet Forum.

     

    Based on test on our test machines, you can simply sort the folders and shortcuts within the Programs by dragging the folder up or down. To do this, please take the following steps:

     

    1. Uncheck the item "Sort All Programs menu by name" by right clicking the Start Menu==> clicking Properties==>clicking Customize==>clearing the box of "Sort All Programs menu by name".

     

    2. Open the Start Menu and select the program you want to reposition, then hold down the mouse by left click.

    3. Drag the program up or down till you posit the program and you see a black line with the message "Move to Programs", then release the mouse.

     

    Hope this helps. Thanks.

    Dale Qiao

    Monday, August 17, 2009 7:33 AM
  • Of course I've known for ages how to custom sort in the manner you just described. What I am saying is that in Windows XP, I could custom sort by dragging and dropping various folders and shortcuts using the method you described in any arrangement I want, and Windows would be able to save and permanently remember the exact arrangement I sorted the entries by. However, once Vista came about, although I could still drag and drop various folders and shortcuts like before, once I restarted the PC and logged back into Windows, the arrangement that I had setup would resort itself in some random, out of order arrangement, that I did not specify.

    Now with Windows 7 RC, the arrangement I specify is "partially" maintained correctly after restart and logging back in, but for some reason the shortcuts that are on the same directory level as the main program folders in the "C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs" directory get automatically stacked on top of the program folders. And then if I mess with the order of the shortcuts within the main program folders, then the whole arrangement gets messed up again after restart and logging back in.

    So again, I strongly urge the Windows 7 developers to look back to Windows XP and its ability to save and remember custom sorting arrangements.
    • Edited by jmine83 Monday, August 17, 2009 1:01 PM
    Monday, August 17, 2009 12:59 PM
  • Hi,

     

    Thanks for your detail update.

     

    Follow your tips, I reproduce the scenes. As you mentioned above, after logging back the shortcuts are automatically sorted in front of folders. In my opinion, the reason is that the values of properties of the shortcuts is higher than the values of properties of the folders by design. Your suggestions are great and appreciated, we'd like to forward your feedback to our related DEV teams. Thanks for your efforts and understanding. 

     

    Best Regards.

    Dale Qiao

    Tuesday, August 18, 2009 9:40 AM
  • Of course I've known for ages how to custom sort in the manner you just described. What I am saying is that in Windows XP, I could custom sort by dragging and dropping various folders and shortcuts using the method you described in any arrangement I want, and Windows would be able to save and permanently remember the exact arrangement I sorted the entries by. However, once Vista came about, although I could still drag and drop various folders and shortcuts like before, once I restarted the PC and logged back into Windows, the arrangement that I had setup would resort itself in some random, out of order arrangement, that I did not specify.

    Now with Windows 7 RC, the arrangement I specify is "partially" maintained correctly after restart and logging back in, but for some reason the shortcuts that are on the same directory level as the main program folders in the "C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs" directory get automatically stacked on top of the program folders. And then if I mess with the order of the shortcuts within the main program folders, then the whole arrangement gets messed up again after restart and logging back in.

    So again, I strongly urge the Windows 7 developers to look back to Windows XP and its ability to save and remember custom sorting arrangements.


    Actually the problems are much worse than you describe.

    I have the habit of moving into the Accessories folder the shortcuts of small tools like winzip, adobe reader, etc., so that the Programs folder doesn't get so full that it doesn't fit on the screen. But to separate them from the Windows original accessories, i move them all to the bottom part of the Accessories menu. This worked fine in XP for many years.

    Now in Windows 7, not only the sort order gets messed up in random ways (sometimes alphabetic order comes back, sometimes shortcuts first and folders last come back also) and the order is lost after reboot like you mention, but also, and much worse, I am getting duplicated shortcuts after moving them up and down, and losing both shortcuts when deleting one of the duplicates. This happened, for example, with acrobat reader. I checked before deleting that the 2 seemingly equal shortcuts had different sizes, so it seems they were actually different files but still both were gone after restarting windows.

    I've tried closing the start menu after moving a shortcut, restarting windows... No matter what I do the order I define just keeps getting messed up in ways I can't understand.

    Is there ever going to be a fix for this mess?

     

    Friday, July 02, 2010 2:34 AM
  • The untidy mess of the Start Menu is really frustrating and highly unsatisfying. I thought I could turn a blind eye to it by creating a custom library, but Windows 7 does not offer true customization of the right pane. I hope the power to organize the program list is restored to users in the near future.


     

    Friday, July 02, 2010 4:30 PM
  • Not sure about Windows 7, but Vista has had this problem since it was released and Microsoft refuses to acknowledge it.  If the "Sort ALL Programs menu by name" box is UNCHECKED on the "Customize Start Menu" properties page, any time the "Start Menu" or "All Programs" folders are addressed with a change (that is a manual sort, programmatic addition of A link, etc.) EXPLORER.EXE overwrites the registry key:

    HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\MenuOrder\Favorites\Order

    When it should be writing/saving it to:

    HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\MenuOrder\Start Menu\Order

    This not only keeps the "Start Menu" order from being saved correctly, but overwrites any "Favorites Menu" sort order you may have had.

    I have confirmed this  by monitoring thr real time registry activity of EXPLORER.EXE with SysInternals Process Monitor on several completely clean installations of Vista.

    If you leave the "Sort ALL Programs menu by name" box CHECKED in "Customize Start Menu" properties page, it will keep the sort order of the Favorites Menu from being overwritten. This keeps EXPLORER.EXE from trying to save the "Start Menu" sort order to the wrong registry key.

    This bug makes it IMPOSSIBLE to have a custom (LOGICAL) sort order of the "Start Menu"/"All Progams" folders that will be retained boot to boot.

    I can only assume the same bug was carried over to Windows 7. Good luck trying to convince Microsoft that there is a problem. Don't think they really care about something so trivial as their user interface corner stone (EXPLORER.EXE) writing to the wrong registry key.

    Sunday, December 19, 2010 10:23 PM
  • Hopefully someone will develop a tweak for this. That would be the third one for me since I've already replaced Windows Search and I'm using a tweaker to be able to define the order of the running programs in the taskbar since Win7 forces grouping by app.

    I was forced into upgrading to Win7 from XP and honestly I don't have anything new that I didn't have in XP that I find useful.

    With Win7 I got a cryptic search that doesn't work, a start menu that can't be ordered, a taskbar that can't be ordered (not even by closing and reopening in a new order like in XP), and a control panel that still after almost a year I have trouble finding things (organize in columns but flow left to right and top to down like text??).

    And of course, actions that used to be visible in a toolbar just a click away are now under menus (Windows Explorer). 

    Ribbons are totally dumb too compared with toolbars. Try this: open Paint, select the Rectangle tool and reduce the window width a bit like if you wanted 2 paint windows side-by-side on your screen. The Rectangle tool gets hidden as the Shapes group shrinks. You don't know anymore which tool is active. Try the same, say in Excel 2003. I select the Rectangle tool and I can shrink the window to the max until there are only 4 buttons on the toolbar visible and, guess what, the guy that designed it was smart and the active tool button never gets hidden.

    I don't know which usability classes the developers of Win7 have been taking that teach these things. I'm glad I don't do user support anymore so I don't have to teach people how to work with windows and office. All previous windows versions had their annoyances but win7 breaks the record.

    Windows Search including the start menu and especially the browser history was a great idea. It would be an improvement over XP, if it only worked.

    Monday, December 20, 2010 12:30 AM
  • Change for change.
    • Edited by IT-FishGuy Friday, April 19, 2013 7:54 PM
    Sunday, March 20, 2011 3:15 AM
  • Still no fix for this? Not famliar with themes but I'm guessing they don't encompass environment variables such as customized Start Menu options? What about Group Policy?
    Thursday, August 18, 2011 6:48 AM
  • Ever since I purchased Window 7 Home Premium, the box on Properties to "Sort Start Menu" has been checked but, the start menu on my system has never sorted anything.

    I would not mind if mine was sorted in groups, anything is better than trying to find programs/shortcuts on a large loaded system by searching every line.

    Since Windows will not sort the programs or shortcuts in the menu, is my only option to Manually sort all 2 pages full? 

    I do see that the FOLDERS are sorted but the programs and shortcuts are totally random AND if I uncheck the box "sort...."  I can only move some items up or down but some will not move at all.

     

     

     

     


    • Edited by jagman_55 Friday, January 06, 2012 2:26 AM
    Friday, January 06, 2012 2:20 AM
  • I know this is an old post, but reading all others regrets about exactly my problems with this also, what is the tweak-er program you used to correct this menu order dilemma?

    Computer Savy

    Sunday, December 16, 2012 1:20 PM
  • You people at Microsoft really messed up on this!

    I can navigate much, much faster using xp's style of menu order, pause then open folder view operation.

    The world is now wasting some time navigating thru the computer that with xp. Good job!

    we pay for new op system, and get slower!

    Gee, are we happy!


    Computer Savy

    Sunday, December 16, 2012 2:30 PM