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Add the Classic XP Style “All Programs” Menu To Windows 7

Windows Xp and Windows 7 Logos

Do you love Windows 7 but miss the old Start Menu from Windows XP?  If so you’re not alone. In fact, the demand is high enough that several 3rd party developers have created software packages that will modify the start menu and give it that old XP groove.  Personally, I love the Windows 7 start menu and would “highly” recommend against tweaking it back to XP.

However, for those of you who fear change (smile) and want that good ole’ retro-XP feel, follow the steps below:

 

How To Add The Windows XP “All Programs” Menu To The Start Menu Bar In Windows 7

Editors Note: As mentioned in the comments below, this Hack has a few nasty side-effects which I feel are fairly significant (moves your Favorites folders and messes with .exe security permissions.)  With that in mind, I recommend against using this hack on anything but a test system until you fully understand its impact on your PC.  Plz, see the comments section below for more information on this, as well as alternatives to the hack.

Step 1

Click the Windows Start Menu Orb and Type regedit into the search box.  Then Press Enter or Click the regedit program link.

open regedit windows 7

Step 2

Browse to the following registry key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionExplorerShell Folders

modify registry windows 7

Step 3

Right-Click* the Favorites entry from the right pane.  Select Modify from the context menu that appears.

*You can also just Double-Click the Favorites to achieve the same effect.

windows-7-classic-xp-fix

Step 4

In the Value data line, paste the following line of text into the box:

C:ProgramDataMicrosoftWindowsStart MenuPrograms

windows-7-xp-start-menu

Step 5

Now go down to a similar name key as Step 4.  User Shell folders and repeat the process.

HKEY_CURRENT_USERSoftwareMicrosoftWindowsCurrentVersionExplorerUser Shell Folders

From this key, also Right-Click the Favorites entry and Select Modify.

favorites shell in windows 7

Step 6

In the Value data line, paste the same following line of text into the box as before:

C:ProgramDataMicrosoftWindowsStart MenuPrograms

start menu fix for xp in windows 7

Step 7

Exit Registry Editor, then Right-Click the Windows Start Menu Orb and Select Properties.

start menu properties in windows 7

Step 8

The Taskbar and Start Menu Properties box should appear.  On the Start Menu tab Click Customize.

customize windows 7 start menu

Step 9

Scroll down the customization window and Check the Favorites menu box.  Then Click OK.
favorites menu in start menu in windows 7

Step 10

Quickly restart Explorer (follow the link to the groovy how-to guide on restarting Explorer in Windows 7.)  Restarting your entire computer has the same effect.

Done!

Now you should have a groovy new bar on your Start Menu called Programs. This menu will list all of your installed programs and start menu shortcuts just like the old “All Programs” menu did in Windows XP.  Enjoy!windows 7 start menu with xp classic All programs start menu

Want to reverse these changes?

All you have to do is go back into the same folders and modify the values to:
%userprofile%Favorites

Or download this pre-made registry fix and Presto! All back to normal.

If you have lingering security pop-ups, you can learn How To get rid of them from here.

Conclusion

One of the things I’ve always liked about Windows is that there is no end to the level of customization you can make to the OS, whether it be from 3rd party apps or hacks like this one.  Credit for this particular hack goes to the fine folks over at AskVG.com who originally came up with the registry hack.

As always, anytime your messing with the registry just be careful as your playing with the core/guts of how the OS works.

Have fun!

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14 Responses to Add the Classic XP Style “All Programs” Menu To Windows 7

  1. Rod Seed July 27, 2010 at 7:50 am #

    Hi Mr Groove,
    Have tried this but doen`t seem to work.

    Regards
    Rod

    • MrGroove July 27, 2010 at 11:58 am #

      Hi Rod,

      Did you edit BOTH registry keys? Be sure to complete ALL the steps. You need t update SHELL FOLDERS and USER SHARE FOLDERS.

      If you don’t do both it will not work.

  2. Asiong July 28, 2010 at 5:00 pm #

    Guys, just search for ‘classic shell’ and download it. I download it on PC Magazine website.

  3. Shockersh July 31, 2010 at 11:31 am #

    Tested it and the steps above worked perfectly. Nice hack.

  4. Alla September 20, 2010 at 2:28 pm #

    But it also changed FAVORITES in IE. Did not like it at all.

    • MrGroove September 23, 2010 at 10:22 am #

      Yeah that is one of the side-effects. The Favorites in IE was moves from:

      c:\users\username\favorites

      to the older location in Windows xp:

      C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Links

      You can move all your favorites from the “favorites” folder to the Links folder to get them all back.

      • grooveDexter September 23, 2010 at 11:18 am #

        Added a pre-made registry fix to the bottom of the article that will automatically do this.

  5. Ralph January 10, 2011 at 9:08 pm #

    Or download this pre-made registry fix and Presto! All back to normal.
    That would be fine but…
    “The drop.io service will be closing onDec. 15. Until then, people will be able to use existing drops they’ve created, but won’t be able to create new drops. After Dec. 15, drop.io will be closing and all user data and content will be deleted, so please download files you have stored on the service before then.”
    Please change the link. It doesn’t exist anymore.
    Thaks, regards

    • grooveDexter January 10, 2011 at 9:19 pm #

      Link fixed, now it’s hosted by us 😉

  6. r0lZ May 14, 2011 at 3:36 am #

    Found two major drawbacks with this trick:

    1. The new Programs menu shows only the shortcuts that have been created for all users. Your personal shortcuts are not available. (The regular start menu has two locations mixed together, but this one forces only one location.)

    2. The location of the Favorites (used by Internet Explorer) has changed, and IE cannot find its fovorites any more. Furthermore, it will create its new shortcuts in the Programs folder, and mess totally your startup menu.

    Sorry, but that trick is not good.

    • Matt October 3, 2011 at 9:39 am #

      Agreed with part 2. This trick sucks because, although they claim it will move the IE link from favorites to links, it does in fact move it to programs and adding favorites from IE will dump them in the wrong location. Also this still leaves the crap “all programs” button that I wanted to fix and just adds another Programs link to the menu instead. Don’t do this fix unless you want trouble. I’ve had I couple months and to look it back up to remove it.

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