Super User is a question and answer site for computer enthusiasts and power users. It's 100% free, no registration required.

Sign up
Here's how it works:
  1. Anybody can ask a question
  2. Anybody can answer
  3. The best answers are voted up and rise to the top

I tidied up my Start menu a while back, organised it into folders and removed programs I do not access. This was also around the time I changed the location of my My Documents/Desktop etc folders via the Location tab of the directory properties (bought an SSD, so moved those folders to a HDD).

Now I'm finding applications (such as the Office suite) are installing their Start menu shortcuts to a directory named "test" on my desktop. These shortcuts don't show up in the Start menu.

I don't even know where to start looking to troubleshoot this. I have noticed that renaming this "test" directory requires administrator permissions. I'm not so much worried about the shortcuts not showing up in the Start menu - I can just move the shortcuts to the correct folder - as I am about the pesky, mysterious test folder on my desktop.

share|improve this question
What happens if you delete the "test" folder? Does it reappear magically when you restart your computer or when you install new programs? – Ove Jul 20 '12 at 12:54
up vote 4 down vote accepted

I changed the location of my My Documents/Desktop etc folders via the Location tab of the directory properties

There’s your problem. You have inadvertently relocated the Start Menu folder to the desktop.

You need to set the location of Start Menu items to somewhere else/specific by manually editing your User Shell Folders registry entry. There is no simple way to do it with an official interface like with the Documents folder.

For the All Users start menu, you edit the copy in HKLM:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\User Shell Folders
share|improve this answer
And don’t forget to reboot after making the change so that Explorer will pick up the change and update the dynamic copy with the static one (in other words, make sure to update User Shell Folders, not Shell Folders). – Synetech Jul 21 '12 at 0:41
I should have mentioned that it is the "All Users" Start Menu folder which appears on the desktop. The registry key at the location in those links points to the Start Menu folder of the current user - which is appearing where it should. Any ideas? – tkf144 Jul 21 '12 at 13:57
Edit the one in HKLM (I’ve updated the answer to show the exact key). – Synetech Jul 21 '12 at 14:11
Fixed. It was under Common Programs. Thank you! :) – tkf144 Jul 22 '12 at 15:19

Your Answer


By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.