How can I add a submenu to the start menu in Windows 7?

In the right-click menu on a shortcut under “All Programs”, there is a “Pin to Start Menu” entry. That's exactly what I want, but it only appears for shortcuts, not for folders. It can be made to appear for folders, but what it creates in the start menu is a shortcut to open the folder in Explorer, and not a submenu.

I know how to do it in Windows XP: create a directory under the Start directory in my profile. Windows 7 has a similar-looking directory in AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu under my profile. But if I add a directory there under Windows 7, it shows up in the “All Programs” submenu and not in the start menu itself!

So, how can I add a folder (not a shortcut) to the start menu (not an existing submenu such as “All Programs”)? Or if there's some other way to create a submenu at the same location as the pinned items (or anywhere in the Start menu, really), what is it?

  • Do you mean a pinned item? If so, just drag a folder on the start button and it will be pinned.
    – Styxxy
    Dec 5, 2012 at 18:20
  • @Styxxy I'm afraid I might have gotten the terminology wrong. Your suggestions creates a shortcut to a folder in the start menu: if I click on that menu entry, it opens the directory in Explorer. What I want is to add a submenu inside the start menu. Come to think of it, that this submenu is implemented as a directory is not part of my requirement, it's just the way this worked under XP but I'm open to other solutions. Dec 5, 2012 at 19:03
  • Find out where the Start Menu folder is stored (probably C:\Users\<userid> and create a folder there. Its name should then show up under the Start Menu.
    – martineau
    Dec 5, 2012 at 19:24
  • @martineau That's what I did: it's AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu. But …\Start Menu\Myfolder does not show up under the Start Menu, it shows up under “All Programs”, like the content of the …\Start Menu\Programs. Dec 5, 2012 at 20:58
  • It doesn't look like it is possible. The closest thing I could find was a kind of a hack howtogeek.com/howto/14101/….
    – amit_g
    Dec 5, 2012 at 22:04

5 Answers 5


I think you can't create a menu like that. You can however get a workaround with the default libraries.

  1. Rightclick the startmenu and go to properties. Click 'customize'. You can choose to have a library that you don't use shown as a menu (e.g. 'recorded TV').

  2. Now rightclick that library on the startmenu and rename the menu to something like 'My programs'.

  3. You add folders to a library. Each folder becomes a submenu under your menu.

  4. Add shortcuts in the submenu's. Sadly, you can't have a shortcut directly in the library.

Hope this is somehow usefull.

  • That would be perfect if there was a way to assign a shortcut key to that submenu. Is there? Aug 16, 2013 at 14:35
  • Gilles. What do you mean by shortcut menu? How would you like to access that?
    – ZEDA-NL
    Aug 20, 2013 at 11:51
  • Shortcut key. As in: press and release Win, then the underlined letter in a menu entry. Your trick to get a de facto custom submenu is nice, but not so nice when I need to click in an awkward location or navigate to it with arrows. Aug 20, 2013 at 12:22
  • Gilles, I'm logged into Windows 7 now, but don't see any underlined letters in the startmenu. What you might wat is Press and release 'Win', then 'Arrow Up' to losse focus on the searchbox, then press the first letter of the menu (maybe more than one time, if there are multiple menus starting with that letter). I hope this helps.
    – ZEDA-NL
    Aug 20, 2013 at 12:37

If I just understand it clear, you want to add a folder like a pinned! I just drag one of folders of all programs to back icon, wait to go back to first location, then drop it on current place. And it works for any folder that is on your desktop or drives, drag it on the start icon, wait to open, then drop it on start menu.

For submenu: there is an identical question in a Microsoft forum, Expanding folders as submenus on the Start menu, and there is an answer for it.

  • I don't understand what you're proposing. What is “one folders of all programs”? What is “back icon”? What have drivers got to do with this? Dec 5, 2012 at 19:08
  • let me explain to you. you want to add a folder to you start menu. so, that folder, if it's not on start folders(like all programs) and it's on your hard disk, just drag it on start icon , and wait to start menu appear , then drop it on start menu. but if your folder place on all programs or sub folder of it, for do what i said before you must, first drag it on "back" icon(when you open all programs , stead of it, "back" appear there) and wait to start menu appear, then drop it. it's so clear and easy.
    – Hosein
    Dec 5, 2012 at 19:39
  • What have drivers got to do with this? i mean your hard disk, hard drives.
    – Hosein
    Dec 5, 2012 at 19:40
  • oops... you change your question. it's so different... folder changed to submenu!!!! ok. look at my edit. there is your answer. i think.
    – Hosein
    Dec 5, 2012 at 19:49
  • 1
    it seems he just ask a question, then vote for unknown reasons. where are you?
    – Hosein
    Dec 7, 2012 at 10:11

As far as I know, Microsoft does not allow user menus to be pinned to the Start menu. This was done on purpose, to prevent installed applications from filling up the Start menu with their own menus.

Therefore the only advice I can give is to try out replacements to the Start menu.

For some articles listing such products (most are advertized for Windows 8 but may also work for Windows 7) :

Windows 8 Start Menu replacements
How to get the Start menu back in Windows 8
List of Start Menu replacements for Windows 8

Because of time constraints, I cannot test these for you.

  • Apart from Classic Shell, which looks like it does solve my problem in a heavy-handed way, the programs in those lists are for Windows 8, not for Windows 7. Aug 12, 2013 at 17:25
  • Applications can create submenus in the start menu, but they don't stick (and also they don't get shortcut letters). It would therefore be possible to make a submenu that sticks, by tampering with whatever data the OS uses to score applications and decides who gets entries. Reverse engineering this would take more time than I care to invest in this issue at the moment. Aug 12, 2013 at 17:28
  • Everything is called today "Windows 8" but most of these replacements will also work for 7, so one needs to look at their websites. Some of them claim to be better than the original ...
    – harrymc
    Aug 12, 2013 at 18:42
  • See also Best Free Start Menu Replacement including comments.
    – harrymc
    Aug 12, 2013 at 19:12
  • You mean Start Menu 7? Ok, that might work. I wasn't really planning on replacing the start menu, but I might do that if I don't find a better way. By the way, you might want to edit your answer: as it stands, it's a list of links to lists of links to applications that may provide a way to answer the question. Aug 13, 2013 at 19:01

You can also add the pin to startmenu option for Folders. Sevenforums made a guide:

enter image description here

enter image description here

You simple have to run this .reg file:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00

; Created by: Shawn Brink
; http://www.sevenforums.com
; Tutorial: http://www.sevenforums.com/tutorials/5736-start-menu-pin-unpin-folder-drive-library.html



  • 3
    Simpler to just drag the folder to the Start menu, but this doesn't add it as a submenu.
    – harrymc
    Aug 11, 2013 at 6:36

I don't know of a way to directly pin a folder to the taskbar, but there's some kind of workaround.

Create a folder like D:\myfolder somewhere. Create a shortcut to C:\Windows\explorer.exe, open the shortcut's properties and set the Target to C:\Windows\explorer.exe "D:\myfolder" (not the "" around the folder name if it has spaces in it). You can now drag this shortcut to your taskbar and it will directly lead to that folder.

  • 3
    That creates a shortcut to a directory (or rather to Explorer, even). I want a folder (a submenu? I don't know what the proper word is here). Dec 5, 2012 at 19:07
  • Search for 7Stacks, maybe that is what you want?
    – chrki
    Dec 5, 2012 at 19:12
  • 7Stacks seems to be about managing icons in the task bar. No, not interested. Dec 6, 2012 at 18:38
  • 1
    I don't get what you want then. Can you make a mockup, so that we understand? It seems to confuse a lot of people here.
    – chrki
    Dec 7, 2012 at 11:46

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