With Windows 10 Microsoft migrated to a database-ish solution for indexing programs in search and the start menu, rather than just using a /startmenu/ directory. AFAIK the exact implementation is still pretty unclear, but there is something along those lines.

Updating from 8.1 to 10 causes it to migrate everything from /startmenu/ to the new system, which ignoring issues such as a (seemingly arbitrary) cap of 500 applications, works fine.

However this failed for me, and from googling seems to be an issue from upgrading with an older dev build, which then carried on to RTM.

So does anyone know a way to force a rebuild/re-index of the program library? Rebuilding the system wide index through control panel (also in <=8.1) has no effect.

4 Answers 4


Windows doesn't auto-update the Start Menu since the coding had to be re-written to allow for UWP Apps to be shown (also why folder hierarchy is no longer recognized), and Windows 10 doesn't add the two Start Menu folders to the Index by default (they need to be for changes to be shown):

  1. Show hidden files must be enabled:
    Reg Add HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Advanced /v Hidden /t REG_DWORD /d 0x1 /f
  2. Open Indexing Options: WinKey+RControl SrchAdmin.dll → OK
  3. ModifyChange selected locations → Tick below locations → OK
    # %ProgramData%: C:\ProgramData
      "%ProgramData%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu"
    # %AppData%: C:\Users\<username>\AppData\Roaming
      "%AppData%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu"
  4. AdvancedTroubleshooting: Rebuild → OK
    • Re-indexing is resource-intensive, taking several hours to days, depending on use, since the rebuild only occurs when the PC is idle; while a re-index can be forced when the PC isn't idle, without a substantial amount of RAM and fast CPU, severe lag will occur
  5. Reboot once Index is rebuilt
  • 1
    I just rebuilt my index and it took 15 minutes without any noticeable impact on performances. How many millions of files do you have ?
    – Hey
    Jul 5, 2017 at 16:37
  • My outlook pst's are several GB in size, and I also have non-standard locations set for indexing.
    – JW0914
    Aug 28, 2017 at 21:58
  • After doing the above, I was still seeing stale entries in my start menu (File Explorer (1)), etc. from some update. Next day I turned it on though, fixed. Probably worth doing a restart after the above for good measure. Jun 18, 2020 at 15:36
  • @benmccallum Had the index been completely rebuilt prior to the reboot? If so, I'll add that to the answer.
    – JW0914
    Jun 19, 2020 at 11:39
  • 1
    @JW0914 It shows it after enabling showing hidden files. thanks
    – Behrouz.M
    Dec 10, 2020 at 16:20

I've been having some issues with the start menu index as well.

I'm trying out these steps to force the index to rebuild:

Right-click start menu -> Control Panel -> Indexing Options -> Advanced -> Rebuild

  • 1
    Afraid not, doesn't seem to effect the new start menu indexing Aug 15, 2015 at 13:11

There is a possibility that the permissions on Windows Search Directories were affected during the upgrade to Windows 10. I may have a solution to try. Follow these steps:

  1. Navigate to Control Panel > All Control Panel Items > Troubleshooting
  2. In the search box (top right of Troubleshooting window) type indexing
  3. Select Search and Indexing
  4. Click Next
  5. Select My problem isn't listed above and click Next
  6. Enter a description of the problem (or leave it blank and all possibilities will be tested) and click next
  7. If the option appears, select Try troubleshooting as an administrator
  8. The scan begins to address the issue

Once the issue is corrected return to Indexing Options in Control panel to rebuild it (Control Panel > Indexing Options > Advanced > Rebuild)

  • Did so and re-indexed everything, but still no dice. This would make sense but doesn't seem to be it... Aug 21, 2015 at 13:36
  • Some windows settings shortcuts on the start menu stopped working for my user account but worked for another user account on the machine after upgrading from windows 8.1 to windows 10. Followed these steps and all sorted now.
    – Matt
    Feb 22, 2016 at 12:28

For everyone who have this "problem", a simple reboot could also do the trick.

  • Tried rebuild index
  • Tried repair


Did a reboot, .... Magic

  • 4
    That's the Microsoft way, since 1980 or so.
    – user184411
    Jan 12, 2017 at 4:35
  • 2
    The reboot in-and-of itself did not fix the problem, forcing a rebuild of the Index did. Certain indexed areas may not update without a reboot (or, more likely, a restart of explorer.exe and ending the DWM process, of which repopulates with the updated index). Rebuilding the Index normally takes substantial time (24hrs+ for me since I have a fairly large Outlook Archive PST), and unfortunately, Microsoft decided it was going to completely re-write how the start menu folders work, seeming to forget millions of software developers have no way, or it's flat out impractical, to adjust to that.
    – JW0914
    Aug 4, 2017 at 0:42

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