Doozy of a mess with start menu shortcuts (users vs allusers)


  1. Posts : 740
    Windows 10 x64 Pro
       #1

    Doozy of a mess with start menu shortcuts (users vs allusers)


    So this problem has been going back YEARS. Since windows 10's inception allmost. Before I understood why start menu shortcuts were saved in two places etc.

    I began using (at the time) classic-shell as I couldnt tolerate how awful win10's start menu was.

    It's served me well but when I discovered two locations, and was making an attempt at consolidating/organizing, things got moved between in either direction with little rhyme or reason other than avoiding clutter/extras etc.

    Well, now im left with shortcuts in AppData's start menu\programs that belong in ProgramData's start menu\programs and vice versa.

    What would be the easiest way to untangle that hot mess and verify things were in the proper start menu folder?
      My Computer


  2. Posts : 43,296
    Win 10 Pro (22H2) (2nd PC is 22H2)
       #2

    Hi, a few general suggestions:
    a. First, create a backup.

    b. Run a shortcut checker- a program that detects broken shortcuts- that point to a wrong or non-existent location.
    It's a long time since I looked for such a program- I remember there was one particular one, but I can't recall its name- probably obsolete. So I tried Glary Utilities- it has one, no use.

    WinUtilities has one, which looks ok-here I've deliberately created an invalid shortcut in my start menu and it's detected it:
    Doozy of a mess with start menu shortcuts (users vs allusers)-1.png

    c. Find out which programs appear as as all users and decide if you want them thus.
    Create a new user for test purposes and log in as that user.

    Note or print the list of programs available, and try running each of them.

    If you don't want the program available to all users, make sure its shortcuts are moved to or appear exclusively in a particular user's start menu.

    d. Decide how you're going to organise your start menu: if it's large, you may want categories (folders):

    Doozy of a mess with start menu shortcuts (users vs allusers)-2.png

    If you do that, you will need the same structure in both start menu locations.

    The Allusers start menu is located here:
    C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs

    Shortcuts here mean that if you create a new user, shortcuts here will appear in that user's start menu.

    e. Where you are uncertain and can do so easily, it may be best to uninstall a program and reinstall it.

    f. Some programs give no option as to whether they are installed for all or just the current user. This is not as straightforward as it seems. Some programs create folders in locations particular to the current user, for example, to save data particular to that user. E.g. here:
    C:\Users\<user profile folder name>\AppData\Roaming

    and some create folders in, say, Documents or Photos - library folders particular to a user.

    This begs the question as to whether those folders would be recreated if you have a shortcut to launch such a program and you originally elected to install the program for just the current user, and then moved the shortcut to make it available to all users.

    I have seen the argument that all programs are installed for all users; the only difference is the placement of shortcuts, but that correct behaviour if it is installed in an admin account, but run from a standard or other admin account depends on it being programmed correctly.
      My Computers


  3. Posts : 17,041
    Windows 10 Home x64 Version 22H2 Build 19045.4170
       #3

    Please define the "problem". I don't see one. Whether shortcuts were originally intended for just you or for all users does not affect your use of the computer.

    If you are considering using a different user account then the simplest soluton would be to do nothing until you find you do not have a convenient shortcut availaable for that other account. You could then copy the shortcut you have already have or just create a new one in that different user account.

    The next simplest action would be to copy all shortcuts to that ProgramData path if you want to have the shortcut ready for use in another user account. But, as you are doing so, right-click on each shortcut & check its Properties, Target to make sure you are not copying anything with a target within your own folders such as within C:\Users\%UserName%\AppData

    Denis
      My Computer


  4. Posts : 17,041
    Windows 10 Home x64 Version 22H2 Build 19045.4170
       #4

    I have seen applications that ask whether they are to be installed for all users or just the current user. So you might find some within your AppData folders - I think that the only time that happened without my knowledge was after I'd opted for a 'typical' / 'express' / 'standard' installation instead of choosing a 'Custom' install so I could control it better.

    The only example I can remember is a version of NCH WavePad which defaulted to installing for just the current user.

    Denis
      My Computer


  5. Posts : 740
    Windows 10 x64 Pro
    Thread Starter
       #5

    I think you guys pretty much summed it up. The easiest presumption would be "all apps are installed for all users and only diff is location of the shortcuts"

    unfortunately as try3 mentioned, with some being shipped to the users appdata folder, it makes it a largely taxing job to distinguish.

    In large, he's right - it doesnt matter. But im trying to get things "right" aka how they would have been had i not mucked with them. Seems tracking each individual shortcut and modifying its placement might be the only way to determine which. Too big of a job for the payoff it seems.

    I may just copy everything over. Which only begs the question what to do about the ones with path's to user/appdata? Those have no choice but to be omitted as they wouldnt run right?
      My Computer


  6. Posts : 17,041
    Windows 10 Home x64 Version 22H2 Build 19045.4170
       #6

    klepp0906 said:
    Which only begs the question what to do about the ones with path's to user/appdata? Those have no choice but to be omitted as they wouldnt run right?
    They will run correctly for your user account but would not for another user account - so they'd cause confusion if they were within ProgramData when seen by other user accounts.

    So don't move those.

    Denis
      My Computer


  7. Posts : 1,231
    W10-Pro 22H2
       #7

    klepp0906 said:
    I may just copy everything over. Which only begs the question what to do about the ones with path's to user/appdata? Those have no choice but to be omitted as they wouldnt run right?
    You can add the link target in Explorer, to see where the sc's point, and thus which 'programs' folder they are best placed in.
    Doozy of a mess with start menu shortcuts (users vs allusers)-link-target.png
    (not that I knew that before I looked) - and now I have to investigate why patch cleaner points where it does...
      My Computer


  8. Posts : 4,201
    Windows 10 Pro x64 Latest RP
       #8

    How many users do you have on your system?

    If it is just the one as is the case on 99% of systems I see then you do not need to worry as to where the shortcuts are located.

    I personally keep just the all users location active, install any apps for all users, if the installer insists in installing a shortcut to the user area I manually move it to the All users area.

    I create folders to keep certain items together (numbering the folders as in 01 Admin tools, 02 graphics allows control of the overall order), If an installer creates it's own folder, I remove the shortcuts I need to keep and place them in the Programs folder, and delete the folder.

    I have been using this system since before windows 10 indeed it goes back to Windows NT and it works for me.

    If you have multiple users on the same system then it can be more complex as you need to handle the permissions for access to the shortcuts and the actual programs and their files, possible with practice, but not simple so best to leave these systems as Microsoft designed
    Last edited by Barman58; 10 Feb 2020 at 15:41.
      My Computers


 

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