Manually Arrange Programs in Windows 7 Start Menu

Arrange Puzzle

Recently, I realized that the

All Programs

list under my Start Menu got too cluttered. I scanned the list and found that there were many programs that I never opened from that location. So, I simply removed such programs from the list. Then I thought that I should rearrange the programs in the list and bring those that I use regularly, towards the top. That would make it easier and quicker for me to find a required item.

However, when I tried doing that I discovered that Windows 7 did not support rearranging of items (refer to the image below). With little research I also learned that it is only a default setting and not something permanent. You need to disable the default alphabetical order arrangement of programs in order to rearrange them manually. We will see how to do that today.

No Sorting Allowed

But, before we begin let us also take a look at a section of the All Programs list contained in my Start Menu.

Original Programs List

Steps to Disable All Programs Alphabetical Sorting

Once you disable the alphabetical ordering of All Programs list you would be able to arrange the items in it in any order. Here we go.

Step 1: Right-click on an empty space on the Windows Taskbar and go to Properties. That opens the Taskbar and Start Menu Properties dialog.

Taskbar Properties

Step 2: Ensure that you are on the Start Menu tab. Now, click on the Customize button that you see there.

Customize Start Menu

Step 3: The Customize Start Menu dialog comes up. Scroll towards the end of the list to find the entry reading Sort All Programs menu by name. By default the entry should be checked. You need to unmark the same and click on Ok.

Start Menu Sort Programs

Step 4: Back on the Taskbar and Start Menu Properties window, click on Apply and OK. That’s it, the menu is ready to be reorganized.

Now, click on the Start menu aka orb icon and open the All Programs list. Hold an item by the left mouse button, drag it to a desired position and leave it there. The item should stay where you leave it.

Sorting Allowed

Note: Make sure you leave the item at the desired position only when you see a bold straight line appear. Refer to the image shown above.

Bonus Tip

If you want to keep the menu a little more organized you can create folders, sub folders and then group similar items together. To do that right-click on All Programs and select Open (for current user) and/or Open All Users (for all system users).

All Programs Context Menu1

When the location is launched on Windows explorer you would see a Programs folder. Navigate one level deeper and start arranging items by deleting the ones you do not need, adding new shortcuts and moving items into a structure of folders and sub folders.


The Start Menu is a quick way to reach programs that you use frequently. So, it is important that you do not waste time in looking for the required ones. And, our guide helps you make actual sense out of it, right? Share your thoughts in the comments section.

Last updated on 02 February, 2022

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