Vista start menu – duplicate programs folder

This is just  quick little post about another annoyance I found in Vista.  I noticed that after going to all programs there was a programs folder that had duplicate shortcuts to everything already in the menu.  I never saw that folder before so I have no idea where it came from.  Trying to delete it completely killed my entire start menu.

To get rid of the duplicate programs folder:

  1. Go into the properties of the start menu (right click on task bar and then properties)
  2. Click the start menu tab then the customize button.
  3. Uncheck the “default programs” box.  I’ve had to do this twice so far, the 2nd time I checked the box since I unchecked it the first time.  Doing the opposite of whatever it is set to seems to fix it for some unknown reason.

  1. #1 by Anonymous on January 9, 2014 - 4:13 PM

    Thank you for this solution. So glad to have found this (especially 4 years after being posted). I was also very tempted to just delete the duplicate folder, but you saved me from that too. I also did the -uncheck “Use large Icons” option that Dave suggested, so thank you for that as well.

  2. #2 by Anonymous on November 22, 2013 - 8:16 AM

    worked like a charm… second time this has happened… glad I found this link again! Thanks

  3. #3 by CptGuapo on September 22, 2013 - 7:13 PM

    Oh, my God! Many many thanks for your guide! This worked flawlessly to me!

    What a strange bug, huh? So far, two programs always cause this annnoyance: Stellarium and Klavaro. Of course another ones too (I didn’t pay attention), but undoubtedly, with those two I know that I will have to perform your procedure. I’m using Vista Ultimate x64.

  4. #4 by Anonymous on May 3, 2013 - 2:37 PM

    Worked for me, went an unchecked APPLY, OK it went away, I went back, checked “default programs” again and still did not show. Thanks a lot… I have to say that just like you, I do not know how this happened… may have already been there for a while and had not noticed. THANK!

  5. #5 by huy on December 31, 2012 - 5:37 AM

    Thanks a bunch. How did this bug slip though the developers

  6. #6 by G on March 7, 2012 - 3:34 PM

    Wow! This happened to me once before and, like others, I deleted the folder only to screw things up even worse.

    Today it happened again for the first time since then. Came across this fix and it worked great. Saved a lot of aggravation. Thanks!

  7. #7 by azhad on October 16, 2011 - 5:36 AM

    Thank You. Very good and quick solution.

  8. #8 by Anonymous on June 21, 2011 - 9:29 PM

    Rebooting is a bit of a fuss. For a quicker maneuver that does most of what a reboot does:
    1. Open a command prompt
    2. Open the task manager
    3. Kill the “explorer” process
    4. Type “explorer” on the command prompt
    5. Close the command prompt and task manager

    …as I just did to get a folder to show up on the start menu after I added it. Note that while this maneuver “refreshes Windows’ cache” it may not be enough when an installer needs you to reboot.

  9. #9 by Anonymous on May 5, 2010 - 7:06 AM

    I noticed after letting PC Pitstop run its scan that my start up menu had the redunandant program folder. I remember having this problem before, perhaps the last time I went to that site. Anyway, thanks for that fix – worked.

  10. #10 by Milan on March 26, 2010 - 2:39 AM

    you save my day 🙂

  11. #11 by Dave on March 20, 2010 - 10:34 AM

    It seems that you can check/uncheck any property in Customize settings, i have unchecked “Use large icons” and it helped.

    • #12 by Mari on January 9, 2014 - 4:17 PM

      I followed this suggestion and it works as well. Thank you Dave.

  12. #13 by KHW on February 6, 2010 - 8:32 PM

    Thank you so much for the fix. Was getting a bit worried at one point. You totally saved me the trouble of a total reformat. Thanks!

  13. #14 by Ice on January 22, 2010 - 8:22 AM

    It’s from installing a *nix port of an application to Windows. Things like “Gimp”, “Blender”, etc…. that use the GTK+ cause this bug to show up. Resetting/modifying your start menu as indicated here with the “(un)check Default Programs” will work to set the menu in order again.

  14. #15 by Paul on January 21, 2010 - 7:40 AM

    Yay, I found this post through Google when the duplicate folder showed up, and the solution worked.

    I think the duplicate showed up when I just installed Blender. A good guess would be that Vista doesn’t like programs creating start menu shortcuts.

  15. #16 by Nik on November 3, 2009 - 9:48 PM

    Oh, my god. Thank you. You just saved a lot of hard work and worries. I have this happen to me twice and after deleting the folder, it messed up everything. Then the reformat routine.

    I had no idea it was this simple.

    Also, for people if the “defaults folder” is not checked, just check it. It’ll probably go away, then uncheck it again.

  16. #17 by Descry on August 13, 2009 - 8:41 AM

    Thanks for the solution. Helps a lot~!

  17. #18 by Rob on May 25, 2009 - 8:35 AM

    I’m here because I search for a solution to this problem. Is this something new? Ive never had this happen before and I actually have to keep it checked to keep it off…Ive had Vista for 3 years and never seen that before. Something new is causing this.

    • #19 by jen3ral on May 25, 2009 - 10:38 AM

      I never noticed it happen until I wrote the blog either and I’ve had Vista since February of 2008. Maybe a windows update screwed something up, it wouldn’t be the first time I’ve seen that happen.

      • #20 by Rob on May 25, 2009 - 3:15 PM

        Well, I thank you for the fix even tho I had to do it backwards. Hey it lead me to your cool little blog, bookmarked it. Thanks again.

  18. #21 by Mike on April 18, 2009 - 7:49 AM

    Or you can reboot. It works for me and many others when this problem arises.

    • #22 by jen3ral on April 18, 2009 - 12:47 PM

      Restarting does fix a lot of random problems, but it didn’t work for me.

  19. #23 by Bob on April 13, 2009 - 12:47 PM

    Thank for this solution, I had the problem too, now it’s solved. Are we sure its a bug or could it be one of those “feature” as Microsoft calls it?

  20. #24 by Ted on April 9, 2009 - 8:53 AM

    I just realized that, too, it’s a bad bug that must surely have gone unnoticed by Vista’s developers.

    I tried deleting the Programs folder in the Start Menu directory, thinking that deleting that folder will remove the duplicate by opening the folder’s source directory, which didn’t work.

    Thanks for putting up the solution, though.

    Now, my only problem is trying to recover that deleted folder, now that I realize that it’s not supposed to be removed.

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