How to add a Program List menu on Windows 8 Desktop Interface

Many users (including myself) find the given ways to find the installed programs on a Windows 8 based computer difficult to use. So I write this tutorial for the classic Windows users who want to view and access their installed programs while they are on Windows 8 desktop interface, as on previous operating systems (Windows 7, Vista, XP, etc.). 

The default Windows 8 ways to view the installed programs on your computer is by using the “Metro” environment. Before continuing to the tutorial, it is useful to to know that in Windows 8 OS the “All Programs” folder is replaced with “All Apps”. So if you want to view the installed programs by using the Metro interface you can:

  • Press “Windows Key + q” while your are on Desktop Interface if you want to view a list of all installed Apps (applications / programs) on your computer or to perform a search for an installed app (program).
  • Press “Ctrl+Tab” while on Metro interface to view all installed Apps.
  • Right-click with your mouse on a blank area at “Metro” interface start screen and then select “All Apps”.

Right Click on a blank area.


Select the “All Apps” menu to view all installed programs on your computer.



Now let’s add the programs list menu on Windows 8 Desktop interface without using an external app to do that, like Classic Shell.

How to get back the Programs list menu on Windows 8 desktop mode.

Step 1: Enable “Hidden Files” view.

First of all, enable the “Hidden files” view. To do that:

1. Navigate to your Windows Control Panel and open “Folder options”.

2. In the “View” tab, enable the "Show hidden files folders and drives" option.

Notice:  Detailed instructions on how to enable hidden files view, can be found on the links bellow:


Step 2: Add (display) the “Program list” toolbar to your taskbar on Windows 8.

Now it’s time to add the “Programs List” menu toolbar on your Taskbar. To do that:

1. Go to your Desktop and press the “Right-click” key on your mouse over an empty space on your Taskbar.

2. From the menu that appears, choose “Toolbars” > “New toolbar”.


3. Navigate to the following path: “C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu” and select the “Programs” folder.


From now on, you should have the “Programs” list toolbar displayed on your taskbar, while using the Windows 8 desktop Interface.



Additional tips to make your life easy:

Tip 1:  Move the “Programs” list toolbar to anywhere you want on the taskbar.

1. Right click on an empty space on the taskbar and click to uncheck the “Lock the taskbar” option.


2. Then put your mouse over the dotted lines (until you see your mouse arrow as a double arrow) and drag them to any place you want (e.g. on the left of your taskbar).



3. Finally perform the same operation but this time drag to the left, the dotted lines found at the left of pinned Apps.



When finished, right-click on an empty taskbar space again and click to “Lock the taskbar”.


You ‘re done!



Tip 2.  Add additional program shortcuts on the program list toolbar (Customize Program List).

By default Windows 8, stores shortcuts of your installed programs into these two locations on your hard disk:

  • C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs
  • C:\Users\<YourUserName>\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs

So if you don’t find an installed program in the newly created program list toolbar, navigate to the second path (your profile path:C:\Users\<YourUserName>\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs) and then just copy & paste the missing program shortcut to the first location (C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs).


  • You can copy & paste any shortcut from your desktop to that location: C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs
  • You can delete any program shortcut from the same location if you don’t want it to appear on your program list toolbar.

Reminder: When you finish with your customization, don’t forget to disable the “Hidden files/folders” view option.

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