How to Add an All Programs Button to the Windows 8 Taskbar

Programs ButtonMillions of users bemoan the fact that Windows 8 has done away with the classic Start menu button. Fortunately, there’s a way to resurrect a skeletal version of it in Windows 8’s Desktop UI by attaching the Programs folder to the taskbar. Here’s how:

  1. Navigate to the desktop if you’re not there already.
  2. Right-click on the Taskbar at the bottom of the screen to pull up a menu.
  3. Highlight the Toolbars sub-menu to reveal more options.

  4. Click on New toolbar.
  5. Type or Paste “%ProgramData%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs”(without the quotes) into the Folder field at the bottom of the New Toolbar window that appears and click Select Folder.

 The Programs button now appears on the right hand side of the Taskbar, labeled with “>>”.

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  1. SD Says:

    Thanks so much. Was looking for it for some time now..

  2. Dina Says:


  3. Atlant Says:

    Thank you!

  4. john Says:

    Thanks so much this was much needed and so easy. I don’t know if microsoft just sat back and decided lets get rid of all the stuff that people use to get around or what. with 8 but i am still learning. But so far it sucks bad

  5. Doug Says:

    Bless you.

  6. gal Says:

    thanx man

  7. CK Says:

    awesome dude. thank you. now i dont need to download any freeware to this f******g office book

  8. Scott Says:

    keep in mind that the only programs that will show in this list are ones installed for “everyone.” If you select “just me” while installing a program it won’t show in the list.

  9. Zuzu Boy Says:

    Thank you so much! I was almost installing the “Classic Shell” but really would prefer not to. Thanks again!

  10. Patrick Says:

    I like this even more, since I can just leave it as a shortcut on the desktop without eating up toolbar space.
    Just make a shortcut with the path – “C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs”

    then you have a more normal file dialogue instead to the somewhat tedious scroll window.

  11. Nisha Says:

    Thanks!This actually worked!

  12. Ray Says:

    Thanks for sharing !!

  13. TL Says:

    Thank you so much for the instructions. Easy to follow.

  14. Punzzles Says:

    What the hey is with Microsoft? Why can’t they leave well enough alone. Thanks!

  15. Xiaohong Huang Says:

    Thanks so much, indeed! MS should droop the bad and keep the good stuff! Not racklessly taking away things they’ve trained us years to get used.

  16. Kishore Says:

    simple and awesome man, thank you so much !

  17. Ram Says:

    Thanks so much. It saved my time.

  18. Christina Says:

    Thank you so much for this!

  19. Harold Ely Says:

    GEEK squad worked on my PC yesterday and deleted my setup that you gave to us.Now It won’t come back on the taskbar after I try to setup it on my desktop! Can you help me?

  20. BLT Says:

    This made my year! Not a fan of Windows 8.

  21. Toby Says:

    Fantastic – Thank you!! So far don’t like windows 8, wish I’d stuck with 7!!

  22. Preethi Says:

    Thanks .. was a great help :)

  23. Dennis Says:

    Thank you! Does anyone know the logic behind making it impossible to find your calculator?

  24. Robert Grimes Says:

    Will this all programs button work with Windows 8.1 as well?

  25. GEM Says:

    Thx a lot!

  26. Cris Says:

    Why are all the installed programs not listed in this programs list? Is there a way to ADD a program to this new toolbar? eg I’d like to have access to Internet Explorer from this program list (I use it rarely, don’t want a quickstart icon or even a desktop shortcut but I’d like to be able to use it when I need to without having to go to that useless Win8 start screen to open it.

  27. Robbert Says:

    Great help, thanks!
    Win8 was frustating me all the time that I did not have the old program overview.

  28. Tamika Says:

    Thanks this was EASY with your instructions! Now, I’m all ready to begin my online graduate classes!

  29. RiverFred Says:

    Any other ideas, said path does not exist when I pasted correctly

  30. Stacy Says:

    OMG Thank you!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  31. Susan Says:

    I cannot thank you enough for the programs” button help. It is a lifesaver. You are a hero in my book!

  32. Susan Says:

    I cannot thank you enough for the “program” button help. It is a lifesaver. You are a hero in my book!

  33. Jerrodsdad Says:

    Sorry, but that folder does not exist in my list of folders.

  34. Kasthuri Says:

    awesome. Thank you.

  35. Jimi Says:

    Thanks for that, a great help.

  36. Gerry Says:

    Yeah, thanks tons!!

  37. carlos mackey Says:

    BRILLIANT! WIN8.1 is awesome also. I am 77 and no techie,but WIN8.1 installed both of my DVD RWs plug and play,my MOBO,and my netgear3100 dongle; all plug and play. I can’t understand why WIN8/WIN8.1 are so vilified. I figured most of it out without a manual; including my win8 phone.

  38. ben Says:

    Any way to move the Toolbar to the left side ?
    That is where it is usually found , on the left side not the right side .

  39. Diane Says:

    When I click ‘Select Folder’ I get this message: Path does not exist. Check the Path and try again.

    I am running 8.1

    Please help if you can!

  40. Sandy Says:

    I have tried this over and over and always get a message that says pathway to this folder does not exist. What am I doing wrong??

  41. Vinny Says:


  42. Glenice Doecke Says:

    Please help: I am running W
    . 8.1 and since installing it, I receive a message that Microsoft is configuring the program. Can you please give me a simple way to fix this problem. Thank you. This web page does not help.

  43. Mike Ro Says:

    Thank you very, very much. It is very simple and use full.

  44. Pras Says:

    Thank you so much!

  45. Carolyn Carchidi Says:

    how to scan to email

  46. herme Says:

    uber helpful, thanks!!!

  47. toonpig Says:

    All I keep getting is a pathway is not valid Any idea what to do?

  48. Shatabdi Roy Says:

    Thank you very much……

  49. OJO Ogunbunmi Says:

    Thanks for assisting me to add all Programs Button on my Window 8 Taskbar.

  50. edv7028 Says:

    I’ve been trying to get rid of, or at least desensitize the “Swipe” feature on my laptop with Win8; but regardless of what I do, it keeps turning-on/off, or moving to windows that I don’t want. Can you help/advise ? Also is there an quick way to turn on/off the Mousepad ?
    Thank You !

  51. Theodore Hammond Says:

    Thanks for the tutorial on adding the programs toolbar to my desktop. I am up in years and it is hard to remember all my programs to enter in the search box or pick the one I want out of the hundreds of charms on the 8.1 start page. You are a magnanimous person. ;-)

  52. Thomas Says:

    Kiss you….Thank you

  53. Tera Says:

    Brilliant, thank you! I’ve been trying to navigate windows without this for two weeks but it’s just completely awkward and counter-intuitive.

  54. Don H Says:

    Like some of the other replys my puter says the path does not exist! Any help for that?

  55. PK Says:

    awesomeeeeeeeee, thanks a lot

  56. Farah Says:

    Thank you! This helped me tremendously!!!

  57. David C. Says:

    Thanks. This was very easy to do and most helpful.

  58. Umendra Kumar Says:

    Thank you so much dear friend. It will make easy to work on windows 8.

  59. Vijay Says:

    Thanks Friend

  60. VKB Nair Says:

    Superb!. Konrad Krawczyk, Assistant Reviews Editor deserves a promotion.

  61. Kathy Says:

    I have gifted both Dell and HP Windows 8 computers. Do Not do it!
    Everyone was was returned to me, with various reasons:
    “Windows 8″ is not a computer.
    It won’t let me just use it!
    It is so ugly with all the d***m colors!
    I use words. That is why I use computers, not paper, it is supposed to be faster, and this Windows 8 is junk!

    There were other longer more colorful reasons these friends and extended family felt this $1,000 gift is crap and asked me to return them or just sell them.

    Too bad I hadn’t found your helps and fixed them before giving them as gifts.

  62. Linda Says:

    I used your instructions for opening a new toolbar for my ‘All Programs’.
    Thank you!!

  63. MALLEASSSH Says:

    awesome my dear.i got it

  64. MALLEASSSH Says:

    thanks i got the option

  65. Happy Says:

    Very, very helpful – thank you so much!

  66. clare Says:

    Thank you so ,much for this – just trying to use my new canon camera and needed the utilities – for the life of me without the old school All Programs I was stuck. You are a lifesaver!

  67. Albert G Says:


  68. Regi Says:

    Thanks! Great help!

  69. Castilian Cabral Says:

    Awesome… thanks!

  70. Julie Says:

    Thank you soooo much!

  71. Michael Kirkland Says:

    I am new to windows 8.1 and I couldn’t find the “start” icon. Your instructions are the best I have ever encountered on the internet. You assumed I knew nothing and provided directions on that assumption! And I followed the directions easily and even better, they worked!!

  72. Melissa Sousa Says:

    What the freak is wrong with Microsoft. THANK YOU for giving me a way to access the basic programs. Apparently Microsoft thinks nobody does anything useful with computers anymore

  73. wissam Says:

    thanks a lot

  74. samira Says:

    perfect guide,thankkkkssss

  75. Andrea Says:

    You’re the best!

    To anyone who said that they’re getting a path does not exist message, check that you’ve copied and pasted the whole thing, but not including the quotation marks. I got that message the first time and realized that the first % sign hadn’t pasted into the box. Typed it in and then it went!

  76. jay Says:

    admin thanx a you (Y)..perfectly working

  77. ThebeLu Says:

    OMG! Why, why, why did MS do it like that?

    Thank you so much. I uninstalled and reinstalled Office 2007 a few times because I couldn’t find it and couldn’t understand why it would be so buried.

  78. m00nster Says:

    OMG – thank you for this. Just purchased new laptop with Windows 8 and trying to find programs on the apps screen has been driving me nuts

  79. Zahra Says:

    very good

  80. Nishant Says:

    Thank you. This helped a lot

  81. jameslegg Says:

    can’t find theicon

  82. tim Says:

    yes, easy! thanks very much, another problem solved!

  83. riz Says:

    thanks a lot :D

  84. Jule Says:

    I truly want to say thank you so much I really appreciate your site

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