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How to Organize and Remove Apps from the Windows 10 Start Menu 'All Apps' List

Posted by Jim Tanous on February 11, 2016
laptop apps

The Windows 10 Start Menu introduces a new All Apps section that, by default, lists all of the applications installed on a user’s PC. Although similar in name to the “All Programs” list from Windows 7 and earlier, the Windows 10 All Apps list doesn’t function the same way, with the user unable to manually add, remove, or rearrange applications directly via the Start Menu. Thankfully, there’s a workaround that brings some of this functionality back to the user, although it includes some important caveats. That said, here’s how to add, remove, and organize the All Apps list in Windows 10.

A Note About Universal Apps

The Windows 10 All Apps list is home to both traditional “desktop” apps as well as “universal” apps from the Windows Store. Unfortunately, the steps described in this tip apply only to desktop apps, and won’t work with universal apps. You can still remove a universal app from your Start Menu’s All Apps list, but you’ll need to uninstall it completely (right-click on the app’s entry in the Start Menu and select Uninstall).

windows 10 all apps universal

You need to uninstall a universal app to remove it from your Windows 10 Start Menu’s All Apps list.


Although this limitation is restrictive, the relatively good news is that users can re-download purchased apps from the Windows Store at any time, so the process of getting a universal app back if you regret uninstalling it later shouldn’t be a major issue. When it comes to desktop apps, however, the steps below demonstrate how you can, among other things, remove their icons from your All Apps list while keeping the apps installed and fully functional.

Removing Apps from the All Apps List

To remove a desktop app from the Windows 10 Start Menu’s All Apps list, first head to Start > All Apps and find the app in question. Right-click on its icon and select More > Open File Location.
windows 10 all apps open file location
Of note, you can only right-click on an application itself, and not a folder that the app might reside in. This doesn’t mean that you can’t remove or modify folders in the All Apps list (we’ll show you how in a moment), but you’ll need a specific application icon itself to get to the next step.
windows 10 start menu programs file explorer
After clicking Open File Location, a new File Explorer window will appear showing you the application shortcut. Depending on whether the app is available to all users or limited to your own user account, you’ll be looking at one of the following directories, respectively:

C:ProgramDataMicrosoftWindowsStart MenuPrograms
%appdata%MicrosoftWindowsStart MenuPrograms

Changes made to the contents of these directories will be reflected in the All Apps list. For example, we want to remove Microsoft Access 2016 from our All Apps list, but we don’t necessarily want to uninstall the application. Using the steps above, we can locate the Access 2016 shortcut in the corresponding “Programs” folder and delete it. When we open the Start Menu’s All Apps list again, the entry for Access 2016 is gone.

windows 10 all apps removed

After removing the Access 2016 shortcut from the Programs folder in File Explorer, the shortcut will also disappear from the All Apps list.


You can remove other applications, including folders, from File Explorer to get rid of any unwanted apps that would otherwise clutter up your All Apps list. Note, however, that there are certain system files and entries that you can see in File Explorer but not in your All Apps list. It’s best to leave any entries that don’t show up in the All Apps list alone in case Windows or other applications rely on them.

Organizing Apps in the All Apps List

Rather than deleting apps from the All Apps list, some users may prefer to organize their apps into folders. This can be accomplished by repeating the steps above to find the app’s shortcut location. Instead of deleting any apps, however, you can create a new folder (or use an existing folder) and simply drag and drop the appropriate apps into place.
For example, all of our Adobe Creative Cloud apps are listed in the top-level Programs folder, but we can move them all to an “Adobe” folder to clean up our All Apps list while still maintaining easy access to our Adobe apps.
windows 10 all apps create folder
Folders in the All Apps list don’t need to be limited to certain developers, of course. Users can create custom folders such as “Games” or “Work” and populate them with the desired list of apps. You can also rename apps or folders in File Explorer and have the changes reflected in your All Apps list.
A final note: the steps and screenshots presented here are based on the current public version of Windows 10, Build 10586.104. As Microsoft is frequently updating Windows 10, the steps may look different, or not work at all, in future versions of the operating system. Drop us a note in the comments if you find this to be the case down the road.

20 thoughts on “How to Organize and Remove Apps from the Windows 10 Start Menu 'All Apps' List”

Australian says:
Great informative post getting a lot of new ideas reading this post keep more update
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Bill Trader says:
Thank you very much for the clear instructions on getting rid of an unwanted app shortcut.
Appreciate the easy to follow step by step layout.
-Bill
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George says:
Another workaround is to configure the start menu to your liking. If all of your important apps can be found on the start screen, then you won’t have to bother with the “all apps” section.
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nikhil says:
thanks it works .. just need to delete the folder from c drive
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Anthony says:
Just tried and did not work.
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anon e maus says:
Latest updates make this info obsolete: of the two dozen apps I right clicked on, on 2 had an ‘uninstall’ option and zero had a ‘file location’. How about an update to reflect the current situation?
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Alessandro Nz says:
Very good article. Only one add, u don’t have to delete the shortcut from start menu.After locate the program itself in the start menu folder, all you have to do is mark as hidden file at the explorer window.
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WingedWindow says:
Is it possible to remove/hide that list entirely?
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Manny DelaPena says:
No one seems to have the answer to this annoying problem. I hate having a list of my installed programs. It was cleaner looking before the FORCED ANNIVERSARY UPDATE. I used to love Windows before it became an Apple derivative, forcing users to do it their way. Give us the options we loved in using Windows with past versions.
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Ruel Jun Ulit Andaya says:
can i remove the text names of the apps and just leave the logos in the start up list? the names looks horrible lol
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Mark says:
I’d like to hide that list entirely. I managed to somehow last year but now it’s reappeared with the update. Is that still possible?
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Jeffrey Yanez says:
google and download “Classic shell” its a program that makes the start menu look like older windows’ start menu. it gives more control over how the start menu looks.
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Loren Helgeson says:
Maybe I’m missing something very basic here. If you can add an remove programs to your All Apps list, but you cannot remove some of the core items (like 3D builder, Calculator, Calendar or OneNote without uninstalling them, what is the point of having a “Pin to Start” menu anymore? It’s redundant at this point, right? Thanks for the mess, Microsoft.
Or, am I missing something?
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TekRevue says:
Hi Loren,
I agree that it’s confusing, but “pin to Start” in Windows 10 now effectively means “pin as a Start Menu tile.” I don’t use tiles so they’re not visible in this article’s screenshot, but by default you’ll have your All Apps list on the left and an assortment of tiles on the right. The “pin to Start” command adds the item to this list on the right.
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Loren Helgeson says:
Yeah, that much I’ve seen. It seems pointless to have two visible menus with two degrees of “filtering.” But, I guess if that’s what I’m stuck with, so be it.
Thanks for the response.
vijer says:
Personally, I like the new Start Menu. Tiles for my frequently used apps which are grouped by functionality (browsers, editing, coding, Windows System, etc.) and then the infrequent apps are on the All Apps list.
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Dave says:
Yes, BUT, Windows 10 has now introduced system apps that can not be removed. This includes Connect, Cortana, Microsoft Edge, and so on. It would be really interesting if someone could find a way to remove these.
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Catbird says:
Is there a way to show/hide the All Apps list? I want to only see and scroll through my tiles. If I hide the All Apps list now, it also disables the ability to scroll through my tiles. Thanks.
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WarningU2 says:
Thank you for a useless article.
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PeterMaskell says:
I installed a couple 3rd party apps and they or windows left EMPTY FOLDERS in the apps menu. I did remove both from the start menu per above instruction but the other folder is still there even after I uninstalled it. Search on the HDD finds nothing so it must be in the registry somewhere. NOW WHAT??
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Moltres_rider says:
YOU ONLY TOLD US ABOUT DELETING FOLDERS FROM THE START MENU BUT YOU NEVER ACTUALLY SAID HOW IT IS DONE SHITHEAD!!!!!
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TekRevue says:
A direct quote from the article:

You can remove other applications, including folders, from File Explorer to get rid of any unwanted apps that would otherwise clutter up your All Apps list.

Life is going to be very, very difficult for you, my friend.

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Wayne Burnett says:
Here, have a snickers…
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Idamide says:
I can’t get some apps to show in the all apps alphabetical list even though they are present in the start menu folder. Got to be a W10 bug here – it’s crap!
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JCTerrier says:
How about telling us how to add to the “All Apps” list all those that are missing.
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Hrvoje Vrbanić says:
Hi, If you have a program or like anything that is not listed in all apps and you want have that there, you just need make shortcut and paste it to folder —–> (where windows is installed “C:”, sample is your username name)
C:UserssampleAppDataRoamingMicrosoftWindowsStart MenuPrograms
Cheers mate 😉
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Mr. Joey says:
I wholeheartedly agree with jdrch’s comment below… Be careful with this. I’ve tried rearranging things in both folders (the start-menu folder under the programdata tree looks like the old “all users” tree, and the start menu under appdataroaming looks like the old “single user” tree”.
If you have a fair number of desktop apps installed, you may encounter quirks like I have: For example, in your “all apps” list, you may see a folder, which when you click on it just gives you the name of the associated underlying program. That’s all you might see in your “all apps” list on your start screen. Go to the actual folder in programdatamicrosoftwindowsstartmenu and you might well see the underlying program shortcut, plus the uninstall shortcut, and maybe a help-file shortcut… There they are, in the folder, but on your start screen all you see is the program shortcut.
Apparently, Windows 10 decides what shortcuts are going to show in the start screen and what ones are not. I have no idea how or why.
I’ve run into situations where a newly created and populated folder in programdata…startmenu doesn’t show up AT ALL on the start screen. Worse, the old folder which I emptied to populate the new folder still shows on the start screen, but it’s now devoid of shorcuts!
Usually, a re-boot will sort things out and reflect the changes you make… But there is NO GUARANTEE!
Bottom line: If you are going to monkey with this, be very selective on your moves and folder creations, etc. Try creating one folder and moving one shortcut to it… Minimize file explorer and check your start screen. If it worked, go ahead an populate the folder. Keeping file explorer running is handy, because in the top left corner of your file explorer window you will see a few default icons, plus the symbol for a dropdown list. Click the dropdown list and you can add a very useful icon to the file explorer window: UNDO.
You may really need to “undo” changes if you screw up your start screen, so keep file explorer running while you flirt with these folders.
Windows has a high degree of customization. Some things though, we learn the hard way!
Use caution when deep in the directory tree!
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jdrch says:
I haven’t tried this on, Windows 10 but I know deleting Modern app shortcuts from their C: folder on Windows 8.1 simply resulted in broken app shortcuts in the Start menu. Just be careful.
Reply

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