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HOWTO: Set the order of the shortcuts created on the Start Menu

Article Created: 2003-10-19 07:16 GMT by Jordan Russell
Last Updated: 2006-10-10 06:34 GMT by Jordan Russell

Windows offers no documented interface for changing the order in which a Start Menu folder's items are displayed.

Theoretically you may be able to set the order by altering the keys under HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\MenuOrder but I would not recommend this for two reasons: since the format of the keys is not documented, it is subject to change in future versions of Windows; also, if you simply overwrite the Order value you will destroy any existing order customizations the user has made to the Start Menu folder they selected.

There is one case in which you can influence the order without altering the registry. If you have two shortcuts, one named "My Program" and the other named "My Program Help", you will find that on Windows 98 and 2000, "My Program Help" is listed first. You can trick Windows into putting the "My Program" shortcut at the top by appending a space to the end of its name; for example:

Name: "{group}\My Program "; Filename: "{app}\MyProg.exe"
Name: "{group}\My Program Help"; Filename: "{app}\MyProg.hlp"

But my items aren't even showing up in alphabetical order...

Explorer disables automatic alphabetical sorting for a folder if at one time you manually re-ordered the items by dragging them. Also, on some versions of Windows, newly created items in an existing folder always end up at the bottom. To restore alphabetical ordering, navigate to the folder on the Start Menu, right-click the menu and select "Sort by name".

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