John Bokma Windows tips and tricks
freelance Perl programmer

Comments: A better start menu with Quick Launch


If your start menu is unworkable large, and your desktop is cluttered with shortcuts and folders, this tip might provide a nice solution: your own start menu besides the original.

Read the rest of A better start menu with Quick Launch.


This topic is really helpful to me, to know more about the quick launch.



Uday Patil

Posted by uday patil at 04:50 GMT on 26 May 2006

Another useful "included with Windows" tip is the Links folder inside the Favorites folder. I copy all my Quick Launch shortcuts into Links. Then, in IE, unlock toolbars and move Links up beside Help on the top line of IE. Now you have Quick Launch shortcuts also available in both Windows Explorer and Internet Explorer!

Posted by Nightraker at 18:26 GMT on 17 June 2006

Finally, I know where is the folder for the quick luanch toolbar. (i.e. %APPDATA%\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch)

Very useful for me. Because I need to copy this quite frequently. Thanks. God bless you!

Posted by Alex at 08:32 GMT on 10 November 2006

Okay, I actually found your web page because I was searching for solutions to my quicklaunch bar becoming too full. I was all excited about your tip, but then when I tried it, it did not quite work for me. When I click on the new folder that I have created in Quick Launch, nothing happens until I release the mouse button. And then what happens is that the entire folder opens up in an explorer window. Am I doing something wrong? Would love to hear your solution to this. Thanks.

Posted by tactile jones at 00:59 GMT on 22 December 2006

Thanks for this quick launch. I was a programmer for 18 years, and there are still useful things I am learning from people like you, who help to make the web, and the world a better and easier place.

Thank you!

Pete Hainesport, NJ

Posted by Pete at 16:55 GMT on 6 July 2007

Excellent article. it was very helpfull what's more, it works, unlike some others.

Posted by John at 21:09 GMT on 26 February 2008

I know it's a little late to answer the question by tactile jones, but this is what I found...

If your Quick Links bar is wide/high enough to show the folders, they don't open like in the example, instead they are shortcuts to the folders themselves.

Because I have my task-bar 2 rows high, I've had to put "padding" items into the Quick Links to allow the >> to open the folders like the examples - not a perfect solution, but it certainly works.

Posted by Phil Arnold at 14:38 GMT on 27 March 2008

Well, I don't think what you proposed with QuickLaunch here is actually beneficial. Ok, I'm a Vista user so I got used to typing the name of the program in the start menu and hitting Win+ to start an item in the QuickLaunch bar quickly. I almost never use the mouse to go there.

However, that tiny little overflow button on the QL bar is exactly that: tiny. It's very hard to target and hit with the mouse (cf. Fitts's law) and there is no keyboard equivalent. I always preferred having a QuickRun menu in my start menu, and I mean right in the start menu, not underneath the Programs folder there. That way it shows well, right in the Start menu and is instantly accessible when hitting the start button, the Windows key or Ctrl+Esc and a simple hit on the Q key brings it up. I had a selection of programs I use every day in there, each with a distinct mnemonic so I wouldn't have to resolve conflicts there. If two shortcut begin with the same letter, don't worry. Just put a & in front of the letter you want as mnemonic. Looks ugly on the menu but helps you in resolving those conflicts easier (although renaming Explorer to Xplorer doesn't hurt much).

To be fair, it's a partial solution to the full desktop and full start menu problem and only helps you when starting frequently used programs (or documents). However, that use case should cover more than 90 percent of invocations of the start menu so it is imho still superior to having a tiny little button that you can't hit correctly with your mouse pointer.

Posted by Johannes Rössel at 06:25 GMT on 23 April 2008

Hi Johannes,

I agree with you that Quick Launch is not the best solution, and that the overflow button is quite small, even though it's not much smaller compared to the icons in front of it.

I use currently Launchy to start programs I use often, by typing the first letters of their name (still on Windows XP): Launchy.

Posted by John Bokma at 17:12 GMT on 23 April 2008

Like your explaination, But can the quick-launch toolbar be expanded into the all user realm? In other words can I create a quick launch folder under all users and shortcuts in that folder. Then would these shortcuts show up on anyones quicklaunch bar along with they're own shortcuts? Or would Windows get screwed up and not know what to do?

Posted by Jerry at 14:18 GMT on 25 April 2008

Another tip to those who might find it useful.

My taskbar is usually 2 rows high.

The 1st row (beside the START button) is filled with all the open programs.

The 2nd row is filled with all the shortcuts, unlike John's quick launch (ref: (which is the default size)

In order to have 2nd row dedicated to quick launch icons, you need to drag the division line between the Quick Launch area & the Program area down.

I hope this is clear enough, if not then I will do some screenshot.

Posted by Henry at 13:01 GMT on 29 April 2008

I have one machine with XP Pro and when I click on the Quick Launch >> button, ALL the programs appear. On the other machine, with XP Home, only some of the programs appear with a carat at the bottom that has to be clicked to see them all.

Is there any way to tweak XP Home to make it the default to show all the programs (without that carat at the bottom)?

Posted by joro at 09:36 GMT on 30 July 2009

Two years since the last posted comment but this article is still of help. I had a folder of shortcuts and sub-folders on the desktop for the purpose of getting rid of desktop clutter. After reading this article, I dropped it into the quick launch folder and suddenly all my sub-folders were available as fly-outs. It's great! Thankyou for a most useful tutorial.

Posted by Ronbu at 22:27 GMT on 21 June 2011

Tanks Br, makes life a little easier.

Posted by fred at 15:22 GMT on 20 October 2011

If your quicklaunch area is expanded enough that there is no overflow >> button, control-clicking on a folder brings up the contents of the folder in a popup menu rather than opening a new explorer window, which may be preferable to using the >> button (less mouse travel). I wonder if there's a registry hack to enable that popup menu without having to hold the control key.

Posted by Kevin at 18:11 GMT on 25 November 2011

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