How to Copy the Start Menu of a Desktop From One User to Another

By Aaron Parson

Microsoft removed the Windows 7-style Start menu from Windows 8.
i Oli Scarff/Getty Images News/Getty Images

If you are setting up a computer for additional people in your office to share, you can quickly customize new users' individual Start menus by copying the shortcuts from an existing user. Note that while this technique works for multiple users on one PC, it will not work between different computers unless all of the computers have all the same programs installed in the same locations.

Log in to the computer with an administrator account so you have the necessary permissions to edit multiple users' folders.

Open the Start menu. Type "C:\users" without the quotation marks and press "Enter" to open the user data folder.

Double-click the folder for the user whose Start menu you want to copy.

Click in the location bar and add "\AppData" (without the quote marks) to the end of the location, then press "Enter." If you have the "Show hidden files, folders, and drives" option enabled in Windows, you can double-click on the "AppData" folder instead.

Open "Roaming | Microsoft | Windows | Start Menu."

Select all the items in the folder and press "Ctrl-C" to copy them.

Click the "Back" arrow until you return to the "Users" folder. Open the folder of the user you want to modify and repeat the above steps to reach that user's "Start Menu" folder.

Delete any items already in the "Start Menu" folder if desired, then press "Ctrl-V" to paste all the links from the first user. Repeat for any additional users as needed.


If you are setting up a brand-new computer, instead of copying items between users' Start menus, simply place all the items in the "C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu" directory. They will appear in every user's Start menu.

The Windows 8 Start screen works in a slightly different way: to create icons on the Start screen, create a folder in the "C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs" directory and place program shortcuts inside it.


The steps in this article apply to Windows 7 and may vary slightly or significantly with other versions.