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Enable "Pin to Start Menu" for Folders in Windows Vista / XP

The Start menu in Windows Vista and XP allows you to “Pin” items to the top for quicker access to your favorite applications. The problem is that you can’t pin folders to the start menu, even though that would be very useful.

There’s a registry hack that you can do to add this capability for folders as well… it’s not new, but still very useful.

Manual Registry Hack

To manually set up this context menu item, we’ll need to add an item to the right-click context menu. Open up regedit.exe through the start menu search box, and then browse down to the following key:

HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Folder\shellex\ContextMenuHandlers\

Once there, you’ll need to create a new key called {a2a9545d-a0c2-42b4-9708-a0b2badd77c8} with no value.

image

That should be the only thing you need to do. If you want to disable this, just delete the key.

Downloadable Registry Hack

You can choose to just download and use the registry hack files I’ve provided at the bottom of this article. Once you unzip the file, you should see two registry files:

  • EnablePinToStart.reg – Enable the menu
  • DisablePinToStart.reg – Disable the menu (deletes the key)

Using Pin to Start Menu

Find the folder you want to pin to your start menu, hold down the Shift key, and then right-click on the folder. You’ll notice the new item for Pin to Start Menu.

image

Now your folder should be pinned to the start menu…

image 

I’ve found this to be very useful if you want to use the start menu for quick access to folders.

Note: This tip will not work if you are using the classic start menu.

Download EnablePinToStart Registry Hack

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 09/14/07

Comments (35)

  1. Eric

    This did not work in XP …works perfect in vista ultimate.

  2. The Geek

    Eric,

    I just tested this on XP and it does work, but not if you are using the classic start menu.

  3. Tempus

    Coolness ! Works great on my XP…thanks

  4. Wil

    Great Hack!!!
    Why does MS not think of tis?

  5. Eli

    Thanks for the tip. Is it possible to make this folder acts like a menu? (like Control Panel and such)

  6. Nshmidt

    What I always did which works just fine is:

    Create a shortcut (in My Documents, in the root of C: or in the folder itself) to the folder which I want in the Start Menu and then just simply drag-n-drop it to the Start Menu.

    Or in a more backwards way;
    Copy and paste an existing shortcut on your desktop, then right click on the new shortcut and click ‘Pin to Start Menu’. then all you have to do is change the target by right clicking on the shortcut >> Properties and fill in the location of the folder you want to be pined in the Start Menu in the Target box and click ‘Apply’.
    Remember to keep the shortcut you’ve created in desired location and when you rename it as you desire the icon will change to the default folder icon.

  7. Keith

    This tip did not work for me in Windows XP SP2. I followed Nshmidt’s advice and got a shortcut to my folder pinned.

  8. whs

    In Vista there is a much easier way. Put the folder shortcut on the desktop, Drag it to the Start button and then drag it into the left pane of the Start box ( above the line of Temporary/Permanent). Voila, done.

  9. Wayne

    whs,

    Umm… isn’t that exactly what Nshmidt commented/suggested 2 comments up!?
    what I understood form him quite clearly, is his tip works in any version of Windows be it XP, Vista or older!!

  10. whs

    Wayne, I guess you are right. Did not see that.

  11. Mick

    Not sure if this is the reason why some people are failing, but this only worked for me when the file was stored locally on the PC. Pinning a file to the start menu when it was stored on a network share doesn’t work. (for me atleast).

    HTH.

  12. Just Me

    I 2nd this notion

    Thanks for the tip. Is it possible to make this folder acts like a menu? (like Control Panel and such)

  13. whs

    This is nice for a couple of folders. But if you want to have a lot of folder shortcuts handy, it will quickly bloat the Start Window beyond recognition. Especially if you want to have a lot of system folders like MAIL, COOKIES or whatever handy. In this case I suggest to use the LINK in the toolbar to park the shortcuts. Real handy!

  14. Mike

    I’m wondering if anyone knows how to back up and restore your Start Menu pinnings? This would be for the purpose of moving from an old computer to a new one, and not having to re-pin all your items. I’m sure if you run the Files & Settings Transfer Wizard or USMT it will do this, but I want to know exactly where (in the registry I assume?) these settings are stored so I can chose to save them individually if I want to.

  15. jake

    Does anyone know how to add folders to teh window that pops up when you need to choose a file to attach to an e-mail or the open file window? I have a folder that I use all the time and it would make it a lot easier if it were listed to the left with “my computer”…ect. If you know how please e-mail me at jcarey@geoshack.com

  16. sdfsd

    hey,

    I just found this out. Folders, files, whatever you want to appear on the start menu, drag it there.

    1. Drag the folder to the start button, don’t release the mouse
    2. Wait until the start menu appears
    3. Place the folder where you want it to be

  17. ukey

    everything is fine: solution with registry or the solution with drag. But I’de like that my folder pined in start menu to open like a menu. Have somebody an idea ?

  18. Tizzy

    Was a hack ever needed for this, since one could always drag any file or folder to the Start Menu as sdfsd described? XP has allowed this since at least SP1. It’s never good to suggest people fiddle with their registry when it’s not required.

    However, if someone answers ukey’s question, I’d also be grateful. : )

  19. mmg1818

    Thank you.

  20. gic

    to whs:

    what LINK in the toolbar did you mean?
    is that the Quick Launch icons?

  21. Daddy-O

    It doesn’t work on Vista Home Basic 64bit with SP1.

  22. NicRick

    Worked fine in my Vista-Business laptop, thanks a lot and keep enhancing us beginners.

  23. Alex

    Has anyone had any success with this pinning shortcuts on networked drives? It can do anything on a local drive but I can’t pin shortcuts, folders or files to the start menu with this.

  24. Adam

    To add a shortcut to a network drive to the pinned area of the Start Menu:

    – Create a shortcut to a local folder or drive (eg. ‘C:\’)
    – Hold down shift, right click the new shortcut and select Pin to Start Menu
    – Right click on the shortcut in the Start Menu and select Properties.
    – Change the shortcut name under the ‘General’ tab to the name you’d like to see on the Start Menu.
    – Change ‘Target’ to the path of the network drive (I had a mapped network at ‘K:\’, so I just typed K:\ in the target field)
    – Click OK.
    – The shortcut now links to the network drive or folder, thought it might keep the icon for the local drive (I have no idea why)

  25. Arun Shivaram

    It doesn’t work for me on a XP Media Center Edition.

  26. CM

    After trying three different fixes (including these) with no luck whatsoever, the answer to the problem turned out to be absolutely simple: Just click through Start – Properties – Start Menu – Customize – Advanced and check the box for “Enable drag and drop”.

  27. curjam

    Registry hack didn’t work for XP SP3. But the sdfsd method worked like a charm!

    May 7, 2008 10:01 am
    sdfsd

    hey,

    I just found this out. Folders, files, whatever you want to appear on the start menu, drag it there.

    1. Drag the folder to the start button, don’t release the mouse
    2. Wait until the start menu appears
    3. Place the folder where you want it to be

  28. dennis

    Worked great on XP SP3 for me.

    The networked drive trick suggested by Adam worked great as well, many thanks.

  29. William

    How to pin shutdown, reboot to start menu?

  30. Sheepchild

    Thank you so much! I don’t know how you discover such tweaks and fixes but I’m mighty glad you do.

  31. Vijay

    Hi Geek,

    I tried in my Xp pc, yes it works for the local folder of that PC only. I am having a mapped drive. For the folders available in the mapped drive is not working. Let me know if you have REG hack for this.

  32. Vijay

    For the networked drive trick suggested by Adam worked great as well, but the shortcut we created eg. in c:\ drive still available & if i deleted this shortcut the shortcut in start menu lose it link(path).

  33. Jessica

    I finally added a shortcut on the start menu for a mapped network drive thanks to ADAM (above):

    Adam:
    To add a shortcut to a network drive to the pinned area of the Start Menu:

    – Create a shortcut to a local folder or drive (eg. ‘C:\’)
    – Hold down shift, right click the new shortcut and select Pin to Start Menu
    – Right click on the shortcut in the Start Menu and select Properties.
    – Change the shortcut name under the ‘General’ tab to the name you’d like to see on the Start Menu.
    – Change ‘Target’ to the path of the network drive (I had a mapped network at ‘K:\’, so I just typed K:\ in the target field)
    – Click OK.
    – The shortcut now links to the network drive or folder, thought it might keep the icon for the local drive (I have no idea why)

    FINALLY!!!

  34. john

    Did not work on Dell Latitude e6400 with XP service pack 3 even after reboot.

  35. CoolM!ss

    Thx thx v.v.v.v.v.very much ^^
    it works perfectly
    I was wondering if I could and I just found your post.

    best regards

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