How to Fix: Windows 10 Programs Missing from Start Menu

Dennis Faas's picture

Infopackets Reader Kelly S. writes:

" Dear Dennis,

I just upgraded to Windows 10 and many of my programs are missing from the Start Menu. For example, Office 2013 is missing, so is Adobe Acrobat, and also Norton Antivirus is gone. Do you have any idea how this happened? Can you help me find my missing programs in the Start Menu? "

My response:

There are a number of reasons why programs go missing from the Start Menu after upgrading to Windows 10 - I'll try and shed some light.

Windows 10 Program Incompatibility

If a program is not compatible with Windows 10, it will not be imported when you proceed with the Windows 10 upgrade. This is especially true with some antivirus programs. To get around this problem, you can download the latest version of the program online the Internet and hope that it is compatible with Windows 10. If not, you will need to find a replacement program that performs a similar function which is compatible with Windows 10. I have written about this before; please refer to this article.

Windows 10 Start Menu 512 Limit (Bug)

Early versions of Windows 10 did not display all Start Menu items if there are more than 512 items in the Start Menu. Reports suggest that this bug has been fixed, with the limit increased to 2048. You can determine if you are affected by this bug if you do the following: click Start, type in "powershell" (no quotes), then click the Power Shell icon when it appears. Next, highlight the text below with your mouse:

Get-StartApps | measure |findstr Count

Right click the highlighted text and select Copy from the dialogue menu. Go back to the Power Shell and right click in the middle of the window, then select Paste, then press Enter on the keyboard. If you see any numbers greater than 512, then you may be affected by this bug. In that case, it is recommended you check for Windows Updates and download any updates that are available, which will increase this limit to 2048. If that does not help you, proceed to my next suggestion.

The Windows 10 Start Menu is Inherently Broken

The Windows 10 Start Menu is absolutely horrible, in my opinion. It is slow and bulky, and loaded with moving tiles that serve none other than Microsoft in hopes of garnering traffic to their search engine (Bing).

My suggestion is to replace the default Windows 10 Start Menu with Classic Shell. It is highly customizable and resembles a Start Menu from Windows 7 or 8, with a bit of Windows 10 flare. And best of all - this Start Menu actually works the way it was intended! It's fast, light weight, and comes highly, highly recommended. You can also access the original Windows 10 Start Menu after installing Classic Shell if you press Shift + Left Mouse Click, if you really wanted to.

Before I used Classic Shell, I would search for Windows programs (such as "disk management") and the Windows 10 Start Menu would take up to 15 seconds to find what it was looking for, even with a solid state hard drive. Sometimes I would type in my search, and absolutely nothing would come up except for external links to Bing. This was not very helpful, especially when I knew the file was on my hard drive (and not a search engine)! After I installed Classic Shell, finding items is not only instantaneous, but also intelligent - it shows everything related to what I'm searching for on my computer and not a search engine.

Got a Computer Question or Problem? Ask Dennis!

I need more computer questions. If you have a computer question -- or even a computer problem that needs fixing -- please email me with your question so that I can write more articles like this one. I can't promise I'll respond to all the messages I receive (depending on the volume), but I'll do my best.

About the author: Dennis Faas is the owner and operator of With over 30 years of computing experience, Dennis' areas of expertise are a broad range and include PC hardware, Microsoft Windows, Linux, network administration, and virtualization. Dennis holds a Bachelors degree in Computer Science (1999) and has authored 6 books on the topics of MS Windows and PC Security. If you like the advice you received on this page, please up-vote / Like this page and share it with friends. For technical support inquiries, Dennis can be reached via Live chat online this site using the Zopim Chat service (currently located at the bottom left of the screen); optionally, you can contact Dennis through the website contact form.

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dan_2160's picture

While Classic Shell has its adherents (and it is a fine alternative to the Windows 10 Start Menu), I've found Start10 to be a more satisfying alternative to the Windows 10 Start Menu which I agree is quite unpleasant to use (although for the computer illiterate, it might be nice to use).

You can download a 30-day free trial of Start10 from . If you choose to buy it, the price is only $4.99 (even less if you owned Start8 for Windows 8/8.1). My guess is that choosing between Start10 and Classic Shell is pretty much a matter of personal preference. For me, Start10 offers some nice customizing features and is, frankly, easier to use than Classic Shell. But your personal preferences, obviously, may be different. Enjoy either one, but be aware there are several alternatives to the windows 10 Start Menu.

jamies's picture

Right-click on the Taskbar at he bottom? of the screen, select Toolbars, and create a toolbar to

C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs

I find it useful to have another to the folder on the desktop with shortcuts to the apps, folders,& files I am currently working on.

Win XP used to allow you to park several toolbar sets along the top of the screen as drop-downs, but that's gone in win 10.