Windows

The eternal question: Why doesn't Administrative Tools appear on the Start Menu?

Administrative Tools is one of those little shortcuts on the Start Menu that IT people use all the time, but would prefer to have hidden from users. Here's a Windows 2000 Classic tip that still works in Windows XP and Windows Vista that you can use to keep yourself from having to dig around for Administrative Tools.

Today's Classic Tip comes from TechRepublic's Windows 2000 Professional TechMail dated 3/30/2000 and highlights a common question that continues to vex Windows XP and Windows Vista users even today:

WHY AREN'T ADMINISTRATIVE TOOLS ON THE START MENU?

Windows 2000 Professional does not by default add the Administrative

Tools folder to the Start menu, presumably with the logic that Pro is

geared toward the user who shouldn't need to access those tools very

often. Instead, the user can get to them through Control Panel |

Administrative Tools. However, it's handy to have the tools on the

Start menu as well.

To add the Administrative Tools folder to the Start menu, right-click

the taskbar, and choose Properties. Click the Advanced tab, and then

select the option Display Administrative Tools. You'll find several

other options in the same dialog that enable or disable other Start

menu features, such as expanding the Control Panel and other system

folders, displaying the Logoff command, and other useful Start menu

enhancements.

Another alternative is to create a shortcut on the desktop or in the

taskbar to the folder. Just open the Control Panel and right-drag the

Administrative Tools icon to the desktop or taskbar; then choose Create

Shortcut(s) Here. Rename the shortcut to suit your preferences.

Even though the 'problem' has been around since Windows 2000 Professional, this tip still works today in Windows XP and Windows Vista with a few minor caveats. In the Windows Vista Control Panel, you have to select Classic View to find Administrative Tools as described in the tip. Also, in both Windows XP and Windows Vista, the menu sequences vary a little.

Windows XP:

  1. Right click the Task Bar, select Properties
  2. Click the Start Menu Tab
  3. Click Customize
  4. Click the Advanced Tab
  5. Scroll the Start Menu Items list box until you find Administrative Tools
  6. Select Display on the All Programs menu and the Start menu

Windows Vista:

  1. Right click the Task Bar, select Properties
  2. Click the Start Menu Tab
  3. Click Customize
  4. Scroll the Customize Start Menu list box until you find System Administrative Tools
  5. Select Display on the All Programs menu and the Start menu

The author of the tip probably hit the nail on the head. There's no reason to make tools readily available that the average user won't know how to use or worse will just use to wreak havoc on the system. In any case, the hiding of Administrative Tools is one of those little leftovers from yesterday that we still see in the operating systems of today.

2 comments
John Sheesley - TechRepublic Pro
John Sheesley - TechRepublic Pro

Even though Administrative Tools has been buried since Windows 2000 Professional, I don't understand why it's even an option for regular users in Windows Vista. If the idea is that users can't be trusted to do so much stuff in Windows Vista that they run with limited rights and constantly have to be interrogated by UAC, then why even allow them the option to even see Administrative Tools? In most cases, I think this is where System Policy comes in. You can just eliminate some of the things that users can see and do. No questions asked, and no users snooping around doing things they shouldn't.

jon_saxon
jon_saxon

I can see a couple of reasons for multiple options for displaying Admin Tools. One, not all Vista computers are on a domain and many of those computers don't have someone handy to set System Policies. If you are on a domain you can lock down access to these tools with System Policies. But putting the option on the Start Menu gives techies quick access to the option using the "Run As" command. One of the relatively few things I appreciate about Microsoft is when they give me lots of options. I can use the options I like and ignore the ones I don't.

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