Microsoft

Quick Tip: Add an Applications folder to the Windows 8 Desktop

With the help of a special code, add an applications folder to the Windows 8 Desktop that grants easy access to all programs.

I am running Microsoft Windows 8 on several personal computers either for my work here at TechRepublic or at home. I don't really have any use for a tablet device, so I almost exclusively use Windows 8 in Desktop Mode. Once I get to that mode I don't have any reason to go back to the Start Screen since I am content with the Task Bar system for navigation purposes. However, I know some of you are fans of the Start Menu and have been looking for alternatives to the Windows 8 Start Screen.

There is one alternative that we have yet to explain on TechRepublic. With the help of a special GUID code you can add an Applications folder to the Windows 8 Desktop that contains links to every installed application plus several of control panel utilities. The process is straightforward as long as you have the right code.

Applications folder

First, navigate to the Windows 8 Desktop and right-click on a blank spot and navigate to New | Folder, as shown in Figure A.

Figure A

Navigate to New | Folder

This action will create a new folder on the desktop which is waiting for a new name. This is where the GUID code comes in. Type in (or copy) the command below and press the [Enter] key:

Applications.{4234d49b-0245-4df3-b780-3893943456e1}

You now have an Applications folder that contains links to all your installed programs. It should show files similar to Figure B.

Figure B

Applications Folder

Also read:

About

Mark Kaelin is a CBS Interactive Senior Editor for TechRepublic. He is the host for the Microsoft Windows and Office blog, the Google in the Enterprise blog, the Five Apps blog and the Big Data Analytics blog.

9 comments
WRRATCLIFF@COX.NET
WRRATCLIFF@COX.NET

Great Tip. See, Win8 ain't so bad. Use Classic Shell and Win+D and roll with it, baby!

royboy211
royboy211

I created a new folder on the desktop, but when I tried to rename it to the name quoted by Mark Windows would not allow it. Am I doing something wrong?

marvin
marvin

I also try and use the Windows 8 Interface, but sometimes have been frustrated when looking for a rarely used APP. The names of these APPS are not always at my fingertips, so I have to browse through the APP Icons to find what I am looking for. Those icons are scattered all over the interface and If you have many-many APPS it quickly becomes a blur of unrecognizable images. Your solution solves the problem by presenting a list of all APPS that can be sorted alphabetically simply by clicking the "Name" column. This at least presents all the APPS in an organized list. What a novel idea, huh? Here are a couple of ideas to make accessing the APP folder even more accessible. 1. When working in the Windows 8 Interface. The Apps Folder can also be pinned to Start which is the Windows 8 Interface by right clicking on he APPS icon. This allows you to access the APPS folder directly from the Windows 8 interface without having to switch to the desktop, 2. When working with the Desktop Interface. If you attempt to drag the APP folder to the task bar (which does not work) it will allow you to add it to the File Explorer Icon on the task bar. If your desktop is has several windows open, the APPS icon is not always easily viewable and this method allows you to use the task bar. You now have three choices to use for accessing the APP folder.

arthunter
arthunter

I put the new folder on the desktop but when I click it, the folder is empty. I did the procedure twice with the same result.

Webminotaur
Webminotaur

Mark, I added a folder per your instructions. It did give a listing of all installed programs (and the documents pinned on the Start Page). Unfortunately, there was too much information for my general use. Plus, I can get all that in a better format by right-clicking the Start Page (my Start Menu) and selecting All Apps. Something I've rarely seen by tech authors is how to make the default Start Page into a working Start Menu. Really, it's quite simple. First unpin/uninstall everything you don't/won't use, then pin what you do use (just as was done for the old Start Menu), and arrange everything according to the way you work. I like being able to press the Windows key and have my Start Menu pop up where I can click on the desired program/app/document and have it launch/open. Or I can just start typing the name and select it from the search results. Much better (for me) than clicking on the Start Button, looking for what I want (really a pain for Tools that aren't used all that frequently), and having to double-click it. The best part is that it took me less than 15 minutes to make my personalized Start Menu. I only wish the buttons were about a quarter of their current size.

Random_2
Random_2

Go to http://ninite.com/ scroll down and select "Classic Start" under "Utilities". Once this nifty little bit of software is installed you'll have the option of booting to a desktop with the classic start button and programs. You'll also find it is fully customizable when you explore it further.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

As I say, I don't really see the need for an Applications folder in Windows 8, but perhaps you do. Let us know if you give this Quick Tip a try and tell us how it works out for you?

Webminotaur
Webminotaur

Yes, there are a lot of How To articles and videos available. They began a few months before the official release of Windows 8. Another good article by Greg is found at: http://www.techrepublic.com/blog/window-on-windows/you-dont-really-need-a-start-menu-in-windows-8/6954?tag=content;siu-container Both of these articles deal with adding items to the Desktop, not converting the Start Page to an effective Start Menu. Making the Start Page work FOR you as a Start Menu was my point.