Start Menu vs. Start Menu\Programs

Using Windows 10.... just when I think I understand the menu I don't.

To add things to the start menu and then so I can pin to the start menu I add shortcuts to:

C:\Users\Tom\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu

My question is what is the difference between adding a short cut to:

C:\Users\Todd\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu
C:\Users\Todd\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs

Putting shortcuts there seems to place them on the start menu the same.

Thank you.
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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
The Windows 10 Start Menu (the left hand alpha sorted list) is the start menu. So what you Install or put in the start menu folder goes there. Completely normal.

Most things can also be put in the start tiles if you wish
Shaun VermaakTechnical SpecialistCommented:
%AppData%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu is the start menu folder.
Programs folder is just a folder to hold folders that contain application-specific shortcuts

The reason why it seems to work the same is that with Windows new start menu structure and search, both levels show up.

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JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
Also be aware that Microsoft Store apps largely install and uninstall with PowerShell commands and show up in the Tiles and also in the Start Menu list but not Program Folders.

So Windows 10 has more than one way of doing things.
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thandelAuthor Commented:
Shaun Vermaak is there any reason for me to place a short cut in one location vs. another?

Its maddening that a shortcut put in 2 different places shows up and behaves the same.
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
You only need a shortcut in one location (not two).

C:\Users\username\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs  - This is where most of my shortcuts are.

C:\Users\username\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu  - There is nothing there on my system. Do not use this location.
David Johnson, CD, MVPOwnerCommented:
There are 2 more locations:
c:\programdata\microsoft\windows\start menu and
C:\Users\Default\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu
That has its roots in Win9x/NT4.
If you remember XP: you had the Start button, with a menu with three sections; topmost program shortcuts, middle section said "Programs >" (as well as "Documents", "Settings", etc.), and finally the LogOff/Shutdown part.

The top part is where shortcuts directly in the root of "Start Menu" were displayed.
In "Programs >", everything in "Start Menu\Programs" was displayed.
The support for shortcuts in the root of "Start Menu" officially ended with Vista/Server 2008. There was a KB article about that, but either my Google fu is off duty today, or the article has been retired, but I can't find it at the moment.
In other words, you'll have to rely on my memory when I say: don't put shortcuts into the root of "Start Menu"; whatever the result is, it's not supported.
thandelAuthor Commented:
Yes thanks all I follow the roots of it... and I am only using one shortcut... just wondering what if any is the difference between putting a short cut in either location.

John I don't think you are following my question... you can put items in C:\Users\username\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu as well as C:\Users\username\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\programs
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
You should only use C:\Users\username\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs

Using just the start menu folder is not good practice, so just do not do that.
thandelAuthor Commented:
I mean why not put shortcuts here: C:\Users\username\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu

No need to drill down any further than necessary.    Just wondering if it matters which location I use.
thandelAuthor Commented:
OK John but why is it not good practice?  Its was OK for XP  :)
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
Just use the proper folder. Using the Start Menu folder only is not good practice. What else to say?

XP is nothing whatever like Windows 10, so adopt Windows 10 methods.
thandelAuthor Commented:
Thanks I appreciate your opinion but is there any documentation that explains why best practice is not to use it?  Or documentation that shows the difference... in my eyes if 10 handles both as the same then there is not difference.  No?
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
There is probably not a single piece of code from XP in Windows 10. Twelve years difference in time.

You do as you wish, of course, (no support for it, and you do not know (as I do not know) what the future holds for Windows 10).  I would only use the proper folder.
thandelAuthor Commented:
Thanks John but can you point me where it documents the "programs" is the proper folder?  Not trying to be a pain or difficult but I think the answer is, its doesn't matter but you seem to feel pretty strong about so I'm open to supporting documents.
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
I use a document such as this below

and then follow its recommendations.

Since we support clients, we do things this way to avoid issues.
thandelAuthor Commented:
Thank you I'll read it over... at first glance I didn't see anything in the link that provides a recommendation... but I will read it in depth.  Thank you for the link.
JohnBusiness Consultant (Owner)Commented:
There is, of course, more than one way to do things. The link above is where things go when standard software is installed. Then things go on the start menu in Windows in the correct places.  Then clients know what to expect. So that is why I do things this way.
just wondering what if any is the difference between putting a short cut in either location.
As i said in https:#a42757453
The difference used to be that the ones directly in "Start menu" were displayed directly when the start menu button was clicked, the ones in "Programs" obviously under the "Programs" flyout.
The difference is now that the ones directly in "Start menu" are not supported anymore.
any documentation that explains why best practice is not to use it
And again as I said: there definitely used to be documentation about this (which I know and clearly remember because I investigated that exact issue), but that document seems to be retired, as it is by now more than a decade old.
It's "best practice" not to use it because it is unsupported, full stop. It might work with the exact same Windows version you're using right now. It might not work anymore after the 2018-12 CU, it might not work anymore in Windows 10 1903, it might make Windows bluescreen in 1909.
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