The WINX Menu can be customized nearly anyway that you can imagine. This article shows you how to add, remove, and rearrange the WINX Menu in Windows 8.1.
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Joseph Moody

Joseph Moody is a network admin for a public school system and helps manage 5,500 PCs. He is a Microsoft Most Valuable Professional (MVP) in Cloud and Datacenter Management and blogs at DeployHappiness.com.
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The new WINX menu is the go-to location when troubleshooting a computer. Just by pressing the Windows Key + X (or right clicking on the Start button), an admin can access every common tool or console. Since its introduction in Windows 8, Microsoft has even made some pleasant refinements to the available options.

Windows 8.1 WINX menu

The Windows 8.1 WINX menu

For example, Windows 8.1 allows easy access to Network Connections and a Shutdown/restart/sign out button. But I have a feeling that you want to make this menu your own! Let’s find out how we can customize the WINX Menu.

Replace Command Prompt with PowerShell ^

Windows + X and followed by A is my favorite hotkey! There is no easier way to open an Administrative Command Prompt. If you spend most of your time in PowerShell though, Microsoft provides an easy way to swap out the WINX shortcuts.

Right click on the TaskBar and select Properties, then select Navigation. Under Corner Navigation, select the “Replace Command Prompt” option and press Ok.

Replace Command Prompt with PowerShell

Replace Command Prompt with PowerShell

Right click on the Start Button again and you will see your slightly modified WINX Menu:

WINX menu with PowerShell

WINX menu with PowerShell

 Removing unused WINX Shortcuts ^

The WINX Menu contains three distinct groupings –named Group1, Group2, and Group3. Group1 starts at the bottom (Desktop/Shutdown) and is followed by Group2 above it. These groups can be found at: %USERPROFILE%\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\WinX.

WINX shortcut location

WINX shortcut location

Before continuing, make a backup of the WINX folder in case you need to restore a particular shortcut or group.

To remove a shortcut, delete the shortcut file from the Group folder. As an example, I deleted the Mobility Center from Group3. To see the change, you can logout and log back in. You can also kill the explorer.exe process and restart it.

Goodbye Mobility Center!

Goodbye Mobility Center!

New WINX menu groups ^

With the built-in menu items, you have a lot of flexibility. Besides removing shortcuts, you can create new groups and rearrange existing programs. To create a new section, create a new folder named Group4 and copy any existing shortcuts into it.

New WINX menu groups

New WINX menu groups

As you can see in the picture above, the Explorer related shortcuts were moved into a new group and are placed at the top of the menu.

Now that you know the WINX shortcut location, you probably have tried to add a custom shortcut. In which case, you probably discovered that the shortcut didn’t appear! To prevent Application Vendors from spamming the WINX menu, Microsoft makes adding items a bit difficult.

Adding new WINX shortcuts ^

There are a few tools that can help you add shortcuts to the WINX menu. My personal favorite is the free WIN+X Menu Editor by Win Aero. When you first launch the tool, it will scan your WINX directory and present you with a hierarchal view.

WIN X Menu editor

WIN X Menu editor

As an example, I am going to create a new group named Group5. I am going to put a shortcut for Outlook and OneNote in this group. To do this, select Add a program – and then select Add a program again.

WIN X Menu editor - Add a program

WIN X Menu editor - Add a program

Because all Office shortcuts are under the StartMenu ProgramData folder, I will browse to C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Microsoft Office 2013. Finally, I can just select each program and open them.

The new shortcuts should appear under Group5. Press the Restart Explorer button to see your actual changes.

WINX menu with new shortcut

WINX menu with new shortcut

By using this menu creator (and understanding how the WINX menu works), you can now build a custom WINX menu containing your most used applications.

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7 Comments
  1. avatar
    capnyank 4 years ago

    Is there a way to create context entries similar to the way the Shut Down or Sign Out option works? I tried to add a folder to one of the existing groups in the hopes it would add an arrow to the right but the folder did not show up at all. I assume that this only looks for shortcuts and adds them to the list. Any ideas?

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  2. Profile gravatar of Joseph Moody Author
    Joseph Moody 4 years ago

    I haven't found a way yet - an update to the WINX Menu editor might provide that though!

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  3. avatar
    kronos 4 years ago

    If you want to add it try creating a batch file called shutdown and type in "shutdown -s -t 00" (replace 00 with the number of seconds you want to wait) then use that tool to add it. I don't know what the log out command is, but Windows 8.1 comes with both options.

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  4. avatar
    Thiebauld 3 years ago

    logout: shutdown -l

    have a try: shutdown /?

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  5. avatar
    TeamTerry 2 years ago

    Great article, but do you know of a way to edit the winx menu via Group Policy for use on RDS servers? I have restricted access to each of the items on the menu, but I would like to disable the WinX menu completely or edit it via Group Policies.
    Hope you can help

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  6. Profile gravatar of Joseph Moody Author
    Joseph Moody 2 years ago

    Thank you! Other than the way mentioned (and a few other program hacks that have come around), I am not sure of an easy way to edit it.

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  7. avatar
    Szturchacz Weselny 2 months ago

    WORKED on Newest Windows 10 PRO 1703 ! YES ! YES ! YES ! 🙂

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