The Start menu pin list is just a list of items; there’s no magic

Commenter Kevin Dente asks, "Is it possible to put a folder on the Start Menu Pin list and have it cascade?"

No. The last time I checked (which was back in Windows XP), the Start menu pin list was a list, not a menu. (Specifically, a list view in tile mode.) When you click on the icon, it launches. There is no code to say "Oh, if this flag is set, then let me draw a little menu arrow next to the item, and if the user clicks the arrow, bind to the target of this shortcut, enumerate its contents, and create a menu from it."

Remember, features don't exist by default; somebody has to implement them.

Comments (18)
  1. RobO says:

    Ok, so my pinned list has My Computer in it with a little arrow next to it. When hovered over, it expands to show the local drives, each with little arrows. Further hovering results in further expanding.

    Additionally, I created a folder, with a subfolder and pinned it. It expands to show the subfolder. Hovering over that expands to show the contents of the subfolder.

    The answer appears to be yes. What am I missing?

  2. Mark says:

    RobO: really?  How did you do that?

  3. John Topley says:

    @RobO You can’t add My Computer to the Start menu pin list. If you right-click on the built-in Start menu My Computer icon, there is no "Pin to Start menu" menu item.

    I tried dragging the icon to the top left area of the Start menu, but that simply creates a shortcut, which doesn’t expand. Is your My Computer icon at the top right of your Start menu?

  4. Mark says:

    My guess is RobO is thinking of the All Users section on the classic Start Menu (separated by a line from the rest).  It used to be quite common to use this area for favourite shortcuts.

    The part above "Fax Console" is the pin list, not the part with "Windows Update":

  5. Why? says:

    > The last time I checked (which was back in Windows XP), the Start menu pin list was a list

    The question which raises automatically is .. why ?

    I mean, usually one choose the control with the desired behavior and re-implement the presentation aspect, not the opposite as it happened here.

  6. RobO says:


    Yeah, You are right. Classic menu and no ability to change to XP style at work.

  7. @Why

    I guess it’s because there isn’t a widget that implements a list of items for a menu, and the ListView in tile mode is the closer match. You only have to subclass it and respond to a couple of messages (WM_MOUSEMOVE, WM_MOUSELEAVE and WM_LBUTTONDOWN) – a lot simpler than writing a menu item list control from scratch.

  8. nteddy says:

    You could use a folder such as Computer.{some-long-uuid-here} inside the classic start menu. That should make arbitrary shell folders expandable as a menu. This trick won’t work with the pinned items list, so Raymond is still correct.

  9. Warren says:

    Windows 7 has built-in support for sub-menus off of the pinned list, but the pinned item actually has to be an application with a Most Recently Used list, and/or takes advantage of the new Jump Lists taskbar feature.

    I suppose, in theory, someone could write a small utility for Windows 7 that creates an application that builds its MRU and/or Jump List based on the contents of a directory.

  10. configurator says:

    In my pin list I have Windows Media Player, with a little arrow on the side for the all important "Play all music shuffled". Why can’t I have that with folders? Seems like a missing feature.

    By the way, if you add the Computer folder to Windows 7 Start Menu, you can’t remove me. @RobO, did you have to say that about the Computer folder?

  11. Xepol says:

    Has anyone else noticed that Raymond’s tone, which previously was trying to honestly explain things people might have overlooked, has changed to something more condescending along the lines of "why are people such morons"?

    Today’s article is particularilly obvious.

    Raymond, you might want to take a holiday from the technical side of your blog – it seems to be wearing you down.

  12. Anonymous says:

    Xepol: he has to make the case for his readers’ attention.  In this entry, he’s given the opportunity (and obligation) by the suggestion box.  As ever, thanks for the great blog, Raymond.

  13. Anonymous Coward says:

    Obviously, the list control was the wrong control. Microsoft should have reused the functionality that already exists to implement the rest of the start menu and internet favourites.

    @Xepol: Well, Raymond has previously said that he queues items far ahead. Maybe he had a grumpy phase a year ago. Maybe it’s already over.

  14. Marc says:

    wow it’s a just a list view. I assumed it was some úber start menu control.

  15. RobO says:

    "@RobO, did you have to say that about the Computer folder?"

    No. There were no circumstance – such as a gun to my head or threats of eternal damnation from some deity – which made me feel like I *had* to.

    I believe it was free will; misguided as it may have been by my jumping to a conclusion based on the results of an incomplete thought process whereby I didn’t take into account exactly how my menu emulates the earlier version and therefore does not support the Pinned List feature of the XP style menu.

  16. Igor Levicki says:

    I am glad that there isn’t such magic or every crappy company writing shovelware would abuse it to death to shovel even more trash in our faces.

  17. Neil says:

    Perhaps what he’s trying to say is "Given that you managed to make nine cascadable menuitems, how hard was it to ignore them and go for the cheap listview option for the pin list?"

  18. cyanna says:

    @ Configurator: this was reported as a bug and fixed in later versions (past the 706x). in the mean time there’s a reg edit floating around the net to correct that in the public beta

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