Make sure your Windows 10 Start Menu does not exceed 512 items

Martin Brinkmann
Sep 16, 2015
Updated • Jul 5, 2017
Windows, Windows 10

Windows 10 feels in some regards like an incomplete system as there are things that don't work properly yet or are yet delivered the way Microsoft wants them to be made available.

This includes prominent features such as the Settings/Control Panel "where is that damn setting issue", Windows apps that sometimes crash without you knowing why, or the Windows Start Menu which, while better than the Start Screen abomination (on desktop systems), lacks customization options.

Turns out the Start Menu is affected by a bug currently that may have disastrous consequences on system stability and performance.

You may experience the issue if the count of all Start Menu items exceeds 512. This may sounds like a lot but if you take into account that items are any file, folder or shortcut listed in the Start Menu, is quickly turns into a wider issuer that users can experience.

For instance, many desktop programs add a folder and several shortcuts to the Start Menu. Dropbox adds three, Google Drive five and Microsoft Office 2013 Pro fourteen.

windows 10 start menu bug

The count goes up quickly and if you don't monitor it -- which is complicated as you don't get a count of items anywhere -- you will experience issues.

According to Brad Sams over at, users who work on systems where the limit is exceeded may notice that apps and programs are not listed anymore in the Start Menu, or crashes when opened.

He notes that it is easy enough to test this on systems running Windows 10. All it takes is to add 500 or so items (shortcuts) to %appdata%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu on the system to experience the issue.

A click on Start Menu after performing the operation, or clicking on Start Menu on systems that exceeded the limit naturally, it may take up to fifteen seconds to open, may crash when you use it, and may have missing apps in it on top of that. It may also happen that the Start Menu does not react at all when you click on the button or tap on the Windows-key on your keyboard.

Microsoft is working on fixing the issue which as first reported in July 2015 by a user on Microsoft's official Answers forum. While Microsoft is working on it, it has made no mention of when it will have a patch ready that resolves the issue.

If you are experiencing the issue, open the Start Menu folder in File Explorer and remove some of the entries manually from there. Maybe you find program folders there that are no longer installed, or, and that is a valid option as well, delete shortcuts to readme files and websites that you don't need in program folders.

Please note that the Start Menu folder does not list installed apps.

Make sure your Windows 10 Start Menu does not exceed 512 items
Article Name
Make sure your Windows 10 Start Menu does not exceed 512 items
The Windows 10 Start Menu has a bug that causes issues on the system if the count of all entries in it exceeds 512.
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  1. beergas said on September 18, 2015 at 10:22 pm

    Did google & found this. Followed the MS guy’s info and my Count is 566. Double dang! But so far
    only a few BSOD on Win 10 x64 and maybe unrelated. Still……

    A rather unfortunate bug has emerged in Windows 10 that means if you have more than 512 apps on your start menu, some will go missing.

    The Register reports that all of the shortcut files are still stored in the same place on Windows 10, but now the Start Menu app itself appears to be driven by a different database – and its coders have limited it to 512 entries.

    It is presumably significant that the limit is 512 – which as a power of 2 is significant in computing.

    The good news is that a journalist has made Microsoft aware of the problem, with programme manager Arunjeet Singh apparently saying:

    “The issue seems to affect people with more than 512 apps in their “All apps” list.

    “To tell whether you’re one of them: 1. Bring up the Start menu and search for Windows Powershell. 2. Run Windows Powershell. 3. Run the command “Get-StartApps | measure” (without the quotes) in the command window.

    “If you see a number larger than or equal to 512 you are affected by this issue. We are working on a fix to this issue.”

  2. beergas said on September 18, 2015 at 10:08 pm

    Dang, 92 Files, 38 Folders. Thing is going into the Start Menu from their it looks like a mess of the files & folders listed are on D: drive. I keep thinking Start was mainly a few C: drive apps.
    Price of dealing with C: since DOS days, lol. Gotta find a patch for 512 factor on google, just in case.

  3. Shawn said on September 18, 2015 at 9:05 pm

    I fixed the 512 bug with a home made patch that only changed 1 byte of info now this puppy will crash by lack of ram I gave it the 65k test and it ran fine. I hate having to make patches for a operating system but considering the scripts I’m working on to make the ultimate rosetta stone of colors I’ve hit over 16million x 256 intensity levels of colors and my windows 10 didn’t die since the patch.. lucky for ghacks extra tricks to kill the spying crap i was able to create what I wanted.

  4. Stephan Hodges said on September 18, 2015 at 5:15 pm

    It’s actually very easy to check how many items you have, and perhaps you could update the article to show how.

    In File Explorer, simply paste this into the top address bar for each user “%appdata%\Microsoft\Windows\” (without the quotes).

    Then, right click on “Start Menu” and select “Properties”. It will give a count of all items. Example “Contains: 61 Files, 18 Folders”. The count is right in the middle of the Properties window, but you can use a screen shot to show it.

    1. CeriCat said on October 29, 2015 at 6:46 am

      That’s not the only location, if you run get-startapps in PS you’ll note there’s a heap of apps referred to by GUIDs for location not merely the start menu folder for shortcuts.

  5. Rick said on September 18, 2015 at 12:28 am

    No problems here and I had more than 600 in my %appdata%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu folder under my user account.

    I cleaned things up anyway… amazing how much stuff accumulates.


  6. Dwight Stegall said on September 17, 2015 at 11:12 pm

    I finally had enough of Windows 10. Too many bugs and runs too slow. I went back to Windows 8.1 Home 64-bit. Now I feel like I’m driving a race car. I never realized how fast 8.1 was until I didn’t have it anymore.

    I’ll give 10 another try in 6 months.

    1. CeriCat said on October 29, 2015 at 6:44 am

      Sadly this bug allegedly also occurs on Windows 8. It’s been driving me nuts since the update, thank god I don’t have even a quarter of my games installed though. That’d be enough to cause stability issues thanks to this.
      The easiest way to check if the system has too many apps causing this bug is to open powershell and run “get-startapps | measure” it’ll give a tally of the total apps.

  7. Flyer said on September 17, 2015 at 10:38 pm

    The sentence “Windows 10 feels in some regards like an incomplete system as there are things that don’t work properly yet or are yet delivered the way Microsoft wants them to be made available.” clearly shows what I am talking about since ages. Users of a new relase of MS system are in fact beratesters and except Win 10, they even pay for it :D
    In Win 10 insead of money MS get tons of data which will be sold another companies I am sure as a source of income. These spying feature has been described here somewhere.
    And this neverending fight with problems not known before, jeeeez :P
    For a serious purposes it is worth to wait a year or so to the next service pack or whatever it will be called.

  8. Richard said on September 17, 2015 at 2:11 pm

    Just plain lousy. I am ashamed to be using Microsoft’s crap. No thanks I will continue to use Classic Shell. Everyone I know uses it.

  9. Shawn said on September 17, 2015 at 3:27 am

    Wow i was right they forgot the period in between 1 and the 0 in Windows 10 we’re back to Windows 1.0 on this one… just priceless…

  10. Zeus said on September 17, 2015 at 2:19 am

    Gosh! But I mean, this is understandable. How could a computer possibly keep track of more than 512 things?

  11. Pants said on September 16, 2015 at 7:46 pm

    That’s hilarious – have the devs never heard of future-proofing ( 2^8 .. sheesh louise .. some on!) ? My portable aps (95% of which is in SyMenu) is over 400 programs (and 24 folders). I bet some wizzkid decided 512 was a fast small number to work in an array or something .. cuz .. performance.

  12. DJ said on September 16, 2015 at 7:36 pm

    Hm, given the fact that my Windows 7 start menu already has around 400 items (in All Users) and around 200 (in my userspace), I’m “eligible” for this bug in case I upgrade to Win10?
    I suppose using ClassicShell’s start menu as a default probably is a suitable workaround?

    1. George said on September 18, 2015 at 1:38 am

      Not a workaround: a massive improvement.

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