How to customize the Windows-X menu in Windows 10

Martin Brinkmann
May 11, 2017
Updated • May 22, 2018
Software, Windows software

Win+X Menu Editor is a free program for Microsoft Windows 8 and 10 devices that enables you to customize the Windows-X menu.

The keyboard combination Windows-X opens a hidden menu with all kinds of links to administrative tools on Windows 8 and Windows 10 devices.

Links point to system tools like the Device Manager or Disk Management, provide you with shutdown options, or open the Task Manager or start searches. Originally designed to provide quick access to administrative tools on Windows 8's fullscreen Start Page, it is included in Windows 10 as well.

If you use the menu regularly, you may have some items listed by the Windows-X menu that you don't require, and others that are not listed at all. That's where a program like Win-X  Menu Editor steps in, as it enables you to add or remove items from the menu.

Win-X Menu Editor

winx menu editor

Win-X Menu Editor is a simple program that you can run right after you have downloaded and unpacked it on your system.

The application lists all existing links in its interface. These are sorted into groups that are displayed separately in the menu.

To remove a program from the Windows-X menu, simply select it in the Win+X Menu Editor interface, and click on the remove button afterwards.

Note: Any change becomes visible only after you restart Windows Explorer, log off and on again, or restart the PC. Win+X Menu Editor comes with a handy "restart Explorer" option which you can use for the purpose.

add items windows-x menu

Adding items on the other hand requires more work. You select Add a program from the list, and then one of the four available options:

  • Add a program -- this is a straightforward option, as you may select any application using the opening file browser. You may add your favorite programs for instance to the Windows-X menu.
  • Add a preset -- A list of common locations that are not displayed by default in the menu are available for quick selection. This includes links to Services, the Snipping Tool or Notepad.
  • Add a control panel item -- Select a (classic) Control Panel item that you want displayed in the Windows-X menu. You may also add a link to "all Control Panel items", which opens the main Control Panel window when activated.
  • Add an administrative tool -- Works in similar fashion as the "add a control panel item", only that you may select to add Windows administrative tools such as the Event Viewer, Disk Cleanup, Local Security Policy, or Task Scheduler.

You may then use the up and down icons on the side to move links in the same group.  A custom Windows-X menu could look like the following one once you are done editing.

custom windows-x menu

The program is easy to use, and a reset option is included to restore the default layout of the Windows-X menu.

Closing Words

Win+X Menu Editor is a handy program for Windows users who use the Windows-X menu on their devices regularly. It allows them to remove links that they don't use, which is good as it frees up space and improves the selection of the remaining items, and add links to features and programs that are missing in the default menu that are used regularly.

Now Read: Open the Control Panel in the Windows 10 Creators Update

The manual way

windows-x menu edit

I was asked whether it is possible to edit the Windows-X menu manually as well. It is indeed possible and quite easy to do:

  1. Open File Explorer on the system you want to customize the menu on.
  2. Go to C:\Users\USERNAME\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\WinX. Replace USERNAME with the name of the logged in user.
  3. You should get a list of three groups that Windows uses to separate shortcuts.

The groups are displayed in reverse order as Group3 items appear at the top and Group1 items at the bottom.

Delete entries

To delete entries displayed by the menu, remove them by right-clicking on the items and selecting the delete option.

Add entries

You cannot just drag and drop shortcuts to the menu to have them displayed there, for instance from the desktop as Windows accepts specifically prepared shortcuts only.

You can create these shortcuts using the open source tool Hashlnk which you can download from GitHub.

Run the tool on the shortcuts, e.g. hashlnk "myshortcut.lnk" to make it usable in the Windows-X menu. Copy the shortcut to the menu afterwards to have it included.

Rename entries

rename windows-x menu

Rename is supported as well, but you need to do so by editing the desktop.ini file that is listed in each Group folder. It is hidden by default and you need to configure Windows to unhide files first to interact with them.

To rename an entry in the Windows-X menu replace the part after the "=". To rename Event Viewer to Events, replace the line 07 - Event Viewer.lnk=@%SystemRoot%\system32\shell32.dll,-22029 with 07 - Event Viewer.lnk=Events to do so.

Add a group

Create a new folder and name it GroupX, with X the next free number that is not taken by existing Group folders.

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  1. ad said on May 12, 2017 at 10:37 am

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  2. Master degree Coder said on May 11, 2017 at 8:51 pm

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    1. Jeff said on May 12, 2017 at 2:43 pm

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    2. Armond said on May 12, 2017 at 6:29 am

      Registry what? tweks ?

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