Organize Programs list in Vista

July 30, 2008

I always have lots of programs installed on my computers. And I like to organize them either under the manufacturer’s name—such as Microsoft or Adobe—or, for the smaller programs, under categories—such as Graphics, Utilities, etc.

This was always easy to do in Windows XP, but it’s annoyed me that I can’t readily change this in Vista. Instead I get a dinky little non-expandable vertical list that’s hard to navigate, hard to read, and only displays about 10 or 15 programs at a time.

I want my programs listed the way *I* want them, not the way Vista wants me to read them. So I Googled and found a solution, which is quite easy once you know how.

  1. Right-click on the Start icon.
  2. Select Explore All Users.
  3. Change and reorganize your programs into folders that YOU want.

I still haven’t found a way to make the list longer or to expand it, and I don’t know if either of those things are possible, but at least I can put all those default “Windows [program name]” items into a list all on their own and get them out of my view. They just slow me down!

Oh, and before anyone comments about using the Search box to find programs? I love that Search box, but sometimes you forget what you’ve got or what it’s called! That’s why I like the Programs list too. And using Windows Explorer (or whatever it’s called in Vista) is not the answer. There are two lots of C:\Program Files—one for the 64-bit programs and one for the 32-bit programs (called x86, by the way, which may be meaningful to those from the 1980s and 1990s computer era, but would be unintelligible for a general user like my husband or parents).

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