All the ways to customize the WinX menu in Windows 10 (and Windows 8.1)
In this tutorial, we will show you how to customize the WinX menu from Windows 10 and Windows 8.1 using a free application called Win+X Menu Editor or by making changes manually in Windows. After you read this article, you will be able to add or remove items from the WinX menu or create and configure new groups of items. We walk you through the complete process of downloading, installing, starting and using the Win+X Menu Editor application, as well as show how to use a small command line tool called hashlnk to add new shortcuts to the WinX Menu directly in File Explorer.
What is the WinX menu?
WinX draws its name from the many websites that have called it this, since Microsoft does not provide an official name for it. It is a power user menu that allows access to administrative features of Windows 10 or Windows 8.1.
You can read more about it here: Simple questions: What is the WinX menu & How to access it?
How to access the WinX menu
To access the WinX menu, you must right-click the Windows icon on the lower left corner of your screen. It is the button that is used to open the Start Menu in Windows 10 or switch to the Start screen in Windows 8.1. You can also use the keyboard combination Windows + X.
Both in Windows 10 and in Windows 8.1, the initial WinX menu contains three groups with administrative tools such as Task Manager, Disk Management, Control Panel and others alike.
The problem is that users are not allowed to arrange, add or delete items directly in this menu. However, there are two ways of doing this:
- The first and easiest method is to use a free application called Win+X Menu Editor. Read the next section to see how it works.
- The second is to access a specific Windows folder and manually create new subfolders for WinX groups, create new shortcuts or delete existing items. This is the complicated method, and it requires the use of a small tool that works in the command line, called hashlnk. Read about it on the second page of this tutorial.
How to customize the WinX menu with the WinX Menu Editor app
You can download Win+X Menu Editor by following this link to a website called WinAero. The download is free of charge, but donations are welcomed and encouraged. Click/tap the download button and save the application somewhere on your computer or device.
Once the download is done, you should have a file called WinXMenuEditorRelease.zip. Extract the zipped file. You can start Win+X Menu Editor by running the WinXEditor.exe file.
Open the application, and you see all your existing WinX items listed, as well as all the managing options that are available: Add a program, Create a group, Remove and Restore defaults.
It is important to keep in mind that in the right corner of the application screen there is a Restore defaults button. You can play around with the settings but, if you are not satisfied with the result, you can always use the Reset defaults and go back to the original WinX menu.
You have started the Win+X Menu Editor, and now you want to add new items to the WinX menu. To do that, click or tap the "Add a program" button at the top of the window. The following submenu is opened:
There are four options available:
- Add a program - use this to add any installed program from your computer.
- Add preset: Shutdown options, Services, Paint, Calculator, Windows Media Player, Snipping Tool and Notepad.
- Add a Control Panel item - use this to add any Control Panel item to the WinX menu.
- Add an Administrative Tools item - use this to add administrative tools from Windows.
For any change to take place in the WinX menu, you must use the Restart Explorer button that is located in the right-lower corner of the Win+X Menu Editor.
To give you an idea of how this all works, let's see what the process of adding a program - Internet Explorer - into the WinX menu involves. First, click or tap on the "Add a program" button.
The Open window is opened. To find Internet Explorer, go to "C:\Program Files\Internet Explorer". Select iexplore.exe and click or tap Open.
A Rename window is opened. Use it to enter the name that you want to use for this new entry. It is probably nicer to use something like Internet Explorer than it is to use iexplore. :)
Then, click or tap the Restart Explorer button in the bottom-right corner of Win+X Menu Editor to apply this change. Once you do that, the new entry becomes available in the WinX menu.
If you want to add a new group of shortcuts, click or tap on the Create a group button. No messages are shown, and instead, a new group is created automatically.
In this example, a new Group4 group was created. You can repeat this step to create as many groups as you want.Once you have created a new group, you can add new items to it by selecting it and then use the "Add a program" button, as we have shown earlier.
Items from the original list of entries, new programs added by you or even groups can be easily removed from the WinX menu. Select the item or group that you wish to remove and click or tap the Remove button from the top menu of Win+X Menu Editor.
Be careful when you click or tap on Remove because you are not prompted with any warning message if you delete individual items, only when removing groups. If you accidentally delete something and you want it back, try using the previous sections of this tutorial to add the item back or use the Restore defaults button.
Win+X Menu Editor does not remove any programs or features from your Windows operating system; it only changes the settings and the appearance of the WinX menu. You can always restore the original settings of your WinX menu by using Restore defaults.
The second method to customize your WinX menu involves going into a Windows folder and manually creating new folders for WinX groups, creating new shortcuts or deleting existing items. It is the complicated method, and it requires the use of a small tool that works in the command line, called hashlnk. Read about it on the next page of this tutorial.