Remove Programs from the All Apps Screen in Windows 8

One annoying feature I have noticed in Windows 8 is when you install a new program, the All apps screen ends up getting cluttered with a bunch of useless links to not only the program, but to all finds of other files associated with that program.

For example, I installed a program on Windows 8 and when I go to the Start Screen, I see it now has a bunch of links to the program and to the help file, links to the site, etc. In previous versions of Windows, it was all there too, but it was nicely tucked away in a folder.

all apps menu

That’s just one app! You can only imagine if you start installing a bunch of desktop apps. Of course, all Metro apps are listed on the left side and only take up one slot! It’s the desktop apps that cause all the issues. But luckily, there is a way to clean it up. In some cases, you can just right-click and choose Unpin from Start, but I noticed that the option does not come up for all the items. So here’s how to do it properly.

There are basically two locations for all the shortcuts that show up on the All apps screen:

1. C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs

and

2. C:\Users\aseem_000\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs

Now by default, you won’t be able to see these folders since they are hidden. You can easily see hidden folders by going to Explorer, clicking on the View tab and checking the Hidden Items box.

hidden items

Go to both locations and in one of them you should see the folder that has all the links that are showing up in the All apps screen.

all apps shortcuts

You can do one of two things here. You can either delete the entire folder and then nothing will show up in the All apps screen or you can go into the folder and delete out the other useless stuff you don’t want and leave the main program file.

delete shortcuts

As you can see, I went ahead and deleted the other shortcuts that I didn’t want. Now when I go to the Start Screen, I immediately see that it is now just one item instead of 5!

remove links

Nice! Much cleaner looking All apps screen. But wait, we can make it even better! Let’s say that you only want to open that program from the desktop and don’t care to have it in the All apps screen. Is there a way to show a  program shortcut on just the desktop and not on the All apps screen? Yes!

To do this, first go into the folder and copy the program file shortcut or whatever shortcut you want to the desktop. I copied the main file shortcut to my desktop like shown below:

copy shortcut

Once you have copied the shortcut to the desktop, go ahead and delete the folder in the Programs folder. Note that these are all shortcuts, so no files are actually being deleted. Once you have done this, you need to restart Windows 8. Not sure why, but you won’t see the changes in the All apps screen until you restart.

Now I have a shortcut on the desktop to my program and my All apps screen is clear of useless extra links and shortcuts.

clean all apps

So that’s how you can keep your Windows 8 system looking clean! You would have thought Microsoft would have made the All apps screen a little more customizable, but unfortunately, it’s a little clunky.

Comments [3]

  1. Tell me you don’t have to do this for every desktop program you install? If so, it’s just another reason not to upgrade to 8.

  2. Hi Costa,

    So far is seems like that is exactly what you will have to do! I have installed several programs and they all show up on the All apps screen and clutter the whole thing. This is the final version of Windows 8 that will be released in October too, so it looks like it's there to stay.

  3. Loved the procedure and it worked for me quite well.

    Thanks

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