How to organize your Windows 11 Start menu with folders

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Windows 10 lets you create and manage folders to house the apps in your Start menu. 

That’s a helpful way to organize your apps and keep the menu from getting too cluttered. The initial version of Windows 11 lacked that capability.  

But now Microsoft has revived that feature for its latest flavor of Windows. 

With the Windows 11 22H2 update, you can create, move, and manage folders in the Start menu to better group specific apps.

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How to organize your Windows 11 Start menu with folders 

 Here’s how this works.

First, you’ll need to update your Windows 11 PC to the 22H2 version if you haven’t already done so. Go to Settings > Windows Update and then click the button for Check for updates. If the 22H2 update isn’t yet available for your PC and you still want to install it, head to Microsoft’s Download Windows 11 website. Here you can snag the update through the Windows 11 Installation Assistant, through the Windows 11 Installation Media, or through an ISO file.

Click the Start button to access the menu. If any frequently used apps are not on the Start menu, you may first want to pin them there so you can move them into folders. Click the All Apps button at the top. Right-click on any app you want to pin, and click the command for Pin to Start.

Pin to Start button in Windows 11 Start menu.

Pin apps to the Start menu.

Screenshot by Lance Whitney/ZDNET

Go back to the Start menu and look for apps that you’d want to put into a folder. Check for related apps, such as Microsoft Office programs, web browsers, photo and video editors, or utilities. Drag and drop one icon on top of another to create a folder.

Creating a folder by dropping icons in Windows 11 Start menu with folders.

Drop one icon onto another to create a folder.

Screenshot by Lance Whitney/ZDNET

Also: Windows 11 22H2: How to get Microsoft’s latest OS update and what’s coming next

The two apps below will be placed in a folder with the generic name of Folder. Click the folder to open it. Click in the Edit name field, and type a new name for the folder. Then click anywhere outside the folder to close it and confirm the new name.

Naming a folder in Windows 11 Start menu.

Screenshot by Lance Whitney/ZDNET

To add more apps to the folder, drag and drop other related icons on top of the folder. Continue in this way to add more apps to the folder.

Adding more apps to a folder in Windows 11 Start menu.

Screenshot by Lance Whitney/ZDNET

Next, look for other apps that you want to place in a folder. But here’s a challenge. What if the apps are so far apart on the Start menu that dragging and dropping one on the other is too difficult? No problem, not when you can put them both on the same row. Right-click one of the apps and select Move to front. That moves the icon to the first spot in the top row.

Moving icons to the top row in Windows 11 Start menu.

Move icons to the top row.

Screenshot by Lance Whitney/ZDNET

Do the same with any other apps you want to move into the same folder so that they’re all next to each other on the top row. When you’re done, move the apps on top of each other to create the new folder, and then change its name.

Moving all apps to the top row in Windows 11 Start menu.

Move all apps for a folder to the top row.

Screenshot by Lance Whitney/ZDNET

Also: Windows 11 22H2: These are the big new security features 

Continue this process until you’ve created the folders you want. Open a folder to view its icons. You can drag and drop the icons to sort them in the order you wish. Single-click an app to open it.

Opened folder that shows apps.

Screenshot by Lance Whitney/ZDNET

After you’re finished, drag and drop the folders around the Start menu to position them in the spots you want. You can right-click a folder and select Move to front to move it to the top row.

Moving folders around the Windows 11 Start menu with Move to front button.

Move folders around the Start menu.

Screenshot by Lance Whitney/ZDNET

Finally, if you decide you want to remove an app from a folder and place it by itself in the Start menu, just open the folder and drag the icon outside. If you remove all of the apps except one, the folder itself disappears.

Action to remove an app from a folder in Windows 11 Start menu

Remove an app from a folder.

Screenshot by Lance Whitney/ZDNET

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