The Case of the Missing Windows 8.1 Right-Click Shortcuts

When Windows 8.1 first went RTM on TechNet, I downloaded it in a heartbeat and updated my home desktop machine from Windows 8 Pro to Windows 8.1 Pro. A problem that’s been plaguing me since the upgrade but I’ve not had time to look into was that my right-click shortcuts menu (Win+X keyboard shortcut) has been missing. Right-clicking in the bottom left to activate the menu just did nothing. This is what the menu should look like but on my machine it was as if I haven’t even clicked the mouse. Pressing Win+X did nothing either.

Windows 8.1 Start Menu Right-Click

With a little time to look at this today, and with a little help from the community, I found the cause and the resolution.

This shortcut menu is driven by items located in a folder called WinX in your user profile, organised into sub-folders to make up the groups that appear in the menu.¬†When I looked in my user profile for the path %LocalAppData%MicrosoftWindowsWinX, the folder which contains the data for this menu, it wasn’t there. I double and triple checked that I had show hidden files and system files enabled which I did but the folder just didn’t exist which went a long way to explain why I didn’t get the menu.

The solution for me was to break into the default user profile from C:UsersDefault and then navigate the default profile to AppDataLocalMicrosoftWindows and copy the WinX folder into my own profile. Doing this alone doesn’t fix the issue right away though as you need to log out of the machine and in again as this folder appears to be read at login to build the Windows Explorer interface.

To make this easier for people out there, I’ve zipped up the WinX folder default state and uploaded it to my SkyDrive account which you can download from here. Just extract this .zip file into your %LocalAppData%MicrosoftWindows folder if you have this issue also and Bob’s your uncle.