WinX: The case of the missing Windows 8 right-click Admin Menu

by Ed Sparks

Windows 8.x features a very useful right-click context menu that offers quick access to many common administrative tasks. While this was initially a concession Microsoft made for the ridiculous misguided removal of the Start Menu, after using this for a short period of time it quickly becomes obvious how much better this is than the random collection of places these shortcuts existed in the past UIs.

Periodically, however, Windows will lose track of these shortcuts and right clicking the Start Button will result in...nothing.  Most often this issue presents itself due to an apparent bug in Sysprep, or with Roaming Profiles between different versions of Windows.

This...becomes...

What few people know is that this menu (known internally as "Win+X") is actually created on the fly from a list of shortcuts stored in the file system.

 WInX

WInX

Not only can this menu therefore be customized by modifying shortcuts in these folders, but it also leads to our solution to fix the mysteriously non-working menu.

Resolution

  1. Log in as the administrative user experiencing the "no right click admin menu" issue
  2. Open File Explorer, and in the address bar type 

    C:\Users\Default\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\
     
  3. This will open a local application data folder of the Default user profile, containing a WinX folder.  Right-click to Copy this folder
  4. Again, in the address bar of File Explorer, delete the contents and type

    %localappdata% (including the % signs)
     
  5. This will open the current (broken) user's local application data folders
  6. Navigate below here to Microsoft\Windows\
  7. Paste in the WinX folder previously copied into this location
  8. Log out and back in as the user, and the context menu should work correctly