How to count the number of shortcuts and tiles in the Start menu in Windows 10

As mentioned in this blog post, the Start menu in Windows 10 has a limit of number of shortcuts and tiles that can be added to the menu. In the first release of Windows 10 the limit was 512 items. But in the latest update of Windows 10 (the “Threshold 2″ update) the limit has been increased to 2048 items.

If you use Visual Installer to install files and encounter problems with shortcuts that are not visible in the Start menu, a good first step is to count the number of shortcuts and tiles in the Start menu. This can be done by using Windows PowerShell and running the Get-StartApps | measure command there:

Get-StartApps | measure

Windows Powershell will then display the number of items in the Start menu in the PowerShell window. For example:

Count

If the build number of your Windows 10 is less than 10547 and the count is above 512 you have added / installed too many shortcuts and tiles to the Start menu. If you have a build number that is 10547 or above and the count is above 2048, you have added / installed too many shortcuts and tiles to the Start menu. In the latter case you need to remove some items before you can add new. In the first case you need to update your Windows 10 to the latest version of the operating system.

(To open Windows PowerShell you can enter “powershell” in Windows search box and press Enter; then Windows PowerShell is started. To see the build number you can enter “winver” in the same search box and choose the winver command in the list that is shown.)

The limit of 512 shortcuts in the Start menu is gone in the latest Windows 10 update

As you probably know, the Start menu is back in Windows 10. But there has been a limit in the Start menu that sometimes have affected installations made by Visual Installer (and other setup tools). The Start menu could only contain up to 512 shortcuts and tiles. And you don’t need to install so many applications before you reach the 512 limit. Many applications can have sub levels with lots of shortcuts, so you can reach the limit faster than you may expect.

When the Start menu reach the 512 limit, no more shortcuts will be added to the menu. The shortcuts will be created in the hard disk in the correct place (by the setup program) but they are not shown in the Start menu.

But Microsoft has now fixed this problem
Microsoft has increased the limit from 512 to 2048 in the latest official update of Windows 10 (the “Threshold 2” update). The distribution of the update will start this week, and soon all Windows 10 users will be able to have up to 2048 shortcuts and tiles in the Start menu.

If you participate in the Windows Insider Program, you may already have downloaded and installed a version of Windows 10 that handles up to 2048 items in the start menu. The problem with shortcuts and tiles were fixed in build 10547 that was released in September. But with the beginning of this week, all users will have access to an update that fixes this problem.

More information
If you want to read more about the 512 limit, you can read the following article on the web:
> Microsoft starts to fix Start Menu in new Windows 10 preview

If you want to know how to count the number of items in the Start menu you can read this blog post on our blog:
> How to count the number of shortcuts and tiles in the Start menu in Windows 10

Using environment variables in Visual Installer

It is possible to use Windows environment variables in Visual Installer. The environment variables can be used in the Registry tab and in the INI files tab in Visual Installer. You can find a list of supported environment variables in this Wikipedia page (see the Windows section).

You use an environment variable in the same way as a Visual Installer variable. For example, to include the %ProgramFiles% environment variable in a file path you can include it like this:

%ProgramFiles%\SamLogic\Visual Installer

And during the installation the %ProgramFiles% variable will be replaced with the current value that the system returns (usually C:\Program Files (x86)).

The picture below shows how to use the %COMPUTERNAME% environment variable in the Registry tab in Visual Installer:

During the installation the %COMPUTERNAME% variable will be replaced with the current computer name of the computer.

Support for environment variables is a new feature in Visual Installer 2015
The feature described above is new in Visual Installer 2015 (version 10.5.3 and later). If you have an older version of Visual Installer and need this function we recommend you to upgrade to the latest version of Visual Installer.

See also
> With the SETENV command you can set environment variables from Visual Installer

How to add more files from a previously used folder (Visual Installer)

I guess that you sometimes are in the situation that you need to add more files from the same source folder as some of the files that already are included in your project. But to get there you need to browse through many folders on your hard disk which may take some time.

To simplify and speed up this process we have added a new menu item to the local (right-click) menu in the File list tab in Visual Installer. The name of menu item is Add more files from same source folder and the picture below shows where in the menu to find the new choice.

If you right-click on a file in Visual Installer’s file list and thereafter choose the Add more files from same source folder menu item, the Add files dialog box in Visual Installer will be opened with the files in the same source folder as the selected file listed.

For example, if you right-click on a file in Visual Installer’s file list which source folder is C:\My Pictures\My Second Project, this folder will automatically be chosen and the files in this folder will be automatically listed in the Add files dialog box (see the picture below). And you can easily add more files from the same folder to the file list.

New function in Visual Installer 2015
The feature described above is a new function in Visual Installer 2015 (version 10.5.3 and later). If you have an older version of Visual Installer and need this function we recommend you to upgrade to the latest version of Visual Installer.

See also
> How to view source paths in the file list in Visual Installer