Over the weekend, I was reading up about a fix for a problem that’s plagued my production PC for at least two years now. The problem is best illustrated visually, and expresses itself as a set of one or more spurious entries at the end of the Start menu under the anomalous “Other” category. It looks exactly like this (shot from my production PC).
These entries show up at the tail end of the alphabetical Apps list portion of the Start menu, and don’t have normal properties or controls. Weird!
Strange Menu Entries with No Obvious Fix or Clean-up
I’ve been chasing around after these odd menu entries since as far back as the 1803 release of Windows 10. I’ve never found any reliable information on where they come from, how they got there, or — perhaps most important — how to get rid of them. When I saw a recipe for a fix on TenForums on Saturday morning, my initial reaction was “All right! At long last a fix!!!” Then I started reading the details in this thread from member JoeKitty: it’s laid out in Post 1643824 as a sequence of thirteeen (13!) steps. You can read the original for the full details, but I’ll explain just some of what’s involved in dealing with this particular gotcha:
1. a method for finding the associated package that requires going through half-a-dozen steps to identify the app that responsible for the spurious menu entry. Here’s what that looks like on my PC:
As with the post’s author, the app responsible for this entry appears on the Shortcut tab as WindowsContactSupport_cw5n1h2txyewy!App. Now we know where the menu entry is coming from.
2. Next the author requests readers to follow instructions for working with a known process that uses Process Hacker and DB Browser for SQLite. That’s a new algorithm to read through and master, and two new low-level tools to download, install and use on my PC. I’m already getting both wary and weary.
3. This step requires creating and deleting somewhere between 6 and 13 database triggers for the associated application package.
4. The following step describes how to restore the triggers after a key value, IsInBox, gets updated to its desired value in the SQL Lite database.
5.This step involves checking on triggers to see that they have been properly restored except for the single desired value change.
6. Here, you’ll write changes back to the database.
7. Here, you’ll exit the Process Hacker app.
8. Next, you open PowerShell (administrator).
9. Run a command to read information about what the author calls “the troubled package name”
10. Then, run another command to remove the troubled package for all users.
11. Run the command again to make sure it’s gone.
12. Delete the start menu cache so it will be rebuilt when explorer.exe restarts (different versions for 1903 versus older Win10 versions)
13. When explorer.exe restarts you can confirm the spurious entry is indeed gone from the Start menu.
Because I have two spurious menu items as shown above, I guess I would have to repeat the same process again for the item that appears as “ms-resource:AppName/Text” as well. Wow!
Err . . . I Think I’ll Pass
I can’t see how the amount of time involved to work through this recipe would be less than an hour, perhaps longer, to get all the way to its conclusion. To me, because I only see those menu entries when I scroll to the bottom of the alphabetical list by name (which I seldom do), the time and effort involved far exceeds the reward of cleaning up a couple of things I don’t see very often, nor care very much about. This reminds me that one must always weigh the time and effort involved in fixing things versus the value or sense of satisfaction that comes from making the fix. Perhaps I’m just not OCD enough to be inclined to spend that much time and energy in cleaning up something that is, in my estimation as least, minor and merely annoying. These are the kinds of decisions that individual Windows 10 users can only make for themselves.
As far as I’m concerned, though, this particular situation and its fix reminds me why the old saying “Just because you CAN do something, doesn’t mean you SHOULD” still has important value and meaning to convey. Yes, I could fix these menu entries. But upon reflection and analysis, I have to believe I have better things to do with my time. This is something I try to bring to all my problem solving and learning exercises with Windows 10 (and other parts of life, too). Perhaps you should also consider carefully, and do likewise?
Author: Ed Tittel
Ed Tittel is a 30-plus-year computer industry veteran. He’s a Princeton and multiple University of Texas graduate who’s worked in IT since 1981 when he started his first programming job. Over the past three decades he’s also worked as a manager, technical evangelist, consultant, trainer, and an expert witness. See his professional bio for all the details.