It's not always necessary to edit a Group Policy Object to meet your Start Menu customization objectives. There are three very straightforward methods for editing Start Menu contents (at least those areas that you can edit) without configuring a GPO. These include:
Which is the best way to go? As is the case with many computer questions, the answer is, "Depends." The choice is yours. If you want my two cents on the matter, I've always found the drag-and-drop method awfully easy. But, whichever choice you make for editing the Start Menu, bear in mind that you're only making changes to program shortcuts, not to the program executables themselves. In other words, you'll never do any harm to the system by changing the Start Menu. True, you can make your computer's programs a lot harder to findand that may even be your missionbut even if you delete every single deletable item on the Start Menu, you'll still be able to reverse the damage.
Gathered for your perusal, then, are the available options you have for Start Menu changes. I've also included instructions for each of the listed tasks.
Add a Program to the All Programs Menu
Drag an existing shortcut, or the program's executable, to the Start button and hover there. After about two seconds, the Start Menu expands. You can then hold the dragged shortcut over the All Programs menu until it opens, and so on, until you have found the shortcut a new home. Release the dragged shortcut when you've determined its new location.
Remove an Item from the Menu
To remove an item from the Start Menu, right-click the item and choose Remove From List from the context menu. To remove an item from the All Programs menu, right-click it and select Delete.
Rename a Menu Item
This should look pretty familiar. Just as you do when you rename files and folders, right-click the item and choose Rename. Type the name and press Enter when you are done.
Dragging and Dropping Shortcuts
You can create a Start Menu entry for almost any item simply by dragging its program file to the Start button. This will work for files, folders, programs, and even other shortcuts. Furthermore, you can drag items from the Windows Explorer interface or from the Desktop itself.
And here's another handyno, the most handyshortcut-dragging method: right-click when you drag instead of left-clicking. That way, you will get a small context menu when you let go of the mouse button, giving you the option to move or copy your shortcut. (That is, you create a shortcut to your shortcut.)
This way, you can leave the original shortcut in place while creating a new one in another location. This is a favorite technique of mine when moving oft-used Administrative Tools to the Quick Launch toolbar because the original menu shortcut stays intact.