Fix Internet Explorer Favorites Screwed Up By My Earlier Tip

I goofed.

Back in April, I posted a tip on restoring the classic All Programs menu in Windows 7. Although I did test the tip myself, I didn't anticipate a couple unfortunate outcomes.

First, the tip got picked up by the Washington Post, where one of the steps somehow got clipped. That's since been corrected, but I know it caused a lot of confusion at the time.

Next, the tip ran in the August, 2010, issue of PC World--and that's when the real problem emerged: when you tweak the Registry to change the Favorites menu into an XP-like Programs menu, it also changes your Internet Explorer Favorites. Not cool.

My sincere apologies for creating such a big hassle (especially when my job here is to solve them!). Because I'm not an IE user myself, I didn't discover this unforeseen outcome until much later.

I've heard from many readers who are desperate to restore their IE favorites. The trick is to restore the two changed Registry entries to their original settings. Here's how:

1. Click Start, type regedit, and press Enter.

2. Navigate to the following key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software \Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Shell Folders

3. Double-click the Favorites entry and replace the current path with this one:

C:\Users\[YOURUSERNAME]\Favorites

For example, on my system, the string goes like this: C:\Users\Rick\Favorites

4. Navigate to this second key (just a little further down):

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\User Shell Folders

5. Double-click the Favorites entry and replace the current path with the same one you used in Step 3.

6. Exit Regedit, then restart your PC.

On my system, this restored my Favorites in Internet Explorer. (It also undid the classic All Programs menu--but, hey, you can't have everything.) It should work for you as well, but please let me know if it doesn't.

Again, I apologize for any problems you encountered with the original tip.

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