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Windows XP Start Menu December 1, 2001
start-mu-sections.GIF (53959 bytes)
Start Menu shown divided into Sections
note: Just click on the small images to view the full size version.

The Start Menu has been redesigned for Windows XP. We presume this is for usability. So far we have liked it. 

note: We make extensive use of shortcut menus to edit the Start Menu. If you are unfamiliar with shortcut menus read: What Is A Shortcut Menu?.

Divide and Conquer

If you are upgrading (Microsoft's definition) to Windows XP then some parts of the new Start Menu will be familiar. The All Programs menu was the Programs menu on older versions of Windows. My Recent Documents was Documents. Control Panel, Connect to..., and Printers and Faxes was part of the Settings menu.

To better understand the Start Menu we divided it up into three sections. Programs, Data, and the All Programs menu. We chose this division because you need to go to different property sheets to make changes to each section. 

Since you can't change anything about Log Off or Turn Off Computer it will not be discussed here. 

To edit the Start Menu properties right-click the Start Button and select Properties. Since we are working with the Windows XP Start Menu the bullet next to Start Menu will be selected. If it isn't then do so. Now click the Customize button for the Start Menu.

app-cx-mu.gif (7634 bytes)

Most Frequently Used Programs List shortcut Menu

Pinned Programs List shortcut menu
Start Menu Properties
Start Menu Properties

Windows XP Start Menu Properties General Tab

The Start Menu General Tab

Start Menu Advanced Properties
Start button User shortcut menu
Start button Administrator shortcut menu
Start Menu with My Computer set to display a menu.

In general, no pun intended, the The Windows XP Start Menu General Properties works with items on the left side of the Start Menu [Programs Section] and the Advanced Properties works with items on the right side [Data Section] of the Start Menu.

Programs Section

The Program section is divided into two zones. The upper zone list all programs Pinned to the Start Menu. The lower zone is a list of most frequently used programs.

Pinned Programs

Programs pinned to the Start Menu stay there until you unpin them. You can add a program to the pin list from the Most Frequently Used Program List from it's shortcut menu.

You probably already have Internet Explorer and Outlook in the Pinned list. Once a program is pinned to the Start Menu it can be removed at any time. Removing a program from the pin list is done through it's shortcut menu.

Internet Explorer and Outlook can be removed from the Pinned Programs List through the shortcut menu. You can also go to the Start Menu Properties - General tab to do this. 

Most Frequently Used Programs

Whenever you start an application or program it will be added to the Windows XP Start Menu in the Most Frequently Used Programs List section. If you prefer you can Pin that program to the Start Menu or remove it from the Most Frequently Used Programs List. Removing a program from the Start Menu's Most Frequently Used Programs List doesn't delete the program from anywhere else.

To remove a program in the Most Frequently Used Programs List select the program and left-click to get the shortcut menu. Now you can either remove (Remove from This List) the program from the Most Frequently Used Programs List or Pin the program to the Start Menu

Start Menu General Properties

From the Start Menu tab click Customize button for the Start Menu. From the General tab you can select: Large or Small Icons - Change the number of Last Used Programs that will appear on the Start Menu - You can also clear the Most Frequently Used Program list - You can remove the browser and the e-mail program from the Start Menu's pinned programs.

note: When you remove the browser or e-mail programs from the Start Menu you are not uninstalling either program. This option only removes them from their special location on the Start Menu

Data Section

The Windows XP Start Menu Advanced Properties allows users to decide how items on the right side of the Start Menu behave. My ... Items can be set as a link, as a menu, or don't display. Others, such as Help and Support, can be on or off. 

If a My ... item is set to a link then it will open that item in Windows Explorer.

Currently My Recent Documents is the only item that is set to work as a menu. note: Menu items will have the small right arrow on the right. Try setting My Computer to a menu item.

The Advanced Properties is also the place to clear your Recent documents list. Seems like a long journey just to clear a list. 

All Programs

Start button shortcut menu for Administrator
Start Menu Shortcut Menu for User
Start button shortcut menu for User
Start Menu Shortcut Menu
Start button shortcut menu for Administrator
Start Menu Shortcut Menu for User
Start button shortcut menu for User

To add a shortcut to the All Programs menu or Classic Start menu right-click the Start button, and then click Open. Locate the menu folder where you want to add an item. On the File menu, point to New, and then click Shortcut. Follow the instructions in the Create Shortcut Wizard.

You can also move/copy/delete any item as you would any item in Windows Explorer. That's because you are using Windows Explorer.

Edit All User's All Programs Menu

Windows XP Administrators can add a shortcut to the All Programs menu for all users. Actually Administrators can do just about anything they want to any users Start Menu. So be careful who you give Administrator rights to.

Right-click the Start button, and then click Open All Users. On the File menu, point to New, and then click Shortcut. Follow the instructions in the Create Shortcut Wizard.

The only difference between today's tip and yesterdays is Open All vs Open. You must also be logged on to an account that has Administrator rights

I Want My Classic

There are three locations where you can change the look of Windows XP to the Windows 9x Classic view. The first is the general look and feel of the desktop. The second is the Start Menu. And the third is the Control Panel.