How To Customize Windows Start Menu

Start menu is the starting point in Windows XP. It provides quick access to frequently used programs, My Computer, Control Panel, Search, and Run.

The left side of the start menu is divided into two sections – at the top is Pinned list and below is Most Frequently Used (MFU) list.

Pinned list:This section of Start menu contains shortcuts to programs and other items in the Start menu. By default, it contains web browser and outlook express. This can be changed easily.

MFU list: This section of Start menu displays the list of most frequently used programs. This list keeps track of how often programs are used and displays them accordingly. The MFU list is updated automatically. The most used one is displayed to the top and least used to the bottom.

Some basic customization of Start menu is discussed below:

To change the Start menu style
1. Right-click the Start button, and then click Properties.
2. On the Start Menu tab, click one of the following options:
  • To select the default Start menu, click Start menu.
  • To select the style from an earlier version of Windows, click Classic Start menu. The Changes will appear next time you click the Start menu.
Tips: You can make additional selections for the Start menu style by clicking Customize tab. You can specify the items you want to display on the Start menu, set submenus to open when you pause on them with your mouse, and clear your list of recently used programs, documents, and Web sites.
To add selected items to the Start menu
  1. Right-click the Start button, and then click Properties.
  2. On the Start Menu tab, under Start menu, click Customize.
  3. On the Advanced tab, under Start menu items, select the items you want to appear on the Start menu.
  4. The Changes will appear next time you click the Start menu.
To show your most recently used documents on the Start menu
  1. Right-click the Start button, and then click Properties.
  2. On the Start Menu tab, click Start menu, and then click Customize.
  3. On the Advanced tab, select the List my most recently opened documents check box.
  4. The Changes will appear next time you click the Start menu that will show the documents and files you opened recently.
Tips: On the Advanced tab, click Clear List to empty the My Recent Documents folder. This does not delete the documents from the computer.

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