Customize the Start Menu Options in Windows 7

Windows 7 provides excellent control over the Start menu. You can choose which commands appear on the Start menu and how they are arranged. You can add options for Control Panel, Devices And Printers, Network Connections, and other key tools. You can also enable or disable personalized menus on the All Programs menu.

To change the Start menu options, follow these steps:
1. Right-click Start on the taskbar, and then click Properties. The Taskbar And Start Menu Properties dialog box is displayed with the Start Menu tab selected by default.

2. On the Start Menu tab, use the Power Button Action list to select the action to use when the power button is pressed. Options include Switch User, Log Off, Lock, Restart, Sleep, and Shut Down. In a 24×7 environment, or when multiple users log on to the same computer, switching users, logging off, or locking the system may be preferable to shutting down the com¬puter. If you change the default action, you can shut down the computer by clicking Start and then clicking Shutdown.

3. Click Customize. This displays the Customize Start Menu dialog box.

4. Use the options in the dialog box to control the general appearance of the Start menu.

5. Click OK, and then click OK again to close the Taskbar And Start Menu Prop¬erties dialog box.

In the Customize Start Menu dialog box, most of the options control which commands appear on the Start menu and how they are arranged. Some items have the sub-options Display As A Link, Display As A Menu, and Don’t Display This Item. Display As A Link specifies that an item, such as Control Panel, will appear as a sepa¬rate option that opens a window when selected. Display As A Menu specifies that an item will provide access to a submenu that allows you to choose from its related options. Don’t Display This Item removes the item from the Start menu.

Other Customize Start Menu dialog box options you’ll see include the following:

Enable Context Menus And Dragging And Dropping When this option is selected, users can right-click to display a shortcut menu and use drag and drop. Typically, you’ll want to enable this option unless there is a specific security reason to disable it.

Highlight Newly Installed Programs When this option is selected, menus for recently installed applications are highlighted, as are the menu options.

Open Submenus When I Pause On Them With The Mouse Pointer Con¬trols the behavior of menus. When this option is selected, menus open when you point to them. Otherwise, menus open only when you click them.

Sort All Programs Menu By Name Controls whether menu items are organized alphabetically or by the order of installation. When this option is selected, menu items are sorted alphabetically. When this option is not selected, menu items are listed in the order of installation.

Use Large Icons Controls the size of icons for menu options. To reduce the size of icons used on menus, clear this option. Otherwise, select this option to display standard-size icons on menus.

Number Of Recent Programs To Display Controls the number of shortcuts to recently used programs that appear in the most frequently used list on the Start menu. Use the selection menu to assign a value from 0 to 30.The actual number of programs listed in the most frequently used list depends on the screen resolution as well as the number of items in the pinned items list, which appears above the most frequently used list on the Start menu.

Number of Recent Items To Display In Jump List Controls how many shortcuts to recently used items appear in jump lists. Jump lists are lists of recent items organized by the program that you use to open them. They can appear on the Start menu and the taskbar. Use the selection menu to assign a value from 0 to 60.

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The information in this article is provided “AS IS” with no warranties, and confers no rights. This article does not represent the thoughts, intentions, plans or strategies of my employer. It is solely my opinion.


Marco works for ViaData as a Senior Technical Consultant. He has over 15 years experience as a system engineer and consultant, specialized in virtualization. VMware VCP4, VCP5-DC & VCP5-DT. VMware vExpert 2013, 2014,2015 & 2016. Microsoft MCSE & MCITP Enterprise Administrator. Veeam VMSP, VMTSP & VMCE.