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From the author of Customization #5: Personalize the Start Menu

Customization #5: Personalize the Start Menu

The Start menu is what you see when you click the Start button, or "orb," on the Windows taskbar. This is a two-pane menu, and a number of items appear in the right pane by default: links to your Documents, Pictures, and Music libraries; a submenu of recently-opened documents; links to the Control Panel and Help system; and the like. You can remove any or all of these items from the Start menu, or add other items that may be of more use to you.

In addition, some of these items can be displayed in different ways. For example, by default the Documents item opens a Documents window when clicked. However, you can opt to display the Documents item as menu—that is, when you click it, it displays a submenu of items in the Documents library. This option to display as a link (opens a new window) or a menu (displays a submenu) is available for many right-pane items.

So how do you customize the right pane of the Start menu? Just follow these steps:

  1. Right-click the Start button and select Properties from the pop-up menu.
  2. When the Taskbar and Start Menu Properties dialog box appears, select the Start Menu tab.
  3. Click the Customize button.
  4. When the Customize Start Menu dialog box appears, as shown in Figure 4, scroll to an item you want to appear on the Start menu.
  5. Figure 4 Customizing the items in the Start menu's right pane

  6. If there is only a single checkbox for that item, check the checkbox. This will display the item as a link; when clicked, it will open a new window for that item.
  7. Some items have three options. To display the item as a link (when clicked, it opens a new window), check the Display as a Link option. To display the item as a menu (when clicked, a submenu opens), select Display as a Menu.
  8. If you don't want an item to display on the Start menu, either uncheck the single checkbox or check the Don't Display This Item option.
  9. Click OK when done.

I particularly like to display the Control Panel as a menu. It's a lot easier to access individual Control Panel items from the Start Menu than it is to click through several layers of "user friendly" display in the Control Panel window.

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