Customizing the Left Side of the Start Menu

Quite apart from which programs appear in the pinned programs section at the top of the left side of the Start menu (see "Adding and Removing Pinned Programs" on page 107 for information about customizing that aspect of the menu), you have several choices that control the menu's left side.

For starters, your choices under Privacy on the Start Menu tab of Taskbar And Start Menu Properties (shown earlier in Figure 4-9) determine whether Windows keeps track of recently used programs and displays them below the pinned programs, and whether Windows keeps track of recently opened documents and displays them as a Jump List associated with a pinned or recently used program. If you choose to keep those options enabled, you can proceed to the Customize Start Menu dialog box (shown in Figure 4-10) and, using the settings under Start Menu Size, specify the maximum number of recent programs to include on the Start menu (the allowable range is 0 through 30) and the maximum number of recent items to include on each Jump List (0 through 60).


Control which programs are included in the recent list

The list of recently used programs—the items that appear below the pinned programs on the left side of the Start menu—is controlled by Windows. The list includes only shortcuts to executable files you open, such as .exe files and .msc files. The following items are excluded by default (for more information, see Knowledge Base article 282066, "Frequently Used Programs Not Automatically Added to the Start Menu," at

• Programs listed in the AddRemoveApps value of the registry key HKLM\Soft-ware\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\FileAssociation. By default, the following items are excluded: Setup .exe, Install.exe, Isuninst.exe, Unwise.exe, Unwise32.exe, St5unst.exe, Msoobe.exe, Lnkstub.exe, Control.exe, Werfault.exe, Wlrmdr.exe, Guestmodemsg.exe, Msiexec .exe, Dfsvc.exe, and Wuapp .exe. By modifying this registry value, you can tailor the exclusion list to suit your needs .

• Items whose shortcut names include any of the following text: Documentation, Help, Install, More Info, Readme, Read Me, Read First, Setup, Support, What's New, or Remove. This list of exclusion strings is specified in the AddRemove-Names value of HKLM\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\ FileAssociation.


Items in the Games folder (Professional, Ultimate, and Enterprise editions only) . Apparently to prevent workers who goof off from getting in trouble, business editions of Windows 7 exclude games from the list of recently used programs .

Other options scattered about the Customize Start Menu dialog box (all selected by default) determine the appearance and behavior of the left side of the Start menu:

• Sort All Programs Menu By Name When selected, Windows always sorts the All Programs menu alphabetically. Clear this option to display the menu in the order that items were added to it, or in the order you create by moving items around the menu.

• Use Large Icons Clear this option if you want to fit more items on the left side.

• Enable Context Menus And Dragging And Dropping When this option is selected, you can move items on the left side of the menu and on the All Programs menu by dragging. In addition, context menus (the menu that appears when you right-click an item on the left side of the menu or on the All Programs menu) are enabled. Clearing this option disables both capabilities .

• Highlight Newly Installed Programs When this option is selected, new programs are highlighted with a colored background so that they're easy to find; if you find that distracting, clear the option

• Open Submenus When I Pause On Them With The Mouse Pointer When this option is selected, Jump Lists and cascading menus on the right side of the Start menu appear when you hover the mouse; when this option is cleared, you must click the arrow to display these items .

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  • Fesahaye
    How to clear recently used programs in windows 7 from registry?
    7 years ago

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