Organize and unclutter your Start Menu
In order to be able to efficiently use the Windows XP “Start Menu,” good organization is a must.
On a side note, before we get started because the “All Programs” list is a bit more complicated to organize and is unique to each computer come and see someone at the Help Desk if you would like some help uncluttering and organizing it.
We will start by trimming down the amount of information that is displayed in your Start Menu.
1. Right click on the Start button.
2. Click on Properties. A window should pop up with the “Start Menu” tab highlighted.
3. Click on Customize. Another window should pop up with the “General” tab highlighted.
4. Here you can choose to have large or small icons displayed on your Start Menu. You can experiment to see which option you like. The second section gives you the option to reduce or increase the number of links for “most often used programs” that will be displayed on the Start Menu. Three is usually a good number – the fewer you choose the less cluttered your desktop spaces will be. The third section gives you the option to choose whether you want there to be links for your web browser or your e-mail program on the Start Menu. I would recommend unchecking these unless you normally use these links. If you prefer to keep these, make sure that your preferred web browser and e-mail program are being displayed.
5. Click on the Advanced tab.
6. This menu will let you do some fine tuning as to what gets displayed on your Start Menu’s right side. This is my recommended configuration, but feel free to set it up however you like. First of all I would recommend leaving the first two boxes checked. Next the “Start Menu Items” which I personally configure thusly:
Enable dragging and dropping – checked.
Favorites menu – unchecked.
Help and Support – checked.
My Computer – Don’t display this item. I prefer to have a link to this directly on my desktop. For steps to accomplish this see the tutorial “How to unclutter your Desktop.”
My Documents – Don’t display this item. I also like to have a link to this on my desktop.
My Music – Don’t display this item.
My Network Places – unchecked.
My Pictures – Don’t display this item.
Network Connections – Link to Network Connections Folder.
Printers and Faxes – checked.
Scroll Programs – unchecked.
Run Command – checked.
Search – checked.
Set Program Access and Defaults – unchecked.
System Administrative Tools – Don’t Display this item.
In the last section Recent Documents I prefer to leave “Recent Documents” unchecked. Some of you may find it handy though to have a list displayed of all the most recently opened documents.
7. Click on OK. The window should disappear revealing the one below.
8. Click on Apply.
9. Now you may add any additional links to the left side of your start menu if you desire. You do this by finding the link to the to the program in your “All Programs” list, then right clicking on the link and choosing “Pin to Start Menu” from the choices. Don’t get carried away. Remember there are many places you can put links to frequently accessed programs. Check out the “Unclutter your Desktop” tutorial to complete your organization!