From the Kenosha News on 6-3-07

You can customize your Start menu in Windows XP

      Do you sometimes think that the items that show up on your Start menu are a little chaotic?  Here are some tips to organize using Windows XP.

      First, realize that when you install new programs, they’re added at the end of the list in the All Programs area.  If you want to alphabetize the entire list, right-click on any item on the list, then click on Sort by Name.

      If you’d like to add or remove items from the program list, right-click on the Start button and select Explore All Users.  You will likely see a few items along with the Programs folder.   Double-click on the Programs folder to see the program items listed.  You can delete any unwanted item (like “Open Microsoft Office Document”) by right-clicking on it and selecting Delete.  Remember that deleting an item from the Start menu will not uninstall the program itself.  To add an item, find it in the left-hand side panel of the Explorer window.  Right-drag it to the program list in the right-hand (main) panel.  Make sure you don’t drag it inside of another folder.  After the right-click, select Create Shortcuts Here.  That will add a shortcut for that program or folder on the Start menu.  Rename the item as necessary.  As explained above, it will be added at the bottom of the list, so remember to re-sort.

      If, when you open Explore All Users, you don’t see the items you want, they might be under your specific user.  See those programs by right-clicking on the Start button and choosing Explore.

      To change other items on the Start menu, right-click on the Start button and select Properties.  Click the Start Menu tab.  If you like a very streamlined (albeit classic and old) Start Menu, click the Classic Start menu.  Whichever menu style you choose, click the Customize button to select options.  On the General tab for the regular Start menu, you can choose how many “recently used programs” are displayed, or choose if you want links to an e-mail program or web browser.  I turned off the e-mail item since my e-mail is web-based and the only choices are Outlook or Outlook Express.  This gives me more space for items I can really use.  Click the Advanced tab to turn on and off the items listed on the right-hand half of the Start menu.  I turned off a few other items I don’t use, including My Network Places and My Pictures.  Click Apply and OK to save your changes and exit.  Finally, also on the Advanced tab, you can clear your list of most recent documents.

      If you have a My Computer icon on your Start menu but not on your desktop, an easy way to add it to your desktop is to right-click on it from the Start menu and select “Show on Desktop.”  You can do the same with the My Documents item.

      If you have technology topics you’d like to see covered in this column, you can send your suggestions to me at

by Carol Sabbar from the Kenosha News on 6-3-07