Help me keep my start menu organized whether Windows 7 likes it or not.
October 15, 2010 5:48 PM   Subscribe

Why don't the programs on my start menu in Windows 7 stay where I put them? I keep my programs organized in categories: office software, stats, hardware, media, etc. yet whenever I reboot some programs have jumped back out on the top level of the programs list. How do I stop this?

I'm in Windows 7. I have edited the programs list under "all users" and deleted them from the individual user account start menu. It's always the same programs that jump back out -- for example WordPerfect Suite jumps out of my office category. The programs are still listed in the category where I had them, but get listed again at the top level menu.

Some of these are from installing updates (e.g. I update itunes and it adds itself to my top level of programs). I'd also like to stop those from putting themselves back at the top level, but at least that's a one time thing. Other programs move out whenever I reboot.
posted by If only I had a penguin... to Computers & Internet (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
Is it *all* program links, or just *specific* ones (like WordPerfect)? I've not had this problem in our Win7 deploy, but from what you're describing, I would suspect that some program is jammed itself into either the Startup group or the Run registry key.
posted by Old'n'Busted at 6:41 PM on October 15, 2010

It's not all programs, but lots of them. And no, it doesn't go into startup, just out the main level.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 6:51 PM on October 15, 2010

Try running "msconfig.exe" (You can just type "msconfig" into the search field of the start menu).

In that dialong box there is a "Start Up" tab. Some programs will be listed here that never show up in the "Start Up" folder. (Apple programs do this a lot.)
posted by oddman at 7:02 PM on October 15, 2010

If you are talking about the first list, above the "All Programs" feature , right click on the button and under "Start menu" tab, uncheck "Store and display recently opened programs in the Start Menu". That will stop windows from automatically adding them there.

You can then add programs to that menu by right clicking on them and selecting "Pin to start menu"
posted by Pogo_Fuzzybutt at 7:06 PM on October 15, 2010

That helped me clean up a lot of garbage, but it doesn't seem to be the programs that jump out of their start menu folders.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 7:06 PM on October 15, 2010

Nope, I mean the all programs list itself. I created a bunch of folders in there (by exploring the all users section) and sorted programs into those folders.
posted by If only I had a penguin... at 7:07 PM on October 15, 2010

Worth noting that iTunes has an annoying "feature" where every software update will put the shortcut at the top level of your start menu, whether you like it or not.

Since getting Windows 7, I never group any of the applications as it's quicker to hit Start and type a few letters of the application name. Although I'm aware that this only works when you are intimately aware of what you have installed in the computer.
posted by mr_silver at 1:34 AM on October 16, 2010

mr_silver is right. As far as I can tell, Win7 has given up on the idea of the rigid start menu. Great for the home user, as we never use more than two or three programs, and so they are right there.

And for the power user, I think they want us searching.

Are the programs jumping out of their folders, or are they existing in both places?

I believe I have the answer: look through the start menu folder(s) of the individual users. I bet the offending programs are in the offending places inside that folder, and I bet windows is rightly presuming that individual preferences should override the all users preference. So delete all the shortcuts from the individual users' all programs area, and then I bet the "all users" version of the start menu will prevail.
posted by gjc at 8:24 AM on October 16, 2010

There is also a hidden folder called "Default User" (don't know where it is in Win 7) that contains the standard set of icons to add to any users desktop.

It works different than "All Users". "All" is visibile to everyone, and if one users deletes an icon it deletes for everyone. "Default" creates a copy of the icon for everyone, so if one user deletes it, it is still available for all other users. Plus, the user hasn't deleted it from the "Default" folder, so it will still come up. I wouldn't be surprised if they are hiding out in there and getting restored automatically by windows on reboot/login.
posted by cathoo at 8:32 AM on October 16, 2010

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