How to customize the Windows 7 Start Menu

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One thing I have noticed over the years is that most people use their computers in whatever way it was originally set up.  Standard theme, same settings as when it came from the manufacturer. Boring!  Customize it the way you like – or at least in a way that makes it easier to use.  Here’s one way to do that.

Windows 7 logo

This particular customization applies to Windows 7, and it has to do with the Start menu.

Remember back in Windows XP, when the button in the lower left corner was labeled “Start”?  Now it no longer has that title printed on it, but it is still called the Start button.  When you click that button, you get the familiar Start Menu which looks something like this:

Windows 7 start menu

Most of what you see in that menu can be changed around and made to appear how you want it to appear.  All you have to do is RIGHT-click on the Start button, and choose Properties:

Windows 7 start menu customize

When you do that, another window will open.  In that window, click the button that is labeled “Customize”:

Windows 7 customize

Now a new window will open, that looks like this:

windows 7 custom start menu

This is where the fun starts!  There are lots and lots of things you can do here to change the way the Start menu looks and behaves, and what exactly is displayed.  The options you see in the image above only shows about 25% of the customizations available. Just scroll down and read the options, and check the buttons to enable the things you want to try.

I know what some of you are thinking:

Windows 7 custom menu fix

Nothing to worry about!

Under the list of all of those customizing options is a “lifesaver” button – it says “Use Default Settings”.  If you enable that, the Start Menu will revert to the way it was when the computer was brand new (or at least when Windows 7 was installed).  So don’t be concerned about doing any irreparable damage – it can all be undone.

What customizations have YOU done?  Let us know in the comments!


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Ken Leathermann
October 10th, 2011


I’m one of the ones who is scared to change anything and not be able to get it back to where it was.

I have a new laptop with Windows 7 and now I can screw it up. Then change it back with the “Lifesaver”. LOL!

Very good tip. Thanks!