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Windows 7 - How to Customize the Start Menu

Since the start menu is one of the most commonly used parts of the Windows interface, you'll probably want to customize it to perfectly suit your needs. The Windows 7 start menu is customizable in a wide variety of ways. These tweaks not only change the way the start menu looks; they can also enhance usability. Follow these tips to fully customize your start menu.

1 – Changing the Start Menu Height
Right-click on the start button orb and click "Properties." The "Taskbar and Start Menu Properties" window will open at the "Start Menu" tab. Click "Customize." In the bottom of the window, you'll see two settings. Changing the number of recent programs to display will change the height of the start menu.

2 – Choosing What to Display
In the same window, you'll see a whole list of options which allow you to specify what you want to have displayed in the right-hand side of the menu.
If you don't like the fact that newly installed programs are always highlighted by default, you can also stop this from happening by removing the tick from the box beside "Highlight newly installed programs."

3 – Using the Classic Start Menu in Windows 7
While the new start menu style was introduced in Windows Vista, Vista retained the classic start menu as an available option. This has been entirely removed in Windows 7.
To get the classic start menu in Windows 7, you'll need to download a third-party application. "Classic Shell" and "CSMenu" are two freeware programs that you can try. They restore this functionality while taking up very little in the way of system resources.

4 – Changing the Start Button Orb
Changing the start button orb is extremely easy thanks to a small, freeware utility called "Windows 7 Start Button Changer." Download the program. It does not require installation since it's a small, single-file portable application. Run the program and click "Select and Change Start Button." Navigate to the location of the new start button graphic and click "Open". These small picture files contain the three forms of the button – clicked, inactive and mouse-over. The ZIP file containing the application should also contain a set of sample orbs.
You will need to restart your computer or log off and log in again for the changes to take effect.


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