How To Customize Windows 7 Start Menu

Windows start menu is the most used place after Desktop in Windows. Windows has always had the same visual structure, a desktop with taskbar, system tray and the start menu. Start menu, as its name implies, is the place which contains links to all the places in the computer.

In Windows 7 the start menu is divided into two columns. The left column contains your most frequently used items and the items you want to always be displayed at the top of the menu. This column also contains the start menu search bar which is very useful for finding any specific items. All Programs leads us to all the software installed in the computer.

The right column contains links to some personalized items like Documents, Pictures, Computer etc. and control panel to manage the computer software and hardware. This right column can be easily customized according to your own needs. Let’s discuss the customizations in a little detail.

To customize the start menu, you should open start menu, right click on the empty space on the start menu and select Properties.

Customize start menu - properties

Customize the Power button

customize the power button in start menu

The Power button, by default lets you shut down the computer in one click. You can expand the button in order to have more options like hibernate and sleep. You can set the default action of this power button. Just select the action from the drop down menu.


start menu privacy options

Sometimes you will not want to display the frequently used items in the left column of the start menu. You can un-check the following options:

  • Store and display recently opened programs in the Start menu
  • Store and display recently opened items in the Start menu and the taskbar

Advanced customizations

If you want to further customize the start menu, just click on the Customize button.

There are three options for each customizable option

start menu three options

  1. Display as a link
  2. Display as a menu
  3. Don’t display this item

The first option will display the item on the start menu. The second option will display the item on the start menu but it will expand on hovering the mouse over it.

You can enable or disable the following items from the Start menu

  • Computer
  • Control Panel
  • Default Programs
  • Devices and Printers
  • Documents
  • Downloads
  • Games
  • Music
  • Personal folder
  • Pictures
  • Videos
  • Administrative tools

Other customizations

Run command

enable start menu run command

If you are used to the old Windows XP Start menu run command which is not present in Windows 7 by default, you can easily enable it in the customizations.

Favorites menu

You can also enable the old style favorites menu which contains all your favorites from Internet Explorer.

Connect To

If you use a dial-up connection or VPN connection which you need to connect to frequently, you can enable the Connect To menu in the Start menu so that you can easily connect to any connection without going to the Network and Sharing center.

I hope this article has provided some useful information and will help you in customizing the Start menu for your ease and comfort.