Disappearing applications: How to use Win2K's personalized menus

Load Win2K and you may find many of your applications hidden by personalized menus. Worse, you could find questions regarding such desktop settings on Microsoft's 70-210 exam. Erik Eckel is here to ensure that you're prepared.

Install Windows 2000, fire up the Start menu, and you could be in for a surprise. Applications that once lived on your Start menu may no longer appear. Instead, you’ll see two small arrows (shown circled in red in Figure A) at the bottom of the menu.

Figure A
Personalized menus use two arrows to remind users that other applications are hidden from view.

Click on the double-arrow icon and the menu will explode. Take the Norton AntiVirus 2000 menu, which you can also see in Figure A. Clicking on the double-arrow explodes the menu, revealing the new menu options shown in Figure B.

Figure B
Click on the double-arrow icon to reveal hidden options.

The goal of personalized menus, of course, is to protect users from themselves. The idea is that less frequently used programs will be hidden from view, thereby making it easier for users to find the applications they want to use. Other programs and applications, which might confuse a user, are hidden.
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Of course, users can still access the hidden items. They just need to hover the mouse pointer over the double-arrow icon and wait a few seconds. Or, if time is of the essence, they can simply click on the double-arrow icon and eliminate the wait.

It could be on the exam
While the concept seems simple, there are several personalized menu options included with Windows 2000. Further, configuring desktop settings is an objective of Microsoft’s 70-210 Windows 2000 Professional exam, so it’s important to familiarize yourself with the new feature.

Doubtless, some administrators will find personalized menus to be a nuisance. To turn off the feature, you need to right-click on the taskbar and select Properties from the shortcut menu. Then, deselect the Use Personalized Menus check box shown in Figure C.

Figure C
You can turn off personalized menus by deselecting the Use Personalized Menus option.

You may be saying, “Yeah, I already knew that.” What you may not know is that there are other configurable settings close by. Check them out by selecting the Advanced tab in the Taskbar And Start Menu Properties dialog box.

There you can configure a multitude of Start menu settings. You can specify whether you want a system to display the following, simply by selecting the corresponding check boxes:
  • Administrative Tools
  • Favorites
  • Logoff

You can also specify that several menus be automatically expanded. For example, you can check the Expand Control Panel option, as shown in Figure D.

Figure D
You can specify that the Control Panel applets be shown when you choose Control Panel from the Start menu.

Then, every time you click Start | Settings | Control Panel, all of the Control Panel applets will appear as another menu. This operation saves you the trouble of clicking Control Panel and then having to select the applet you want.

The expansion option can be selected for the following menus:
  • Control Panel
  • My Documents
  • Network And Dial-up Connections
  • Printers

From the Start Menu Settings section of the Taskbar And Start Menu Properties dialog box, you can also choose the Scroll The Programs option. Use this option if you’ve added many programs and applications, and your resolution setting isn’t sufficient to display them all on one horizontal screen.

From the Taskbar And Start Menu Properties’ Advanced tab, you can also add and remove items from your Start menu. Just click Add or Remove, and a wizard will guide you through the process.

There’s also an Advanced button housed in the Advanced tab. Click it and you’ll be taken to the Start menu in Windows Explorer. From there, you can add or remove the programs and applications that appear by default on the Start menu.

A few last words
Remember that even if you elect to hide Administrative Tools or leave Expand Control Panel off, users can still access those features. They can reach Administrative Tools using Windows Explorer, and they can still access Control Panel by clicking Start | Settings | Control Panel.

If it’s necessary to remove those items from the system entirely, you’ll want to implement group policies. But alas, that’s a lesson for another day.
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