Microsoft

Pare down the Windows XP Start menu's most frequently used programs list

When it comes to "frequently used" programs, how much is too much? Windows XP columnist Greg Shultz shows how to prevent an application from showing up in the Start menu's most frequently used programs list.

One of the many features of Windows XP's Start menu is the most frequently used programs list. When it comes to configuring this feature, Windows XP only provides you with two controls: the ability to completely clear the list, and the ability to specify the maximum number of programs that can appear on this list at any one time. However, there is one other thing that would be nice to be able to control and that is preventing certain applications from appearing on that list.

For example, you probably don't need to have often-used but inconsequential applications such as Calculator or Notepad showing up in that space. You probably would rather not have games that you occasionally play show up in that space, either.

Fortunately, you can prevent an application from appearing in the Start menu's most frequently used programs list by adding a special key to the registry. Follow these steps:

  1. Launch the Registry Editor (Regedit.exe).
  2. Go to HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT\Applications.
  3. Right-click the Applications key and select New | Key.
  4. Name the key the same as the application's executable file.
  5. Right-click your new key and select New | String Value.
  6. Name the string value NoStartPage.
  7. Close the Registry Editor.

You'll need to reboot, or at least log off and then back on again, in order for this change to become effective.

Notes: Editing the registry is risky, so be sure you have a verified backup before making any changes. This tip applies to both Windows XP Home and Windows XP Professional.

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About

Greg Shultz is a freelance Technical Writer. Previously, he has worked as Documentation Specialist in the software industry, a Technical Support Specialist in educational industry, and a Technical Journalist in the computer publishing industry.

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