Windows

Manage the most frequently used programs list on your XP Start Menu

Greg Shultz shows how to prevent an application from showing up in the Start Menu's most frequently used programs list in Microsoft Windows XP.

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 provides you with only 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.

Note: Editing the registry file 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.

14 comments
frannyglass
frannyglass

Windows 7: how do i discover which programs I use most frequently (MFU)? I want to know so I can know what to install first on my new PC

ygrubner
ygrubner

Is it possible to alphabetize the programs on the Windows XP menu?

Ro2006
Ro2006

go to Run> msconfig> start menu> diselect programs you don't want to appear at start up (careful, some MUST be there)>OK. Next time you restart your computer a message appears that "not all programs in the start menu are loaded".Select "don't show this again> OK, and you are done ! In case you want something back, just mark it again.

Greybird
Greybird

Instead of editing the Registry directly, it's far easier to use the Tweak UI PowerToy. This has a check-box list (under "Taskbar and Start Menu") to either allow or disallow particular applications to appear on the Start Menu. I've changed my mind more than once as to some apps and utilities. Tweak UI populates that list from the shortcuts under All Programs, so if you want to do such removal for an app that isn't present there, you do need to edit the Registry as advised above. http://www.microsoft.com/windowsxp/downloads/powertoys/xppowertoys.mspx

bfpower
bfpower

Right click on the item and select "Remove from list." They may eventually come back but it's faster (and safer for some folks) than editing the registry, IMO.

liberteabelle
liberteabelle

I don't like the dynamic applications list. I like pinpoint control over what's in my Start menu, so I configured my Start menu as a Classic Start Menu: > Right-mouse click the Start menu and select "Properties" > Click the radio button for "Classic Start menu" on the Start menu tab You can click on the button to further control the Start menu, but I just drag and drop the applications, folders, or files I want onto the Start button and they are added. (Hold the Control key down while you drag and drop so that you retain the item in its original place too!) In this way, I have frequently accessed folders, files and applications available from the Start menu (which I further configured to show SMALL icons), and I don't clutter up my desktop!

mohand6
mohand6

Start --> Programs --> right click anywhere on list (pull-down menu) --> Sort

golferguy1
golferguy1

click Start Programs... now hover over top entry in that list AND right click.... sort by name :) there you go!

golferguy1
golferguy1

grab a copy of msconfigcleanup which is freeware on the web and also startcpl both free and absolutely EXC. tools for fixing the startup off of msconfig.

golferguy1
golferguy1

I understand what you are saying about the startmenu off of MSCONFIG, but this is re: programs when you install, you get an entry under StartMenu (green button) Programs. Just trying to help :)

techrepublic
techrepublic

It's amazing how many things do something interesting with a right click.

lbindustries1
lbindustries1

A couple of interesting programs. But if you do a search for startcpl there is more than a few instances that state it is not a safe program to have. Many of the results I got for that program state that it is a TROJAN! - part of Wareout, malware masquerading as a spyware and dialer remover. What is your take on this?

golferguy1
golferguy1

false positives of course :) I will give you the links to get the programs, trojans CAN infect anything AND have same names, of course. http://www.techsupportforum.com/microsoft-support/windows-xp-support/125766-how-get-rid-dumprep-msconfig.html http://www.mlin.net/StartupCPL.shtml If it was truly bad, it would not be so highly rated. Read on please: http://www.majorgeeks.com/Startup_Control_Panel_Standalone_Version_d4359.html http://www.bleepingcomputer.com/forums/topic86958.html http://www.google.com/search?q=%22startup+control+panel%22%2Bdownload&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a http://www.howtogeek.com/howto/windows-vista/still-useful-in-vista-startup-control-panel/ etc. As for MSConfigCleanup: http://www.snapfiles.com/get/msconfigcleanup.html read here: http://www.majorgeeks.com/MSConfig_Cleanup_d4642.html http://help.lockergnome.com/windows/rid-startup-items-ftopict513305.html http://ask-leo.com/why_is_there_a_blank_entry_in_my_msconfig_startup_entries.html http://www.thetechguide.com/forum/index.php?showtopic=72511&hl=msconfigcleanup ==================================== If any program was detrimental, I am trying not to be bold here, but I belong to the 1) alt.freeware comp. 2) wilderssecurity 3) theeldergeek and several other forums where we HELP others get rid of spyware,etc. additionally I de-spyware about 800 machines in my local area each year. The communities I belong to: we dissect everything and scrutinize.

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