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.

Miss a tip?

Check out the Windows XP archive, and catch up on our most recent Windows XP tips.

Stay on top of the latest XP tips and tricks with our free Windows XP newsletter, delivered each Thursday. Automatically sign up today!