The left panel of the Start menu consists entirely of a divided
list of programs that Windows XP thinks will come in handy for you: the pinned
items list above the separator line, and the most frequently used
programs list
, displayed below the line.

By default, Windows XP places links to your Internet browser and your
e-mail application in the pinned items list and will place as many as 30
shortcuts to the programs that you’ve recently used in the most frequently used programs list.
(The most frequently used programs list
is, by default, six shortcuts long.)

In order to really take advantage of the Start menu as a
launching area for all the programs you use most often, you can configure the
entire left panel as a pinned items list. Here’s how:

  1. Right-click
    the Start button and select the Properties command to display the Taskbar and
    Start Menu Properties dialog box.
  2. Click
    the Customize button adjacent to the Start Menu radio button to display the
    Customize Start Menu dialog box.
  3. In
    the Programs panel, use the Spin button to set the Number Of Programs On The Start Menu setting to 0. Click the Clear List button.
  4. In
    the Show On Start Menu panel, you can clear the
    Internet check box because the Internet Explorer icon already appears in the
    Quick Launch menu by default, and maybe even the e-mail check box, depending on
    how you launch your e-mail application.
  5. Click
    OK twice—once to close the Customize Start Menu dialog box and once to close
    the Taskbar and Start Menu Properties dialog boxes.
  6. Click
    the Start button and access the All Programs submenu.
  7. Locate
    and right-click on a shortcut to a program you use most often and select the
    Pin To Start Menu command.

You can pin as many as 30 of your most often used programs to
the Start menu, depending on your
screen resolution setting. With your actual favorite programs on the pinned
items list, you can now really take advantage of the Start menu.

Note: This tip
applies to both Windows XP Home and Windows XP Professional.

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