General Start Menu Customizations for Windows XP

The Windows XP Start menu supports a variety of customizable settings via the Customize Start Menu window accessed by clicking the Customize button on the Start Menu tab of the Taskbar and Start Menu Properties window. For users choosing the XP-style Start menu, available customizations include the ability to choose between large and small icon sizes, the ability to control how many programs appear on the Start menu as well as clear this list, and the ability to configure which web browser and e-mail client will appear on the Start menu according to which programs have been installed on your system. The ability to use small icons will appeal to users with smaller monitors, while increasing the number of programs displayed will help power users with the need to access many different programs regularly. Clearing the list of programs makes it easy to rebuild your list of displayed shortcuts in the event that you no longer use many of the programs currently on the list and want to rebuild it selectively.

If you’ve chosen to use and customize the Classic Start menu, you’ll be presented with the Customize Classic Start Menu window, as shown below. This screen looks very similar to those found in previous Windows versions and allows you to add, remove, and sort Start menu items, as well as control which icons will appear on the menu. Overall, the customization options available with the Classic Start menu are fewer, but still give you a reasonable level of control over how the Start menu appears and behaves.

Author: Dan DiNicolo

Dan DiNicolo is a freelance author, consultant, trainer, and the managing editor of He is the author of the CCNA Study Guide found on this site, as well as many books including the PC Magazine titles Windows XP Security Solutions and Windows Vista Security Solutions. Click here to contact Dan.