Clear recently used programs from Windows Start Menu

This article was modified on 2012-05-20 10:46:28

If you`re asking yourself why Windows keeps a list with the most frequently used applications then the answer is easy: for faster access, supposing that you`ve used a program before and you want to use it again, finding it in your Start Menu will speed up the process if you need access to that program. However, this is not the purpose of this article. I will show you how to clear recently used programs in different versions of Microsoft Windows and that`s it.

The first part is for Windows XP and Vista users and the second is for Windows 7 users so you will have to scroll down if you use Windows 7 - the last part is for this operating system. Sorry guys, I should`ve said, in order of appearance.

Let`s start with Windows XP and Vista. First thing to do, click with your mouse on the ``Start`` button located on your desktop and then click on the ``Run...`` button, exactly like in the following picture :

Start - Run in Windows XP
Now you will see a small window that says: ``Type the name of a program, folder, document, or Internet resource, and Windows will open it for you.`` In that window, if it`s something else typed there, clear it and make sure to type the following command ``regedit`` without quotation marks and then press the ``OK`` button, exactly like in the following picture :

regedit typed in Run window
A new window will appear, it will be larger on your PC but I resized them to save the time needed to load this entire article ( Yes, I was using a dial-up several years ago when I was accessing the Internet ). You should see a larger window but this is not important it`s the same thing. As you can see we have this window named ``Registry Editor`` and what you need to do is to click on the ``+`` ( plus sign ) from ``HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT``.

Registry Editor - Hkey Classes Root
If you clicked the ``+`` (plus sign) from ``HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT`` you should notice that the menu will start to expand and you need to navigate to ``Applications``. So the right path will be ``HKEY_CLASSES_ROOT Applications``

Registry Editor - Applications
Under ``Applications`` there are a lot of programs, some of them that you may not recognize but they are being used by Windows and some of them are the same programs that you can see on your Control Panel. What you need to do is to scroll down with your mouse and navigate to the program that you want to modify. Let`s say that I want to modify WinRAR ( an archiving program ), what I need to do is to locate him and then to do a right click with my mouse on it and choose ``New -> String Value`` and a new file will be created, check the following image :

New - String Value in Registry Editor

By default, you will see a new option called ``New Value #1`` and all you need to do is to modify this name to ``NoStartPage`` without entering any value.

New Value added in Registry Editor
As you can see I typed ``NoStartPage`` so don`t worry if you misspelled a letter or more, with your mouse you can always choose to rename this file or delete it.

Value renamed to NoStartPage

This is all you need to do in order to prevent a recently used program to appear in your ``Start Menu``. Repeat those steps for each program that you don`t want to appear on your ``Start Menu`` and finally restart your computer and when your computer will boot again the application will be removed from your ``Start Menu``. If you want at a later time to make a program or more to appear again on your recently used programs from your ``Start Menu`` all you need to do is to delete the ``NoStartPage`` entry that you`ve created like in the following picture :

Delete NoStartPage

Those instructions are available and has been successfully tested on Microsoft Windows XP SP3 ( it should work on all XP versions ) and on Windows Vista. As a personal advice I would recommend you to use these settings only for programs that you`re using, I mean do not modify programs that Windows uses and that are not being displayed in your start menu.

How to Clear recently used programs from the Start Menu in Windows 7

Here`s how to do the same trick in Windows 7. Fortunately, things are way easier here. This method is the only one that I know right now, if you know another method that would be useful for other people, please contact me and I will try to update this article.

Step 1: In Windows 7, perform a ``Right-click`` with your mouse on the ``Start`` button and choose ``Properties``.

Step 2: A new window will open named ``Taskbar and Start Menu Properties``.

Step 3: Choose the second tab called ``Start Menu`` and click on it.

Step 4: Uncheck the little box called ``Store and display recently opened programs in the Start menu``.
Step 5: Click on ``OK`` button, and that`s it. The following window is from Windows 7.

Store and display recently opened programs in the Start menu
If you want to reverse everything - ( show recently used programs ) make sure to check the little-box named ``Store and display recently opened programs in the Start menu``.

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