Ever wondered about the Windows XP Start menu "All Programs" ?
How is it composed and why is it cluttered with items that you never use ? Can you streamline it to work faster ? Can you organize it to make it more efficient ?
Of course you can !
The items in the "All Programs" menu is built from the items in 4 folders on your hard disk :
The <current user> in the last two locations is the currently logged on user account. You see its name on top of the Windows XP Start menu when you click the Start button.
To clean out your "All Programs" menu, you must look in these locations. To quickly go to the first one, right-click the Start button and select "Explore All Users".
This will open up Explorer in the All Users Start menu map. If you have Office XP installed on your computer, you will typically find the "New Office-document" and "Open Office-document" shortcuts here. Our experience is that almost no-one uses these.
You can safely delete these shortcuts.
Deleting them doesn't erase the programs from your hard disk, it just makes your "All Programs" menu more concise.
Of course you can also safely remove any other shortcut that you don't want on your All Programs menu, but consider this :
You are working in the C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Start Menu folder, which means that the icons in this folder are reflected on the All Programs menu for all the users that share this computer.
Before you throw away anything else from this folder, check with your family members that they don't want it on their own All Programs menu.
Everything that you see in this folder is displayed in your All Programs menu above the horizontal line.
The items below this line can be found if you navigate to the "programs" folder in the Explorer window. Take a look around and see if there are never-used icons that you can delete. Just don't forget that you are still in the All users section.
We don't want you to get in trouble with your spouse !
There are still two more folders on your hard disk that make up the list in your All Programs menu :
It only takes two clicks of the mouse to get there : right-click your Start button and select "Explore".
You have landed in an Explorer window that show the items that are on your personal "All Programs" menu, and not on that of the other users. These are also the items that are above the horizontal line. The items in the subfolder "programs" are displayed below the horizontal line in the "All Programs" menu.
In these two folders it is safe to add or delete any items that you want, it won't be reflected in the other user's "All Programs".
Now that you have cleaned out the unneeded items from your All Programs list, finish the job by sorting the list by name. Doing so will make it easier to find your programs on the list.
To sort by name : click the Start button, click "All Programs", right-click any item on the list and select "Sort by Name".