Windows 7 is a start button tweak possible?

By Arthurik_jan ยท 16 replies
Nov 19, 2009
  1. :wave: Hey everyone, I'm happy to be back on my favourite forums!

    Alright this is a tough one. When you click on the start button, you see the following:

    This is supposed to be a list of most recently opened programs, but due to the fact that I do not use the recently opened programs feature (haven't used it in XP or in Vista) I would prefer to see the following after clicking the start button:

    If this would be possible then I wouldn't need to concern myself with the disappearing toolbar problem in Windows 7 and I would just throw all of my program/game shortcuts into this list.

    A big THANK YOU in advance to all who invest their time into helping me with this minor annoyance.

    Arthur :)
  2. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523

    Actually I'm not running Vista, but I had this in a text file (obviously copied from somewhere), so it may/may not work :confused:
    There are three options :)

    Option # 1
    This happens if the desktop.ini file in the Recent folder is deleted.

    Click Start, type "%AppData%\Microsoft\Windows" and press <ENTER>
    Right-click the folder named Recent, and choose Delete. Click Yes when prompted.
    Now, type the command "shell:recent" in Start - Search box, and press <ENTER>.

    Logoff and log back on. You should now see the context menu entry Clear Recent Items List when you right-click on the Recent Items folder in the Start menu.


    Option # 2

    if the desktop.ini is missing, Delete will be in the
    context menu when right-clicking on the folder.

    Check this key in the Registry Editor:

    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\User Shell Folders

    In the left-hand pane, the default Data for the Name "Recent" (no quotes) should be:


    (Note that in the registry, the folder is called Recent, not Recent Items: the path is exactly as written. The "Recent Items" name
    is a function of the desktop.ini.). And check this key:

    HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\Shell Folders

    In the left-hand pane, the default Data for the Name "Recent" (no quotes) should be:

    C:\Users\(Your Name)\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Recent

    Should you need to modify the Data values, log off and back on. Then type shell:recent to see if the folder pops up...

    Actually, the folder popping up and disappearing occurs when "Store and display a list of recently opened files" is not checked in
    Taskbar and Start Menu Properties. Right-click on the Start Menu button on your Taskbar, and choose Properties. On the Start Menu
    tab of that dialog, make sure, under the Privacy section, that that entry has a checkmark (Apply, OK). Then try the shell:recent
    command again.

    1. Right-click Command Prompt, and choose Run as Administrator. Type the
    following command, and then press ENTER:

    takeown /f C:\Users\USERNAME\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Recent

    2. Type the following command, and then press ENTER to grant
    administrators full access to the file:

    icacls C:\Users\USERNAME\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Recent /grant administrators:F

    3. Then type:

    icacls C:\Users\USERNAME\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Recent /grant USERNAME_PC/USERNAME:F

    Well, I finally solved my problem with the help of some of dean-dean's advice. Just to recap my problem, I could log in as the Admin. and the "Recent Items" would update whenever a file is opened. However, when I'm logged in under a standard user ID the Recent Items area would not update.

    By looking at the registry as defined earlier in this thread, my "Recent Items" for standard users was pointing to a shortcut located in the C:\User\(your name) directory. I could not determine where the shortcut was pointing because if I attempted to open it's properties I was denied access because I "didn't have permission" (even if I was logged in as the Admin.). So taking the advice of dean-dean earlier in this thread I deleted the shortcut file and entered the SHELL:RECENT command in the "Start Search" area of the START menu to create the special file required for the Recent Items area. This apparently worked because the Recent Items window opened.

    I then went to the START menu but did not see the "Recent Items" menu item, so taking another of dean-dean's suggestions I opened the "properties" area of the START button and cleared the checks on the following:

    "Store and display a list of recently opened files..."
    "Store and display a list of recently opened program..."

    I performed a restart, logged back into my standard user ID (not my Admin. ID), and opened the properties area of the START button again. I reselected the two items above (replaced the checks for each item) and clicked APPLY. My Recent Items area now works properly, recording any files that are opened.


    Option # 3
    1. click windows start menu icon.
    2. In search box type index.
    3. click on indexing options.

    this opens the indexing options window

    4. Click on modify.

    this opens the indexed locations window

    5. un-collapse menu for you hard drive.
    6. un-collapse menu for users.
    7. check your user name.
    8. click ok.

    the indexing locations window will close
    and bring you back to the indexing options window

    9. click advanced.

    this opens the advanced options window

    10. click rebuild.
    11. click ok.
    12. click close.
  3. Arthurik_jan

    Arthurik_jan TS Member Topic Starter Posts: 45

    Thank you for your reply Kimsland! That sure is extensive. But this is not the problem. I am using Windows 7, which means that the start menu has been restructured and the recently opened programs are visible as soon as you open the start menu. I don't have a problem with the recently opened programs (I've disabled them).

    What I want is the following:

    If possible, to replace the RECENT PROGRAMS list with the ALL PROGRAMS list :)

    I know I am being demanding, but it would make Windows 7 so much more pleasant to work with.

    Thank you for your help once again Kimsland.

  4. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523

  5. Arthurik_jan

    Arthurik_jan TS Member Topic Starter Posts: 45

    That is great :) But I don't want the old look back.

    I actually think that if someone comes up with how to (upon clicking the start menu) replace the recently opened programs list with all programs in Windows 7 the new menu will be much more efficient then the classical XP one.

    I'll explain in more detail. When you click on start, you get a list of recently opened programs. Now, for a person like me who doesn't use this feature and disables it in the taskbar menu this part of the menu is not of much use. So, I was thinking, whether it would be possible to delete the recently opened list and just leave the all programs list instead.

    Don't take me wrong I am not trying to act like a baby crying over something it can't have. I am just enquiring if this is theoretically possible to do accomplish.


  6. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523

    Oh like in Option#3 above (except no.7 would be un-check your Username?

    Sometimes it takes me a little while to understand (as I may still be confused here) but once I do, all seems well after that :)
  7. Arthurik_jan

    Arthurik_jan TS Member Topic Starter Posts: 45

    I believe my english sucks, hence the reason why I cannot describe what I want properly.

    Look at this picture:

    When I press on Start this is what I see. You see that white area on the left? It is the recent programs list. Do you see the all programs button on the bottm left corner? I have to click that in order to get this:

    I want to click on start and to immediately have the all programs opened. Get it? :) So I won't have to click to get to it.

    Simple, but complicated to do.

  8. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523

    Oh, I've got it now :)

    You just want All Programs menu to open, when you click on Start
    Similar to opening Control Panel automatically when you click on Start ;)
    ie I don't think it can happen :(
  9. Arthurik_jan

    Arthurik_jan TS Member Topic Starter Posts: 45

    Thank you very much for looking into this kimsland. :blackeye: This is just a bruise, I still believe I can win this fight.

    There must be a way. I'll keep on looking.

  10. TorturedChaos

    TorturedChaos TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 839   +29

    If you find a way to do that please post it back on here. wouldn't mind doing that to mine too.
  11. Arthurik_jan

    Arthurik_jan TS Member Topic Starter Posts: 45

    Double Post, sorry
  12. Arthurik_jan

    Arthurik_jan TS Member Topic Starter Posts: 45

    Although this definitely is not what I was searching for when I started this thread it sure is a certain substitute to what I wanted and it gets the job done quite well.

    What I've done is quite simple. First off as I said before I disabled the recent programs list and then I put all of the shortcuts I need upon the desktop. Then I went ahead and right-clicked every one of the shortcuts and clicked Pin to Start Menu.

    Then I went to taskbar properties and clicked on Start Menu -> Customize, scrolled all the way down and unchecked Use Large Icons. The result was astonishing. Have a look at the following pic. This is exactly what I wanted to achieve.

    I will still search for a way to replace recent programs with all programs but this partial solution meets my requirements so far.
    (except for the fact that you cannot pin folders :))

    A big thank you to kimsland, you sure have patience dude!

    Arthur out
  13. kimsland

    kimsland Ex-TechSpotter Posts: 14,523

    Oh thanks :)

    I'm saving this Topic for reference now :grinthumb
  14. gbhall

    gbhall TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,431   +77

    You should pose the question on here

    This link gives solutions to another way of doing the same thing, which is to get back the quick-launch taskbar from all versions of Windows back to 98. There is a way of pinning a drive/directory to it. Makes you wonder about the mentality of MS developers. "Gotta be new, new, new". The fact that half-a-billion users around the world have to relearn how to use their PC (and the huge retraining costs to business involved), is something quite amazing. Sure, have new facilities (as long as the OS is not slowed to a crawl), but keep the old ones that work fine as well.
  15. Arthurik_jan

    Arthurik_jan TS Member Topic Starter Posts: 45

    gbhall, thank you very much for the info. I went through the thread and comments and it seems to me that people do not understand what exactly is it that we want with the quick launch toolbar. For instance, this is how my quick launch (call it a list of shortcuts if you will) looks like:

    I don't use these programs much, hence the reason why I put them in a quick launch panel type of arrangement. If I were to pin everything to my taskbar there wouldn't be any more space (I disabled the grouping of similar programs into one taskbar panel). Plus I don't like how these shortcut icons on the taskbar are so far away from each other. The reason I wanted to swap the recent programs for the all programs list is that I would like to have the possiblity to have and create folders in the list in order to keep it more organized.

    I am entering my question into the recommended thread, once again thank you gbhall.

  16. gbhall

    gbhall TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,431   +77

    I think you are quite right, and MS are being bone-headed (again). If you get some sense about a better way to run Win7 as you want to and not how MS thinks you ought to, I will be (a) surprised (b) grateful if you let us know here.
  17. jasonbernal

    jasonbernal TS Rookie Posts: 24

    nice, thanks guys good work
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