Windows help: How to clean your Start Menu

How do I clean the icons out of my Windows Start menu?

When you click START and then click ALL PROGRAMS do all the program listings take-up your entire screen?

big start menu

Did you know that you can easily remove icons from your start menu?

Most people do not know that they can very easily remove items from the Windows XP Start menu, making it smaller and easier to navigate. Removing icons from the XP Start menu does not remove the software or files from your PC.

You do not need many icons in your Windows Start menu!

Most programs install at least one item into your Start menu, but many install several icons including help icons, 'read me' icons, and 'uninstall' icons, most of which you will never need or use. Other programs add icons to your Windows XP Start menu that you will never need to use. For example, if you install Adobe Acrobat reader, you will get 3 new icons added into your Start menu. But when was the last time you ever used that icon to open a Acrobat Reader (.PDF) file? Most Acrobat files, and many other files you can open directly from the internet, or by double-clicking the file from your desktop or wherever the file is stored. If you have this type of icons in your XP Start menu, or other icons that you've never used, get rid of them.

First, un-install any programs you don't need and never use

If you have programs installed on your PC that you never use, uninstall them! There is no reason to keep software on your computer that you never use. In addition to taking up space in your hard drive, it can also create problems with new software you install. A clean Windows computer runs faster and smoother, so get rid of it!

Windows XP Uninstall

How to uninstall a program
To uninstall a software program from Windows XP follow these steps:

  • Press START, then select CONTROL PANEL
  • From the Control Panel, double click Add or Remove Programs
  • In the Add/Remove Programs window, find the software you wish to remove, click it with your mouse, then press the remove button. Read and follow any prompts, and reboot if necessary. Be careful to not remove any software if you do not know what it is.

How to clean your Windows XP Start Menu

Removing items from your Start menu is probably easier than you might have thought. Follow these steps to remove an item from your XP Start menu.

  • Press the START button
  • Click or point your mouse to All Programs
  • Find the item you want to remove and click on it with your RIGHT mouse button
  • In the small menu that appears, click DELETE

That's all there is to it! You might have to do this a dozen times to cut your Start Menu down to size.
Remember, deleting the icons does not remove the programs, and if you change your mind, you can open your recycle bin and drag the icon out, and place it right back into the Start menu by dropping it at the location on the Start Menu where you want it.

Customize your XP Start Menu

How to customize the Windows Start menu

You might have noticed that some Star Menu icons cannot be deleted by right clicking on them. You can remove some of these items by using the Windows Start Menu customize feature.

To customize your XP Start menu follow these steps:

Customizing the XP Start Menu
  • With your RIGHT mouse button, click on START
  • On the small menu that appears, select Properties
  • On the Start Menu Properties window, click the Customize button
  • By changing the options, limit the number of recent programs used, remove the Internet Icon, remove the E-Mail icon. You can experiment with these settings to see how it affects your Start menu, then return to make changes if necessary.
Customize XP

Customize your XP Start menu even more with the Advanced options

Clicking the Advanced button will bring up even more options and items that you can change or remove. Remove any items listed that you don't use.

More information and tips:
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The kindest thing I can say is that none of this worked.

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