Blank Start Menu In Windows 7
The Windows 7 start menu has been designed by Microsoft to display recently used programs on the first page and all installed programs that have added a start menu entry on the second page. The second page is displayed after the user clicks on the All Programs link there.
When a Windows user decides to disable the listing of recent programs that have been executed on the computer, a blank start menu page is displayed instead.
This does not make that much sense for many users who would prefer that the programs listed under All Programs are moved to the first page so that they are accessible immediately when clicking on the start menu.
This is however not the case and there is no preference to change this behavior. The only option for users who have disabled the recent programs from being listed in the Windows 7 start menu is to fill the blank start menu with program and file links that they add to it.
Blank Start Menu In Windows 7
Programs and files can be pinned to the start menu just like they can be pinned to the taskbar in Windows 7. This appears to be the only way to make use of the otherwise blank start menu in Windows 7.
So, what you can do is add your favorite programs, websites, and files to the Windows start menu by pinning them to it. This makes them available directly when you open the start menu so that you don't have to click on "all programs" first to launch them.
It would be interesting to see if anyone comes up with a better solution for the blank start menu in Windows 7. If so let us know in the comments.
Update: Pinning files, folders and programs to the blank start menu might be a tedious process, but it can really pay off as it allows you to customize the first page of the Windows start menu to your liking.
One alternative that has been mentioned in the comments is to use a start menu replacement application that gets rid of the Windows 7 start menu and replaces it with its own version.
Options include the excellent Classic Shell which offers that and more.
i am looking forward to see how could it be achieved,too.
Unfortunately, I don’t know any way, apart from using one of the several start menu alternatives available, to do this easily.
One option would be to recreate the menu structure of the ‘All programs’ pane, by utilising the ability to pin folders to the start menu, as presented here: http://www.sevenforums.com/tutorials/8964-start-menu-pin-unpin-folder.html
Here are a few alternative shells, there are others, both free and paid:
Yeah, I’ve been livin with this for about a year now…too lazy to pursue a fix.
Dougle; Thanks for the suggestions.
This is what my start menu looks like and it bugs me.
Don’t get me wrong, I hate Apple.
But Apple would never design or release an OS that did something this stupid.
I found that someone had gone into Windows Explorer, into the “Users” folder and selected the properties for the user account folder. The “Hidden” checkbox was checked, making everything in the user’s folders hidden. Nothing would then show up on either the desktop or in the start menu.
I had this issue out of the blue, and I went into the Control Panel, chose “TaskBar & Start Menu”, clicked on the “Start Menu” tab, and then “customize.” For some reason, “Recent Items” was unchecked. Once I checked it, it was fixed.
Best thing to do to fix blank start Menu is to open the c:\programdata\microsoft\windows\start menu there should be a “program” folder. Right click on the folder and click properties. Click on Previous Versions tab and select a date prior to your problem.
This fixed my problem immediately.
Found this solution that worked for me:
Press the WINKEY+R.
In the Run dialog box, type regedit.exe and press OK.
This will open the Registry Editor.
Navigate down to the following key.
With Advanced selected, look in the right side pane for a Value named ‘StartMenuInit’.
This value should show a number ending in ‘3’.
If it has any other number, double click this value.
In the ‘Value Data’ box, change the number to 3.
If the ‘StartMenuInit’ value does not exist, create the value.
Right click and empty area in the right side pane and select,
New/DWORD (32bit) Value.
Name the new value StartMenuInit (Case sensitive)
Double click this new value.
Type the number 3 in the Value Data box.
Exit the registry editor and reboot the computer.
Thanks for posting your solution. It is always good to have additional fixes at hand.
I purposely disabled recent programs from being stored in the start menu because I didn’t want programs that do not use often to clutter the area. I have pinned the programs I wanted there because I also do not like having my desktop cluttered with a lot of shortcuts and folders; none to be exact. My problem is, while the searching for the the programs I use in the “all programs” link they still say they are pinned to the start menu although the start menu is completely blank.
Any help would be appreciated.
I am a Professional Computer Technician and I had the same problem in my Windows 7 64 Bit w/SP1. I scoured the internet for 3 days and finally found the FIX!
It is s shareware program called “Windows Repair 2.4.1” published by Tweaking.com.
I downloaded it from BleepingComputer.com (“Trustable Site”) at,
Windows Repair (All-in-One) Portable is the portable version of Windows Repair. This version allows you to use the program from a portable device such as a USB flash drive. This tool will allow you to repair common issues with your computer such as firewall, file permission, and Windows Update problems. When using this tool you can select the particular fixes you would like to launch and start the repair process.
Windows Repair can perform the following tasks:
Reset Registry Permissions
Reset File Permissions
Register System Files
Repair Windows Firewall
Repair Internet Explorer
Repair MDAC & MS Jet
Repair Hosts File
Remove Policies Set By Infections
Repair Winsock & DNS Cache
Remove Temp Files
Repair Proxy Settings
Unhide Non System Files
Repair Windows Updates
Repair CD/DVD Missing/Not Work
And you can add Bring back Recent Program and Pinning Abillity to the Start and TaskBar to the list.
Just thought I would write about the Solution since it was so hard for me to find.