How to Customize the Start Menu in Windows 7

Windows Start Menu displays a list of most frequently used items and also provides other options. You can easily customize the number of items to be displayed and how links look and behave in the start menu.
  1. Right click on the Taskbar and click on Properties
  2. A window Taskbar and Start Menu Properties opens. Go to the Start Menu tab
  3. Click on Customize... button to open the Customize Start Menu window. Here you can choose items to be displayed on the list on right side

Power button action

Here you can select what action should be displayed on the bottom right part of the Start Menu. There are seven choices for this - Switch user, Log off, Lock, Restart, Sleep, Hibernate, Shut down. Default value is Shut down. You can choose other options according to your requirements. These actions are also displayed when you click on the right-arrow-head present beside the button.

Store and display recently opened programs in the Start menu

It is highly recommended that you select this option. Otherwise it would be difficult to access your recently used programs. You can change the number of programs to be displayed in the Customize Start Menu. You can also remove or add individual programs to the Start Menu.

Store and display recently opened items in the Start menu and the taskbar

When you hover your mouse over an item in the Start Menu or right click on an icon in the Taskbar, a list of recently opened items by that program is displayed. If don't select this option, the recent items list will not be displayed. You can change the number of items to be displayed in the Customize Start Menu. You can also remove or add individual items in the Start Menu or Taskbar.

Add or remove a program in the Start Menu

To add a program, drag the program file to the Start icon. If the item is already present in the Start Menu, you can make it permanent by right clicking on the program and choose Pin to Start Menu.
To remove a program from start menu right click on it and choose Remove from this list or if you want to just unpin a program right click and choose Unpin from Start Menu.

Add or remove an item in the Start Menu or Taskbar

Adding or removing an item is similar to adding or removing a program. For an item to be displayed in the Recent items list of the program it has to be opened by that program recently.
To make it permanent right click on the item and choose Pin to this list.
To remove  choose Remove from this list.
Adding or removing an item in the Start Menu also adds or removes it from the Recent items list of the Taskbar.