An Easy Way of Tidying up Your Cluttered Start Menu in Windows

by Jawwad in Software, Tips&Tricks, Windows | 6 comments

If you are in the habit of installing a lot of software in Windows then you already know that how quickly start menu can grow long and cluttered. One of the disadvantages is that it can get difficult if you are looking for a specific program to run from the start menu. One approach to optimize you start menu appearance is to categorize all the items in a hierarchy so that main listing in the start menu only shows the categories and all the related programs are placed in the relevant category folder. This way not only that your start menu will be cleaner with few root items but also it will be easier to locate an installed program because of the organizational hierarchy. Of course, it can be achieved manually but a more efficient and quicker option will be to use a utility that is built specifically for this purpose – to tidy-up the start menu.

start menu before | An Easy Way of Tidying up Your Cluttered Start Menu in Windows start menu after | An Easy Way of Tidying up Your Cluttered Start Menu in Windows

Tidy Start Menu is such a utility, it has two versions a paid and a freeware version. Paid version allows the creation of custom categories in the start menu (among some other enhancements) but in free version you have to contend with the pre-built categories. But these categories should suffice for most of the users unless you have a lot of software installed that not fits appropriately in the already provided categories. Use is pretty simple, just run the program and from the wizard select Simple Mode as this the recommended and quick mode and then click on the Start Work. Now the main categorization interface will start which is pretty easy to use. To categorize each of the programs in a category/folder you will have to perform two steps. In step 1 select the category where you want to place a program and in step 2 checkmark the program in question and that will be moved from the start menu root folder to that category. It is pretty simple, isn’t it? Of course in step 2 you can check mark multiple programs to place all of them in the category that you have selected in step1.

As you can see the options related to create, delete and rename a category are disabled in the freeware version. But I hope that it will not be a deal breaker for most of you. Pre-built categories in this utility are as follows:

  1. Office
  2. Utilities
  3. Games
  4. Entertainment
  5. Games
  6. Internet
  7. Programming
  8. Graphics
  9. Security
  10. Other
main screen | An Easy Way of Tidying up Your Cluttered Start Menu in Windows category screen | An Easy Way of Tidying up Your Cluttered Start Menu in Windows


Tidy Start Menu also provides the option to backup the current state of the start menu so that you can revert to the current state in case you did not like the modified start menu. A nice extra feature is the ability to hunt down and list invalid/orphan shortcuts in start menu, desktop or quick launch bar and optionally delete them.

Overall it is a pretty simple utility but does the job pretty well for what it is intended for. You can download Tidy Start Menu from the author’s home page here.

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  • Thilak

    Cool tip for XP users. I’m on Vista, and I’m glad the MS gave a total overhaul to the start menu. It’s neat and tidy!

    They’ve spent one full year, working on that start menu!

  • Jawwad

    I agree with you that Vista start menu is batter in many ways but I do feel that it takes some getting used to for us coming from XP :smile:

  • Shashank

    i ll try this, lets see if it can tidy up my start menu a little bit :)

  • Thilak

    Jawwad: Yeah, you’ve got a strong point their. I migrated from XP to Vista on my laptop about a year ago, and I must admit that it wasn’t that hard getting used to.

    Just yesterday, my little brother had some trouble with his XP desktop and I had a hard time using it, but that a different story.

    So when are you planning to upgrade to Vista? After SP1?

  • Jawwad

    Thilak: Well actually not. The main reason is that I don’t see any tangible reason to upgrade to it. Almost all that I want to do on a daily basis I can do with Win XP (in a more speedier fashion). I understand that Vista has it’s fanbase. Actually I don’t have any issue with Vista, it is just that I don’t feel a need to go to it for now. Things may change in the future though.

    Yeah after the release of SP1, Vista is in much better shape now and many of the issues have been kinked out.

    So I will give a chance to Vista again soon :wink:

  • Nirmal

    I’m no Vista now and I dont feel that its diffcult after you migrate to Vista.

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