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Home Free Software Windows user interface SortStartMenu - Sort the Windows start menu alphabetically
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SortStartMenu - Sort the Windows start menu alphabetically E-mail
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Free Software - Windows user interface
Written by Thomas   
Wednesday, 29 April 2009 08:35


SortStartMenu is a little helper application that lets you sort the start menu of Windows alphabetically. It is quite an old piece of software, but I was asked to put it here, and here you go.


Once the start menu has been sorted, this action cannot be made undone with a single button click. To get a different order back, the user has to move the menu items around manually again.


Additionally, the software lets you change the start menu to the old classic view. This is very helpful if you don't like XP's standard menu. By the way, I don't like XP's standard menu view either.


SortStartMenu works on Windows 98, Windows NT 4, Windows 2000, and Windows XP. At least on Windows NT you have to log off and back on again in order to have the changes applied. Windows XP takes it immediately.

You need to run SortStartMenu again whenever new start menu items are added, because Windows tends to add them at the bottom instead of where they belong to according to the aplhabet.


What does the software do and how does it do it?

There's really not much down to SortStartMenu. It is an Inno Setup script.

The core block consists of only three lines of actual code.

To sort the start menu of Windows aplhabetically, SortStartMenu deletes the registry key "HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\MenuOrder\Start Menu\Programs", where Windows keeps track of the order of all items. If Windows doesn't have any informaiton on how to sort and display the start menu, it automatically falls back to the default viewing option, which is sorting it according to the alphabet. Microsoft's article Start menu and Favorites menu are not listed in alphabetical order explains this in more detail.

The second line is the one for the classic start menu. The setting is kept under the key "HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Policies\Explorer" and is called "NoSimpleStartMenu". I have no idea why Microsoft think that Windows XP's default ugly and complicated start menu should be treated as simple. However, SortStartMenu sets the value "NoSimpleStartMenu" to 1 in order to obtain the nice and really simple classic menu, which saves many mouse clicks and key strokes compared to XP's default setting.

The last line of the core block is the value of "MenuShowDelay" under the key "HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop". This is the value Windows uses to delay start menu pop-ups. When you click on the start menu or one of its items there is always a little delay. This value is by default set to 300 milliseconds. In my opinion, this is ways too long. If you have a start menu entry like Start -> Programs ->A program, there is absolutely no way that you can reach this program in under a second, alone already because Windows delays the opening of the start menu layers by 300 ms each, in the mentioned example by 900 ms alltogether (almost a second alone). If this option is checked in SortStartmenu, the software sets this value to 100 milliseconds, which lets you reach "A program" in the menioned example in much less than a second. I'd even prefer 0 ms, but then it is very difficult to hover between menu layers.


Download SortStartMenu.exe (0.29 MiB = 294.6 KiB = 301,660 bytes)

Download (0.26 MiB = 270.2 KiB = 276,656 bytes)


Last Updated on Wednesday, 29 April 2009 12:59
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