Organize your start menu with Tidy Start Menu.

Unless you specifically tell a program otherwise, most programs nowadays will add themselves to your start menu when you install them. If you navigate your start menu often you know how annoying it is to view the dozens (hundreds?) of entries there. If while reading those first two sentences you thought to yourself “yep… that is me” then Tidy Start Menu is the program for:

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TSM (Tidy Start Menu) has a simple goal in mind: to help you organize your start menu. It accomplishes this goal by allowing you to place each start menu entry under a specific category folder in your start menu instead of all them appearing at once when you open your start menu:

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The above screenshot is of a Vista start menu. XP start menu will be similar but… XPish.

All of my start menu entries are organized as sub-entries under specific category folders such as “Games” or “Graphics” or “Internet”. It works like a charm; doesn’t my start menu look… organized? :D

To accomplish what I have done (as shown above) use the “Simple Mode” feature of TSM:

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The screenshot above is of “Simple Mode”. “Explorer Mode” is very limited in the freeware version of Tidy Start Menu. Too limited if you ask me.

All your start menu folders/entries are shown to you. All you need to do is go through all of the categories (“Office”, “Utilities”, “Games”, etc.) and check the boxes next to the start menu entries you would like to reorganize under each respective category. As you check the box next to each start menu entry, that entry is moved into the folder of the category in the start menu. To move it back out of the category just uncheck the box. Note that there is no “saving your settings” or “applying changes”: any change made with Tidy Start Menu is done in real time to your start menu.

If after using Tidy Start Menu your start menu still has other folders in it (this happened to me), just restart your computer – they should go away.

Now as I mentioned above, everything you do in Tidy Start Menu is done in real time. So before you start organizing your start menu I suggest you take advantage of the start menu backup abilities of TSM:

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Just backup your start menu before doing anything so you can restore it if anything goes wrong.

Ready to download Tidy Start Menu? Grab it from the following link:

***Tidy Start Menu works on Windows 98, Me, 2000, XP and Vista.

Tidy Start Menu homepage [direct download]

Thanks Liam!

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19 comments

  1. newbieworks

    Great program. Wished I would have known about it early. I just got finished re-organzing the entire start menu into similar categories and this program would have made it a lot easier.

  2. Ashraf
    Author/Mr. Boss

    Lol. To be honest I was working on the preview comment button Thursday night (trying to get it to work properly). However it messed up my template in IE so I disabled it and forgot about it until you mentioned it. It seems to be working now.

  3. Liam K

    Darn, looks as if the links were pulled out for having tags on them. Lol, that’s why we need comment editing.

    Trying again:

    Hi Liam,
    I haven’t had a chance to use Tidy Start Menu, so I can’t personally attest to the differences between the two programs. But from looking at their website it seems that a full version of Tidy Start Menu costs $24, while SMOz is free as in beer and speech http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Free_software. The free version of Tidy Start Menu supports only a limited number of categories whereas SMOz supports creation or deletion of an unlimited number of categories. Finally and most importantly, SMOz allows you to save the changes you have made into a template file which you can use on multiple computers or at different times. You can also create your own powerful templates that use regular expressions to perform matching. See http://smoz.svn.sourceforge.net/viewvc/smoz/branches/smoz-1.0/Resources/Template.ini for a sample. Tidy Start Menu website says it supports an XML wizard for importing and exporting settings, I don’t know how similar or capable it is. I encourage you to give SMOz a try. Hopefully this helps. If you have any suggestions or comments, don’t hesitate to contact me.

    PS: There is a lifehacker article about SMOz at http://lifehacker.com/software/featured-windows-download/organize-your-start-menu-with-smoz-305791.php you may find it helpful.

    -Nithin Philips

  4. Ashraf
    Author/Mr. Boss

    Sounds like SMOz may be in a future dotTech article (depending on when the new version comes out)

    Preview comment? Thanks for the reminder – on it right now! Done. “That was easy”.

  5. Liam K

    Ashraf: Well, back in March I emailed the developer with some feedback and questions and was told that there was a new version on the way.

    I asked for the differences:

    Hi Liam,
    I haven’t had a chance to use Tidy Start Menu, so I can’t personally attest to the differences between the two programs. But from looking at their website it seems that a full version of Tidy Start Menu costs $24, while SMOz is free as in beer and speech . The free version of Tidy Start Menu supports only a limited number of categories whereas SMOz supports creation or deletion of an unlimited number of categories. Finally and most importantly, SMOz allows you to save the changes you have made into a template file which you can use on multiple computers or at different times. You can also create your own powerful templates that use regular expressions to perform matching. See for a sample. Tidy Start Menu website says it supports an XML wizard for importing and exporting settings, I don’t know how similar or capable it is. I encourage you to give SMOz a try. Hopefully this helps. If you have any suggestions or comments, don’t hesitate to contact me.

    PS: There is a lifehacker article about SMOz at you may find it helpful.

    -Nithin Philips

    I really think a “Preview Comment” button would be nice — you should consider it.

  6. RobCr

    Ashraf,
    I had a look at Star Trek’s Captain’s image link, where they are one level to the right.
    I prefer mine in the main menu on the left.
    Also I like to keep things simple (as near to standard as possible). Less things to go wrong.

  7. RobCr

    Hi Ashraf,
    One can do this themselves (no programs required).
    Navigate to Documents and Settings, and pick the appropriate user.
    I just installed Windows on my latest (seconhand) PC.
    I chose All Users, but sometimes you may have to experiment to see which ‘user’ folder you have to use.
    Expand that folder, and get the focus on Start Menu
    Add a new folder eg Graphics, DVD, Editors, Web
    Just do one first, then go to you Start Menu to see if it appears.
    If it doesn’t appear, try moving it to one of the other Users.
    These new menus will appear in the left column of the Start Menu (great spot).
    After you have a few of them, you can start dragging entries out of the Programs folder.
    (You can do that in Windows Explorer, or just by dragging/dropping in the Start Menu.

    Rob
    PS
    Sorry I haven’t responded to the other topic, regarding
    Problems when I jump from an email to your web site, and have to sign in, and then get thrown into my Profile, instead of following the link I first clicked.
    My brain is stuffed (see below), as I just realized that problem must be fixed, as it did not happen today.

    I have ‘been to hades and back’ after my main PC died.
    I will soon jump to your other Topic, to see which is the safest, easiest way to clone a hard drive. I have Paragon Hard Disk Manager, and it generally does a good job.
    But when I use it to clone a hard drive it ‘scares me poopless’, as it shows you the two drives, and within about 10 seconds it starts the clone, Bad luck if it is the opposite direction from what you wanted.

  8. Liam K

    Stephen: Yes, most uninstallers will not delete the moved Start Menu entries. If you use Revo Uninstaller, however, it will catch them when searching for files and folders at the end.

  9. Stephen

    I’ve always done this with Windows Explorer in XP, but I couldn’t find the relevant folders (in a short time) in Vista.

    What bothers me, and may be what is meant by the Revo Uninstaller comment, is whether a program’s uninstaller can find the Program’s Start Menu entries when you’ve moved them.

  10. Liam K

    NP :)

    One of the best things about TSM is that it is compatible with Revo Uninstaller :D

    An open-source alternative to Tidy Start Menu is SMOz, but I tried it and it is much harder to use.