Windows 7 / Getting Started

Customizing the Program List and Search

The actual program listings are the last component of the Start menu that you can customize. In Windows 7, users of the new Start menu have a new way of accessing the program list using the Search box. These next few sections show you how to customize the Search box feature of the new Start menu and show you tweaks for the way the program list displays in both the new Start menu and the classic Windows Start menu.

Adjusting Scope

The new Search box on the bottom of the Start menu in Windows 7 is an extremely versatile box where you can do everything from executing programs to searching your entire computer for a specific document. By default, when you search for some text, it will search all the indexed locations. When I am using this feature, I just want it to search for programs in my Start menu, not search all my e-mails and other documents all over my computer. Why? I like a clean-looking Start menu, and when the search scope is set to something very wide, the results can become cluttered with useless information. As I mentioned previously, when I search in the Start menu Search box, I expect it just to search the Start menu and nothing more. Thankfully, Microsoft has given a way for you to customize the scope of where this Search box searches. Follow these steps to customize your search scope:

  1. Right-click the Start button and select Properties.
  2. Click the Customize button on the Start Menu tab.
  3. Scroll down the list of options until you get to the search settings, as shown in figure.
  4. Here, I like to select Don't search under Search other files and libraries.
  5. Click OK to save and then OK again to close the Properties window.
Search Settings

After you are finished disabling the extra default search locations, you will notice that your search results are presented faster and are now less cluttered. Keep in mind that you can always still use the Search button on the right side of the Start menu to search for documents, favorites, communications, and files.

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