Windows 7 / Getting Started

Disabling New Program Highlights

Program highlights was a great feature when I first started to use Windows XP. This feature would automatically highlight any new programs that you installed so that you could easily find them on the Start menu the first few times that you wanted to run the application. However, after I used this feature for a few months, I started to get annoyed with it. It never seemed to work correctly, and applications that I installed quite some time ago seemed as though they were going to be highlighted forever. Unfortunately, it is also included in Windows 7. So, as soon as I installed Windows 7 on my PC, I was haunted by the return of this once-great feature. Just follow these steps to get rid of those annoying highlights:

  1. Right-click the Start button and select Properties.
  2. Click the top Customize button for the Start menu.
  3. Scroll through the list and uncheck Highlight Newly Installed Programs.
  4. Click OK to save your changes.
  5. Click OK once more to close the Properties window.

Now you will not have to worry about the programs that sometimes seem to be highlighted randomly.

Disabling Pop-Up Help

Ever notice that when you hover your cursor over a program listing in the Start menu a little help box pops up? This help feature is called Balloon Help. If you don't know what a program does, hold your cursor over the program for a second or so and a little message will fade in telling you what it is - if the programmer has set up this feature of the program. For programs that do not have this feature set up for their shortcut, the "balloon" just tells users where the program is located on their computer.

This feature can be useful for a beginning computer user. However, it can be another annoyance for more advanced users. If you don't need this feature, why not disable it? Follow these steps to get rid of this feature:

  1. Click the Start menu and select Run, and then type regedit in the box and click OK.
  2. After the Registry Editor has loaded, navigate through HKEY_CURRENT_USER, Software, Microsoft, Windows, CurrentVersion, Explorer, and Advanced.
  3. Right-click the entry called ShowInfoTip and select Modify.
  4. Set the value to 0 to disable this feature, and click OK.
  5. Close the Registry Editor and log off and back on so that the feature can be removed.

You are now finished with the last section on customizing the Start menu and program listing. Now you can move on to customizing the classic Start menu.

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