Windows 7 / Getting Started

Start Menu and Taskbar Policies

Table shows a list of all the group policies that will help you customize the Start menu and the taskbar.

Group Policy Settings to Configure the Start Menu and Taskbar

Add Search Internet link to Start menuAllows you to search the Internet from the Start menu.
Clear history of recently opened documents on exitPurges document history at logoff.
Clear the recent programs list for new usersPurges program history at logoff.
Add logoff to the Start menuControls the logoff option in the classic Start menu and Start menu.
Gray unavailable Windows Installer programs Start menu shortcutsProvides users with a visual notification of applications that are not available
Turn off personalized menusDisables the feature that hides uncommonly run programs from the classic Start menu.
Lock the taskbarControls the locking state of the taskbar. A locked taskbar does not allow any changes to be made to it.
Add "Run in Separate Memory Space" check box to Run dialog boxAdds an additional setting for running programs with the Run box. I recommend enabling this setting.
Turn off notification area cleanupDisables the ability to hide icons.
Remove Balloon Tips on Start menu itemsDisables pop-up information when hovering over items in the Start menu.
Remove drag-and-drop and context menus on the Start menuDisables the ability to use the drag-anddrop functionality in the Start menu.
Remove and prevent access to the Shut Down, Restart, Sleep, and Hibernate commandsDisables the user's ability to change the state of the machine. Useful for public computers.
Remove common program groups from Start menuAllows only user-specific applications to appear in the Start menu.
Remove Favorites menu from Start menuHides Favorites shortcut.
Remove Search link from Start menuHides Search shortcut.
Remove frequent programs list from Start menuHides Frequently Run Programs list.
Remove Games link from Start menuHides Games shortcut.
Remove Help menu from Start menuHides Help shortcut.
Turn off user trackingDisables all tracking of user programs and documents.
Remove All Programs list from Start menuRemoves the ability to search through the main part of the Start menu, All Programs.
Remove Network Connections from Start menuHides the Network Connection shortcut.
Remove pinned programs list from Start menuDisables the ability to pin applications.
Do not keep history of recently opened documentsDisables the tracking of opening documents.
Remove Recent Items menu from Start menuHides the Recent Items shortcut.
Do not use the search-based method when resolving shell shortcutsDisables the ability to search the computer when a shortcut is broken.
Do not use the tracking-based method when resolving shell shortcutsDisables the ability to use NTFS tracking to try to fix a broken shortcut.
Remove Run menu from Start menuHides the Run shortcut.
Remove Default Programs link from Start menuHides Default Programs shortcut.
Remove Documents icon from Start menuHides Documents shortcut.
Remove Music icon from Start menuHides Music shortcut.
Remove Network icon from Start menuHides Network shortcut.
Remove Pictures icon from Start menuHides Pictures shortcut.
Do not search communicationsDisables the ability to search e-mails from the Start menu search box.
Remove Search Computer linkHides Search shortcut.
Remove See More Results/Search Everywhere linkAllows you to expand the Start menu search results.
Do not search filesDisables the ability to search for files that are in indexed locations from within the Start menu.
Do not search the InternetDisables the ability to search the Internet from the Start menu.
Do not search programs and Control Panel itemsDisables the ability to search the Start menu from the Start menu Search box. This will not make the Search box go away.
Remove programs on Settings menuPrevents various settings' components from running, such as Control Panel and Network Connections.
Prevent changes to taskbar and Start menu settings
Remove Downloads link from Start menu
Locks taskbar and Start menu settings.
Hides Downloads link.
Remove Homegroup link from Start menuHides Homegroup link.
Remove Recorded TV link from Start menuHides Recorded TV link.
Remove user's folders from Start menuHides user folders.
Remove Videos link from Start menuHides Videos link.
Force classic Start menuDisables the new Start menu and uses the Windows 2000-style Start menu instead.
Remove Clock from system notification areaHides the clock.
Prevent grouping of taskbar itemsDisables application grouping on the taskbar.
Do not display any custom toolbars in the taskbarDisables third-party taskbars or user-made toolbars.
Remove access to the context menus for the taskbarDisables capacity to right-click the toolbars in the taskbar.
Hide the notification areaDisables the entire notification area (system tray).
Remove user folder link from Start menuHides the User Folder shortcuts
Remove username from Start menuHides the username from appearing on the Start menu.
Remove links and access to Windows UpdateHides the shortcuts to Windows Update.
Change Start menu power buttonAllows you to change what the power button on the Start menu does. E.g. Shutdown/Hibernate/Sleep.
Show Quick Launch on taskbarEnables the Quick Launch toolbar.
Remove the "Undock PC" button from Start menuHides the shortcut for undocking a laptop.
Add the Run command to Start menuProvides the Run command on both the Start menu and the classic Start menu.
Remove Logoff on Start menuHides Logoff shortcut.
Remove the Action Center iconHides the Action Center icon in the Notification area.
Remove networking iconHides networking icon in the Notification area.
Remove battery meterHides power icon in the Notification area.
Remove volume control iconHides volume icon in the Notification area.
Turn off feature advertisement balloon notificationsDisables pop-up help about features.
Do not allow pinning items in Jump ListsDisables adding items to Jump Lists.
Do not allow pinning programs to the taskbarDisables adding applications to the taskbar.
Do not display or track items in Jump Lists from remote locationsPrevents recent documents from network shares from showing up in Jump Lists.
Turn off automatic promotion of notification icons to taskbarDisables temporarily adding new Notification area icons to the Notification area before moving to overflow container.
Lock all taskbar settingsLocks the taskbar.
Prevent users from adding or removing toolbarsDisables the ability to add toolbars.
Prevent users from rearranging toolbarsLocks in the position of your toolbars (similar to locking the taskbar).
Turn off all balloon notificationsDisables pop-up help.
Remove pinned programs from taskbarDisables and removes pinned applications on the taskbar.
Prevent users from moving taskbar to another screen dock locationLocks the position of your taskbar.
Prevent users from resizing taskbarLocks the size of your taskbar.
Turn off taskbar thumbnailsDisables the application thumbnails that are shown when you move your cursor over taskbar items when running Aero Glass.

As you can see, there are dozens of useful group policies that will help you customize your desktop more than any other method. Additionally, these policies can be used in a domain policy that governs all Windows 7 computers connected to a domain.

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