Windows 7 / Getting Started

Using Group Policy Editor to Customize the Start Menu and Taskbar

The Group Policy Editor is a great component of Windows that enables you to make dozens of advanced settings changes that are hidden from normal users. This works by defining various rules, called the policy, which tells Windows how to behave.

The collection of policies is what is known as Group Policy, of which there are two types: local and domain based. Local is when the policy resides in and is controlled on the local computer. Domain-based policy is when the policy resides on an Active Directory domain controller to which multiple computers are connected. Domain policy is primarily used only in businesses that need a way to control multiple computers from a central location. Use local Group Policy to configure the Start menu because most of you are customizing your home computer and do not have it connected to a domain controller. The actual policies and way you set them are the same for both types of group policies, so you can apply these same techniques to a domain policy if desired.

The policies are set and modified using the, you guessed it, Group Policy Editor. This is the tool that you will be using to set the policies to help you customize the Start menu. First, you learn how to use the policy editor, and then all the policies relevant to customizing the Start menu.

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