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Beginner Geek: Show Start Menu Items in Expanded View in Windows 7

Rather than opening Control Panel or other locations from the Start Menu and hunting for what you need, you might find it easier to access them in expanded view from the Start Menu. Here we’ll show you a quick tip to get it done.

Expanded View

In this example we’ll show you the steps for Control Panel but this will work with the other items on the Start Menu as well.

To show Control Panel items in Expanded View in Windows 7 right-click the taskbar and select Properties.

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Click the Start Menu tab then the Customize button.

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From the list under Control Panel select Display as a menu then click OK.

sshot-2010-07-14-[23-36-42]

That’s it! Now when you hover the mouse pointer over Control Panel on the Start Menu, all of the items are displayed as a list in expanded view.

sshot-2010-07-14-[23-46-04]

Maybe you want to show your pictures in expanded view…just follow the same steps as above by selecting Display as a menu.

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Or here is an example of Games in expanded view from the Start Menu.

sshot-2010-07-15-[00-12-48]

This will work with Computer, Control Panel, Documents, Downloads, Games, Music, Personal folder, Pictures, Recorded TV, and Videos from the Start Menu. If you’re looking for an easier way to access some of the items on the Start Menu, this tip should help you out.

For more tips on customizing the Start Menu check out our article on how to tweak the Start Menu in Windows 7 and Vista.

Lowell Heddings, better known online as the How-To Geek, spends all his free time bringing you fresh geekery on a daily basis. You can follow him on if you'd like.

  • Published 07/20/10

Comments (6)

  1. jasray

    Nice tip–thanks!

  2. wtortorici

    I miss Recent menu in xp and vista for win7. I did pin the Recent folder to the Start menu but is not limited to a fixed amount of items of the most recent.

  3. Bu Yo

    I look forward to your daily articles to appear in my mail box each morning. I have been looking and trying this Show Start Menu Items in Expanded View in Windows 7 but it won’t work with my Windows 7 using the Clasic Start Menu. Wish it did.

  4. Barbara

    thanks for the tip! I love it and I will waste all the free time this frees up on the physics game, LOL! Great tips, I appreciate this site very much! B’

  5. John

    The ‘computer’ menu expands to show my C: & D: drives, but these drives are shown as a link only, so I have to click them to open explorer and then search for the file. Do you know how to make the drives within ‘computer’ expand as well?

    Thanks in advance,

  6. Kero

    is there any way to make the “programs list” show like it used to in xp, all at the same time??
    that little listing on the left that I have to scroll thru is annoying and more….
    Thanks

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