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Quick Tip: Disable Highlighting New Programs in Windows 7, Vista, and XP

One annoyance you may not like about Windows is when it highlights newly installed programs which is enabled by default in XP, Vista, and Windows 7. Today we will take a look at disabling it in all three versions of Windows.

Here we look at an example of the annoyance, notice the tacky highlight over programs that were recently installed.

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Disable in Vista & Windows 7

To disable it in Vista and Windows 7 right-click on the Start Menu and select Properties.

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The Taskbar and Start Menu Properties screen open and you want to click on Customize.

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In the Customize Start Menu screen scroll down and uncheck Highlight newly installed programs, then click Ok.

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That’s it! Now you’re free of the annoying highlighting of new programs in the Start menu.

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Disable in XP

You can do this in XP as well basically the same way. Right-click on Start \ Properties then make sure Start menu is selected and click Customize.

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Then click on the Advanced tab and uncheck Highlight newly installed programs, click Ok and close out of the remaining screens.

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If you are new to computers you may not want to disable this feature because it can help you easily distinguish between old and new programs. If you find it annoying, disable it and enjoy a cleaner Start menu.

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 10/28/09

Comments (10)

  1. David Levine

    This is one of the first things I change. I don’t know why anyone would want to have newly installed programs highlighted.

  2. will@whatsmypass.com

    User Key: [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer\
    Advanced]
    Value Name: Start_NotifyNewApps
    Data Type: REG_DWORD (DWORD Value)
    Value Data: (0 = no, 1 = yes)

  3. Eric

    Thank you so much…that has always annoyed me; i didn’t realize you could turn it off that easily.

  4. Alan

    Wow! Thank you so much!! This is one of the best tips ever, not only for turning off highlighting, but to expose me to all the other cool options there, especially the ability to display many items as immediate menus, instead of as links to a separate panel. Good good stuff! Huge appreciation out to you, HTG!!!

  5. Shkumbin

    Thanks, useful tip.

  6. p3trx

    OMG!!
    thanx!!

  7. Reido113

    Thanx!!! It was hiding in Windows 7 and your info helped me find it.

    Cheers!

  8. IByte

    Thanks, that’s a Quick Tip indeed! This “feature” has been bugging me for weeks, and my first Google hit (you) tells me exactly what I need to know.

  9. Lillith

    Wow! Now that was superfast and easy! Tyvm ^^

  10. Marco

    One reason it may be useful is if there are a lot of programs installed and you want to quickly access a newly installed program. I have tons of software installed as I have a 3 TB HD. Usually I’ll install 2-3 programs at one time. Sometimes the programs are created a program group with an unexpected name or the executable is listed outside of the program group. In any case, with highlighting turned on it’s a breeze to locate the new program and run them. I also use Windows 7 which automatically sorts the programs so with 100s of programs installed it makes life a lot easier for me. I may be the only one though that appreciates this feature. At least it’s tog-gable. :)

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