How to Speed Up Menu Animations in Windows

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Windows includes various visual effects and animations that make using the operating system feel a little more friendly. A good example of this is the animation that fades or slides menus into view a few hundred milliseconds after you click them. Adjusting that delay, though, can make using your PC feel a little snappier.

RELATED: Speed Up Any PC, Smartphone, or Tablet By Disabling Animations

Windows lets you disable a number of visual effects and doing so can help make your computer feel more responsive. The slight delay between when you click a menu and when it displays on screen is one setting in particular that can slow you down a bit. While you can turn it off completely using settings for visual effects (which is great for older computers), a little mild Registry editing will let you keep the effect but tune it a little more to your liking.

Change Menu Animation Speed by Editing the Registry Manually

To change the menu animation speed for any PC running Windows Vista all the way through Windows 10, you just need to make an adjustment to one setting in the Windows Registry.

Standard warning: Registry Editor is a powerful tool and misusing it can render your system unstable or even inoperable. This is a pretty simple hack and as long as you stick to the instructions, you shouldn’t have any problems. That said, if you’ve never worked with it before, consider reading about how to use the Registry Editor before you get started. And definitely back up the Registry (and your computer!) before making changes.

Open the Registry Editor by hitting Start and typing “regedit.” Press Enter to open Registry Editor and give it permission to make changes to your PC.

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In the Registry Editor, use the left sidebar to navigate to the following key:

HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Control Panel\Desktop

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Next, in the right pane, find the MenuShowDelay value and double-click to open it.

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By default, menus are set with a 400 millisecond delay between when you click and the menu displays. You can set the value to anywhere from 0 to 4000 milliseconds. Obviously, setting the value to zero turns animations off. You may want to experiment a bit to find a value you find comfortable, but we’ve found that a value of 150-200 makes the menus seem much snappier while still giving you the animated feel. Just type the value you want into the “Value data” box and click OK.

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You’ll need to restart your computer (or log off and back on) to see the changes. And if you want to set a new value (including returning to the default 400 milliseconds), just follow those steps again.

Download Our One-Click Registry Hacks

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If you don’t feel like diving into the Registry yourself, we’ve created some a couple of registry hacks you can use. The “Reduce Menu Animation to 200” hack sets the menu animation speed to 200 milliseconds. The “Restore Menu Animation to 400” hack restores it to the default 400 milliseconds. Both hacks are included in the following ZIP file. Double-click the one you want to use and click through the prompts. When you’ve applied the hack you want, restart your computer (or log off and back on).

Menu Animation Speed Hacks

RELATED: How to Make Your Own Windows Registry Hacks

These hacks are really just the Desktop key, stripped down to the MenuShowDelay value we talked about in the previous section and then exported to a .REG file. Running either of the enable sets that value to the appropriate number.  And if you enjoy fiddling with the Registry, it’s worth taking the time to learn how to make your own Registry hacks.

You can also experiment with different values from 0 to 4000 milliseconds by editing the “Reduce Menu Animation to 200” hack and then running it again. To edit the hack, right-click the file and choose Edit from the context menu. This opens the hack in Notepad. Just look for the MenuShowDelay line and edit the number inside the quotation marks (being sure to leave the quotation marks there).

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And that’s it. If you prefer not to disable menu animations, but want browsing menus to feel a bit faster, a fairly simple Registry hack is all you need.

Walter Glenn is a long time computer geek and tech writer. Though he's mostly a Windows and gadget guy, he has a fondness for anything tech. You can follow him on Facebook and Twitter.