Keep Start Menu From Closing After Opening Applications

If you want to open more than one application without having to navigate through the whole start menu again, you can use a little-known trick to keep the start menu open after you click on an item.

Just hold down the shift key while you click on an item under the All Programs group, and you’ll notice the start menu stays up while the application loads in back of it… notice how the notepad window has focus.


There are a few caveats:

  • This only works on the All Programs menu if you are using the XP-style menu in XP.
  • This doesn’t work at all with the Vista-style start menu.
  • Works perfectly if you are using the Classic Start menu in either Vista or XP.
  • Some applications will demand focus and make it close anyway.


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.