Windows 7, Vista and XP: Disable Highlighting New Programs on Start Menu

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By default, when you install a new program on Windows, the system highlights it on the Start menu. If you like a clean Start menu or are annoyed by the tacky highlights, here’s how to disable the feature.

When you install new programs in Windows XP, Vista and Windows 7, the system highlights them after they appear in the Start Menu.

If you find this tacky and annoying — I do — it’s easy to disable. Here’s how.

Here I have a fresh install of Windows 7 and ran Ninite to install several new programs at the same time. Click Start >> All Programs and you see all of the new programs are highlighted.

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To disable this default behavior, right click on Start and select Properties.

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The Taskbar and Start Menu Properties screen comes up with the Start Menu tab open. Click the Customize button.

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Next the Customize Start Menu window opens. Scroll down the list and uncheck Highlight Newly Installed Programs. Click OK to save the setting and close the window.

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Now click OK to close the Taskbar and Start Menu Properties window.

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Click Start  >> All Programs and you’ll see the newly installed programs are no longer annoyingly highlighted. This gives the Start menu a much cleaner look.

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If you’re still running XP, you can disable highlighting new programs too. Getting to the right spot is just a bit different. Right click Start then click Properties.

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Make sure Start menu is selected and click the Customize button.

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The Customize Start Menu window opens. Select the Advanced tab and uncheck Highlight Newly installed Programs in the Start Menu Settings section. Click OK to keep the setting and close the Customize Start menu window.

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Click OK to close Taskbar and Start Menu Properties. That’s it! Now newly installed programs in XP won’t be highlighted in the Start menu.

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Moving forward, anytime you install new programs on Windows, they won’t be highlighted in the Start menu. That’s all there is to it. Enjoy your clean Start menu interface. You can disable the highlighting new programs feature on XP, Vista and Windows 7.

This process also works on Windows 8 Developer Preview if you use the Registry hack to enable the classic Start menu.