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Speed Up Your Start Menu

Earl from South Dakota writes:

When I go to open my programs, it seems to take a long time. Is there any way to make it go a little faster? I have Vista.

Hi, Earl! You couldn’t have asked a more empathetic person. I am incredibly impatient and when I click on something, I had better see it now! With that in mind, here is how to speed up your start menu in Vista:

Warning: Do not do anything in the Registry Editor that is not mentioned below; follow the instructions exactly. If you don’t, your computer will blow up. No, I’m kidding, but you can really mess it up to the point of no-return if you change anything else.

First, point to your Start button and then left-click. To the right of All Programs is the Run… line. Left-click on it and a box will pop up.


If your Run… line isn’t displayed as it is above, hold the Windows key and hit the R key (Win+R). This will bring up the Run line.

Next, type regedit in the Run line to open the Registry Editor and click on OK.


When the Registry Editor pops up, you will see various registry folders.

However, before making any changes in the registry, it’s a good idea to back it up. Instructions for that can be found here.

We need to get to the Start menu entry that allows us to change the startup time for the menu. Let’s follow these steps in order to get to it:

#1: Left-click (at the top) on Computer.
#2: Go down a couple of folders to HKEY_CURRENT_USER and left-click to expand it.
#3: Go down the list until you see Control Panel. Left-click on it to expand it.
#4: Go down the list until you see Desktop. Left-click on it to expand it.

We are now where we want to be; look at the right panel, and go down the list until you see MenuShowDelay (it has a purple box around it in the example below). Double-click on it and a box will pop up.


Next, double-click on the entry (registry key MenuShowDelay) and in the box that pops up, change the number from 400 to 0. Click on OK, and exit the Registry Editor (just close it by clicking on the X in the top right-hand corner.


You did it! Just an FYI: When I changed the MenuShowDelay number and then checked my Start Menu, the time to open the menu didn’t seem to speed up much, if at all. I tried closing out my browser and then I was good to go.

Your Start Menu isn’t going to let you wait anymore, Earl; it will now pop up as soon as you hit All Programs.

There you go – thanks for writing!

~ Lori Cline