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Q: WinXP: Where are start menu and task bar settings stored? ( Answered,   0 Comments )
Subject: WinXP: Where are start menu and task bar settings stored?
Category: Computers > Operating Systems
Asked by: gadgetguy-ga
List Price: $10.00
Posted: 19 Sep 2003 06:41 PDT
Expires: 19 Oct 2003 06:41 PDT
Question ID: 258255
Where, in the Windows XP registry or elsewhere, are the following
settings stored and, if the settings are not in plain text, how do I
edit them?

1. Taskbar: The list of available toolbars and their displayed status.
2. Start Menu: The small icons setting.

These two specific settings on my Windows XP Pro are no longer saved
when I change them using the standard UIs (properties for the start
menu, and the right-click menu for the task bar). While I'd like to
make these settings changeable again, what I need most is to fix them
to the settings I prefer and forget about them. If I can figure out
exactly where they are stored I hope I can set them manually.
Subject: Re: WinXP: Where are start menu and task bar settings stored?
Answered By: filian-ga on 19 Sep 2003 08:47 PDT
Greetings, gadgetguy-ga!

You can find the Start Menu information in the registry under a
special key. I found a website that gives details on the key and how
to find it:

"You can use the Group Policy editor, gpedit.msc, to manage XP Start
Menu options:
User Configuration \ Administrative Templates \ Start Menu and Taskbar
You can also set them directly via the registry using the registry


Wayne's Windows XP Resources for Administrators and Users

When Wayne mentioned the Group Policy editor, he was talking about an
option that's only available in Windows XP Professional. The official
Windows XP website offers a comparison chart of the features in the
Home Edition and XP Professional. The Group Policy editor is described
this way:

"Designed to work with Microsoft Windows Servers and management

Group Policy - simplifies the administration of groups of users or

He does say that you can use either the Group Policy editor or just go
straight into the registry. You get to the registry but running
"regedit.exe". Just go from Start to Run and type regedit.exe in the
box and the registry editor will come up.
Always remember to make a backup copy of the registry before making
any changes.

Here's a page that has a screenshot of the Group Policy Editor.

" If you do not like some of the default settings of Windows XP (like
the new Start-Menu or
the "colorful" Windows XP theme of the desktop ) , you can change
these settings by using the
"Group Policy Editor" : Select from the Start-menu "Run" and enter :

Windows XP : Group Policy Editor
World of Windows Networking

The same list of registry options that Wayne offered above is
available on Windows XP's official site:

Policy Settings for the Start Menu in Windows XP

For setting the Icon size in the registry, you would go to this key:

"SmallIcons"="yes" "

Steve Campbell, "re: changing to small icons in start menu"
Online Posting (Wednesday, September 3, 2003)
Windows Annoyances Forum
Registration not required

Here is a tutorial on editing the registry:

Puppy PC -- Windows XP Registry

The Registry Guide for Windows offers help on finding the correct Keys
in the registry to customize the taskbar.

"Open your registry and find or create the key below. 
Create a new DWORD value, or modify the existing value, called
"NoToolbarsOnTaskbar" and set it according to the value data below."


"Repair the Taskbar 
If your taskbar has disappeared from the desktop or becomes hidden
when you move your cursor near, it may be due to a corrupt registry

Close any open desktop and taskbar applications, then open your
registry and find the key below.
Delete the entire "StuckRects" key, or "StuckRects2" for Windows
2000/XP, and reboot.
When Windows restarts the taskbar should be set back to a default
working state."
WinGuides Network


"Remove the Option to Change or Hide Toolbars (All Windows) 
By default users are able to select which toolbars are displayed
either be right clicking the toolbar itself, or by changing the
options from the View menu. This tweak locks the toolbars, removing
the ability to change which are displayed.

Open your registry and find the key below. 
Create a new value named "NoBandCustomize" and set it to equal "1" to
enable the restriction."
WinGuides Network

Registry Guide for Windows
Remove the Toolbars on the Taskbar (Windows XP) 
WinGuides Network

Here is the result when "taskbar" is used on the WinGuides Search.
This brings up many options for using the registry to customize the
WinGuides Network

If you'd like to customize your toolbars, there is a key for this as

"These restrictions allow you to selectively control which toolbars
are available in Internet Explorer, including the Address, Tool and
Links bars.

Open your registry and find the key below. Create the key if it does
not already exist.
Create a new DWORD value based on the options below, and set the new
value to equal "1" to enable the restriction or "0" to disable the

NoToolbarOptions - Disable the ability to change toolbar selection. 
NoAddressBar - Disable the address bar. 
NoToolBar - Disable the tool bar. 
NoLinksBar - Disable the links bar. 
Restart Internet Explorer for the restrictions to take effect.

User Key: [HKEY_CURRENT_USER\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Internet
System Key: [HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\Software\Policies\Microsoft\Internet

Internet Explorer Toolbar Restrictions -- WinGuides Network

And finally, once you have achieved your desired options for the
taskbar and toolbars, this tweak will allow you to "set" those options
by disabling the customization of all toolbars:

"Disable the Ability to Customize Toolbars (All Windows) 
By right clicking on a toolbar you are usually given the option to
Customize, which allows you to change which functions are available
from the toolbar. This tweak allows you to disable that function."
WinGuides Network

I hope this information helps you set the preferences on your computer
to your liking. I know how frustrating Windows can be at times,
especially when settings seem to have a mind of their own.

Good luck!


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