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Windows 7: Prevent programs from putting links in start menu

20 Jun 2014   #1
gorthon

Win 7 32bit
 
 
Prevent programs from putting links in start menu

Since Windows 95 I have a nicely arranged start menu where I keep my stuff in order: I created a few folders like "office", "games", "tools" and moved all the start menu entries into the appropriate folder. I think it's much easier this way to find a program you need, compared to an overcrowded start menu where all links are on the same level.

This worked well for more than 15 years. However, recently applications like Evernote, Google Music/Chrome/Drive, Wunderlist and others have come up, that include an auto-update functionality which always restores their links in the start menu - on the root level! They don't realize that the links are already in the start menu (in a subfolder), and re-create them on the root level. So I have to keep up and delete them all the time, which is very annoying.

Does anyone have the same problem and/or know about a solution?


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20 Jun 2014   #2
carwiz

Windows 7 Pro-x64
 
 

Uncheck the box for "place in startup menu" or similar when you install the software. There's usually several boxes for options during the install. If the options don't show up, select "Custom Install" if it's available. It's very important to read the screens presented by software installs. Don't just click on Next. Many may include crapware as a default.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
20 Jun 2014   #3
Alejandro85

Windows 7 Ultimate x64
 
 

Agreed with carwiz, read everything and see if there is an option to not to install shortcuts. Unfortunately, many installs don't even provide that option, and just place their crapware anywhere they want.

As a first measure, if any of your program have an auto-update feature, disable it right away, as it will only contribute to your undesired links everywhere. Update on your own, when YOU want or need it, and be prepared to remove the links after that. Installs aren't aware or don't care at all if you rearrange the menu as you like, as they're often hardcoded to place them in a fixed location and only look there.

The vastly superior alternative is to use "portable" versions of everything. Since there is no installation procedure, there is no chance of them messing your system.
Installing in a disposable VM and copying the files over afterwards is another option.
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20 Jun 2014   #4
Layback Bear

Windows 7 Pro. 64/SP-1
 
 

You can also right tick on Start Orb and select Properties.
In the next display select Start Menu and you will find some choices. I have booth un-checked.
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21 Jun 2014   #5
gorthon

Win 7 32bit
 
 

Thanks for all the valuable hints, guys. I am an expert, so I do uncheck unwanted spyware on installation, but I usually leave the option on for creating start menu entries, as I like to have them (initially, in order to move them to my desired subfolder of the start menu). The idea that this could cause the applications to re-create them on auto-update did not come to my mind. So I will watch out for this in the future, even though it means I will have to create the start menu links manually on installation (which is still better than having to delete them on each update). However, many programs do indeed not offer this option: I just tried Google Chrome: no options at all during install.

Disabling the auto-update feature does help for some programs but not all. A web browser, for example, is something where you want to have it enabled, for security reasons.

A portable version is also a good idea, if one exists and if you don't need the kind of system integration a portable app can't provide. Is it possible to configure portable Chrome as default web browser of the system?

The VM is something that in the long run will definitely cause more work than deleting the start menu entries on every update.

I came up with one more solution: Writing a little script that runs on every boot and deletes all entries from the start menu root level except the folders I want.

@Layback Bear: I'm not sure what you mean with "Start Orb". I use Classic Start Menu, and I don't see such an option.

Thanks to everyone for your help! If I ever write the script I will post it here.
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21 Jun 2014   #6
Layback Bear

Windows 7 Pro. 64/SP-1
 
 



Far left on Taskbar. Their can be many. Some people like to change the picture.
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07 Aug 2014   #7
gorthon

Win 7 32bit
 
 

So I finally found some time to develop a solution for this. I wrote this little script and made it execute at each boot:

Code:
ATTRIB +H "C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Comm"
ATTRIB +H "C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Games"
ATTRIB +H "C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Grafix_Pics"
ATTRIB +H "C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Multimedia"
ATTRIB +H "C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Office"
ATTRIB +H "C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Programming"
ATTRIB +H "C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Sound"
ATTRIB +H "C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup"
ATTRIB +H "C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Util"
ATTRIB +H "C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Video"
FOR /D %%i IN ("C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\*") DO RD /S /Q "%%i" & DEL /Q "C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\*.*"
ATTRIB -H "C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Comm"
ATTRIB -H "C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Games"
ATTRIB -H "C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Grafix_Pics"
ATTRIB -H "C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Multimedia"
ATTRIB -H "C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Office"
ATTRIB -H "C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Programming"
ATTRIB -H "C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Sound"
ATTRIB -H "C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Startup"
ATTRIB -H "C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Util"
ATTRIB -H "C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs\Video"
Put this in a file named whatever.bat and make it execute at each boot (e.g. by copying it into the startup folder). It will delete all files and folders except those mentioned in there. I purposely left my folder names in the code, so you can see how my start menu is organized and what I use this for.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Prevent programs from putting links in start menu




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