2000, Me, XP: Kill Off Personalized Menus

Perhaps the most disastrous attempt to simplify Windows' user interface was Microsoft's introduction of "personalized menus" in Windows 2000 and later. In this scheme, many of the commands that used to appear on menus were hidden until you clicked a widget to return the menu to its full state. Microsoft forgot that most of us remember where commands are by their position on the menu and how we move the pointer to get there. The company removed the feature from the two-column Start menu in Windows XP, but it's still there if you use the 'Classic Start menu'.

Thankfully, you can turn it off. In Windows XP, right-click the Start button and choose Properties. Click the Customize button next to 'Classic Start menu'. In the scrolling list of options at the bottom of the dialog box, uncheck Use Personalized Menus and then click OK twice. In Windows 2000 and Me, right-click the taskbar and choose Properties. Make sure the General tab is in front. Uncheck Use Personalized Menus at the bottom of the dialog box and click OK (see FIGURE 1).

In most Microsoft Office applications that have this feature, right-click an empty part of the menu bar at the top of the window and choose Customize. Click the Options tab if necessary. In Office 2000, uncheck Menus show recently used commands first. In Office XP, check Always show full menus. Then click Close.

FIGURE 1: Make Windows show the whole menu every time by turning off bothersome "personalized" menus.