make start menu more like xp

Keyboard shortcuts are very important to my computer use, which brings up a small but annoying problem I've been having in Windows 7.

In XP I was able to place a shortcut to a program or even to a particular file on my Start Menu. If I then renamed the shortcut on the start menu with a unique initial character, I could start a program or access a particular file simply by hitting the Start key and then an initial. For example, for my most common Microsoft Word file, I need only hit Start and then the letter x, and up pops my most commonly used file.

In Windows 7 when I try this I am delayed while Windows performs some sort of search for items starting with an x. In a moment or two, it discovers there is only one such item, and it offers me this item in a list and I must hit enter to get the item to come up.

The negative effect of this is still more pronounced when I start a new session and I know how want to open say three separate files/applications. In XP I can do this very quickly if the names I gave the shortcuts are unique. (And even if I have multiple items, say starting with the letter m, the Start men lets me essentially choose which m item I want by repeatedly hitting m. Very quickly, I learn that such and such file is: Start>mm>enter.)

So my question is: is there a way to tell the Window 7 Start Menu to behave like the XP Start Menu, at least in this regard?


Excellent Member
Microsoft Community Contributor
Since I can't really duplicate your need, I could suggest the following:

If you are trying to open files in something like Excel, you know about the flyout menu that will contain recently opened files..

If you right click a utility in the Taskbar, it will open a window with recently used items.

And a Winkey +1 (or 2-?) will open a utility on the Taskbar directly.

And you can set key combinations to start shortcuts.

Last edited:
Sounds potentially interesting, though I generally disable "recently opened files" as a privacy issue. But I'm afraid I am not able to follow these instructions. Can someone clarify, perhaps with more specific steps?

Or, what I'm really looking for is a way to tell Win7 that when I put a shortcut link on the start menu with a unique first character say x, or 3, when I hit Windows Key and then x or 3 that item opens. Can Win7 be told to do this?


Essential Member
Microsoft Community Contributor

I'm not sure whether this will affect what you are trying to do but I've used.....

Classic Shell

Classic Shell | Download Classic Shell software for free at

..ever since I started using Windows 7.
I think it makes the start menu and Windows Explorer work a lot better.

You could give it a try, it changes the way the menus work, maybe it will help.

Another way to quickly access common files is to use...


RocketDock - Free software downloads and software reviews - CNET
I have files (like the one I,m getting these links from) on mine, one click and the file is open.
I also have all my everyday programs on it.


This website is not affiliated, owned, or endorsed by Microsoft Corporation. It is a member of the Microsoft Partner Program.