Win7: Show "All Programs" in Start Menu when Most Recently Used List is Empty

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For alot of people, the start menu will display a list of recently used programs. Its a pretty handy feature to have, but its not for all of us.
image The default start menu, filled with recently used applications.
However you may have disabled application usage tracking for some reason such as privacy or to squeeze just a bit more performance out of your machine.
The configuration dialog for recently used applications.
Right click the taskbar and select "Properties" to display the "Taskbar and Start Menu Properties" dialog, and disable application tracking by unticking "Store and display recently opened programs in the Start Menu"
Note: This will also remove recently used files from your jumplists.
Now there is a horrible side effect to this option, theres nothing in the start menu when you first show it.
image Annoyingly, your start menu will now display an empty list.


You've probably noticed it already, which is why you're here.
I've written a small program that displays all your Start Menu items automatically. Nothing spectacular, it just removes a small annoyance.
The program is called Spasm (Show Programs Automatically in Start Menu). I'll upload the app once its been polished a bit and I find an icon for it.



  • Simply run the file for it to take effect.
  • Close Spasm to stop it.
  • Run with the argument "--no-icon" to disable the tray icon.

    WTF Why Bother?

    Some people may be wondering this and by all means its a good question! I've seen the issue being asked a few times on the forums so I suppose that's where I got the idea from.
    The empty menu does annoy me a small bit, but I normally type in what I'm after anyway.
    I guess it was also out of nerdy curiosity, a self set challenge to see if I could or not without any help. And I did :)
    So far:
    • It probably won't work in any language other than English.
    • Checks the recently used list to see if its empty before displaying the full Start Menu items.
    • Doesn't do much of anything else.


    v1.41 (05/06/2011)
    • Added argument "--no-icon" support to hide the tray icon.
    v1.4 (14/03/2011)
    • Added a timer to detect refreshed shell.
    • Added icon to "already running" message.
    v1.3 (06/02/2011)
    • Rewrote how system information is shared between EXE and DLL files.
    • Now detects if Spasm is already running.
    • Only unload hooks if the DLL is being unloaded from Explorer.
    • Hopefully prevented the issue with Spasm losing grip on Explorer's handle.
    • Adds icon back to taskbar when Explorer crashes.
    • Now works if used on startup!
    v1.2 (16/05/2010)
    • Fixed x86 version so it works (Thanks Andrey and Patrick Timms for the heads up)
    • Added double click to show about
    v1.1 (09/05/2010)
    • Now works with any language.
    • Fixed x86 DLL function name mangling.
    • Added build version to executable.
    v1.0 (07/03/2010)
    • Initial release.

    Other Small Tweaks

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