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Start Menu Most Frequently Used programs (MFU) list is empty

Published: August 11, 2004
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Symptom

MFU list is the list of most frequently used programs that appears below the Pinned list on the Start menu. This list keeps track of how often programs are used and displays them in order of most used (top) to least used (bottom). This is a feature of XP's New Start Menu. Sometimes, this list may appear empty - none of the application entries may be added there. Here are the possible solutions to solve the problem.

Resolution

Right-click an empty area in the Start menu and select Properties. In the Start Menu tab, click Customize. Configuration options for the Programs list are on the General tab.

  • Make sure that the "Number of programs on Start" is not set to 0.
  • Try clearing the MFU list in the registry once, by pressing Clear List button.
  • Disable the two policies namely NoInstrumentation and NoStartMenuMFUprogramsList. See article Q292504 for more information - Policy Settings for the Start Menu in Windows XP

Microsoft Knowledgebase article Q292504 talks only about HKEY_CURRENT_USER. But, you also need to check the HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE hive.

Delete the NoStartMenuMFUprogramsList & NoInstrumentation values in the following keys:

HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE \ Software \ Microsoft \ Windows \ CurrentVersion \ Policies \ Explorer

HKEY_CURRENT_USER \ Software \ Microsoft \ Windows \ CurrentVersion \ Policies \ Explorer

Backup the registry before modifying. See here for more information.

Additional Note:  Personalized Favorites feature in Internet Explorer does not work if NoInstrumentation Policy is turned On.

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