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In Windows 7 on my work computer, I can go to

Taskbar and Start Menu properties > Start Menu > Customize...

and checkmark Use large icons to get bigger icons in my start menu. I can also change Number of recent programs to display to, say, 18 or so, which still fits comfortably on my screen.

But then at some point in the next few hours the settings revert back to the defaults, with small icons and fewer programs. This has been happening for a couple of days now, at least. (Perhaps longer, but this is just when I noticed it.)

Any ideas what would revert my settings this way? Could this be a Group Policy setting?

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How is your computer being shutdown? I know a lot of Windows settings don't save unless your computer is shutdown correctly, holding the power button or a loss of power will prevent Windows from getting a chance to save the settings. A common example of this is when you move icons around on your screen, shutdown incorrectly, and then log in. The icons will be placed back on the left side, auto organized. – Xander Lamkins Sep 20 '11 at 22:41
I shut down the normal, correct way, using the Start menu. Though most days I just lock the PC rather than shutting down. Anyway, this happens during the day when all I've done is lock the PC, not shut down. It's not clearly related to locking, because I experimented with that already. – Kyralessa Sep 20 '11 at 23:18
up vote 0 down vote accepted

It appears that this is due to overzealous group policy settings at the company where I work. This resetting of settings happens at logon and at certain points throughout the day.

For anyone else who's struggling against a draconian IT department, here's what I did to mitigate the damage:

I created a .reg file, fixStartMenu.reg, that contains:

Windows Registry Editor Version 5.00


This sets the large icons and recently-used programs. Then, I created a shortcut with this target:

C:\Windows\regedit.exe /S "C:\fixStartMenu.reg"

On Shortcut > Advanced, I set this to always run as Administrator (since it has to, to merge the changes into the registry).

Now when I have small icons in my Start menu, I just double-click this and say Yes to the UAC prompt, and my Start menu is fixed. Hardly an ideal solution, but at least it's better than fixing the settings by hand every time.

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