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The default All Programs section of the Windows 7 Start Menu is overly cluttered. When I right-click an item and select Delete I am prompted for the Admin password! Is something misconfigured, or does one really need the Admin password to remove, for instance, Windows Live Messenger from the All Programs submenu? It appears that removing an item from this menu removes it from the Start menu of all users. Can a user not have his own custom Start Menu in Windows 7? This is a home computer (laptop), not a server or corporate machine.

Thanks.

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Your Start Menu is made up of two copies: one under %Userprofile% and one under %AllUsersProfile%. When you tried to delete the shortcut to Windows Live, the shortcut was under %AllUsersProfile%, which requires Admin privileges to modify, and thus that is why you got the prompt to see the password.

While you can add and modify the Startmenu per user, each user does not have their own private copy, nor is there a copy on write mechanism.

Microsoft has been moving away from this functionality as fewer and fewer users use the Start menu for application management. Note the prominent role the Taskbar plays and the new Start screen for Win8.

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I see, thanks. This must be part of the make-it-unusable-then-remove-it-as-unused conspiracy in Redmond :), much like the new Control Panel which has impossible organisation (horizontal, wtf) and is also now being removed. Thank you for the detailed answer! –  dotancohen Jan 25 '12 at 9:39
    
Truthfully, it's always been like this. –  surfasb Jan 25 '12 at 20:54
    
Really? The last time that I used Windows was in 2004 or 2005, at the time I was using XP as a user account (not Admin) and I do not remember having to raise privileges to alter the Start menu. That would have stood out I think! –  dotancohen Jan 28 '12 at 20:47

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