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Windows XP: After moving the Task Bar to the righ-hand edge of the screen, everything looks good except the Start button:

  • It is not centered.
  • It is big.
  • The left hand curve of the button is cut off.
  • 95 of 100 clicks are to invoke "run cmd" from force of habit.
  • 4 of 100 clicks are to invoke "logout."

It's really not earning its keep.

Is there a way to either make it less ugly (smaller, centered) or vanish altogether?

Non-Microsoft solutions are forbidden by policy.

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up vote 1 down vote accepted

Disable the desktop eyecandy. right-click My Computer > Properties > Advanced > Performance settings > on the Visual Effects tab, either select "Adjust for best performance" (clears all checkboxes) or select "Custom" and uncheck "Use visual styles on windows and buttons". You won't get the bubblegum Window-dressings or the shiny round Start button, but it may be more "smaller, centered".

You could also try finding other themes, but it sounds like your non-MS policy will prohibit most of your options there.

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I have my task bar on the right edge and it looks fine to me, but I am using the Microsoft Zune theme.

You can try downloading the Zune theme (it's a Microsoft product) to see if that is more pleasing. It's quick and painless.

Download Zune Desktop Theme 1.0 - Worldwide

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Using Zune theme, the Start button is curved in the right and flat on the left. I wonder if there is a problem with the display driver. – Thomas L Holaday Jul 27 '10 at 19:54

You could try changing the theme to Windows Classic or something. Sorry, I have better solutions, but they're all Non-Microsoft solutions

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It's worth a shot. I wonder if I can replace the Start button bitmap with a picture of a dog or something. – Thomas L Holaday Oct 2 '09 at 16:40
Well, if you would like to hear the Non-Microsoft solutions, You can always change the theme using WindowBlinds by StarDock, although I think it costs money. Or, you can do what I did - use a program called StartKiller that removes the Star button. But don't worry, you can still access it from the keyboard Window button – Adnan Oct 2 '09 at 16:44

Similar to @~quack's answer you could try stopping the Windows Theme service by going to Control Panel -> Administrative Tools -> Services, find Themes in the list Stop it and then go into its properties and set it to Manual start (or Disabled).

This will switch you back to the original Windows 2000 style theme (including a Start button that is a real button rather than a picture), but still keep the XP's Start menu (albeit in grey). All the advantages of switching to the Classic theme and you're not running a background service that you don't need.

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You can disable it, but it is quite tricky. Please note that I haven't tested these solutions, so try them at your own risk.

This forum post talks about using a VBScript with a switch to hide the start button.

The same post points to this tool from, which is a pretty reputable Windows knowledge site - I would hazard a guess and say this is safe.

Edit: While the tool is probably not permissable by your policy the VB script should be fine.

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