Not to be confused with start menu.

A special menu/program group in every incarnation of Windows. Any program you put in this menu/group (before Windows 95 and the advent of the start menu programs were stored in program groups) run on startup- that is, when Windows loads.

Programs that you want to always have running go here. Currently in mine:

Before programs could run in tiny little 16x16 icons in the system tray (Windows 3.11 and on back), the startup menu was only used for things such as Clock or certain utilities. The startup menu came blank and no program would dare add itself. Now, however, any program that wants to will add a mini-version of itself, a launcher, to the startup menu and run minimized in the tray for no reason. Just waiting to be clicked so it can launch its father program. Programs that do this get deleted from my startup menu very quickly.

If something gets added, whether by accident or malice, to your startup menu that causes your computer to hang, it's a very bad thing. Supposedly you can skip the startup menu by holding down the shift key while windows loads, but that rarely works for me. A much better thing to do is to simply boot into safe mode and go from there.

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