Well, I think I get what you’re asking about. But even if I’m a little off, what I’m about to explain actually covers several things.
In fact, most people don’t realize that there’s a plethora of customization options related to the Start menu.
Become a Patron of Ask Leo! and go ad-free!
Right click on the Start button, and you’ll see a popup context menu, much like this:
Click on Properties and you should get this:
You can see I’ve clicked on the Start Menu tab, since that’s what we want to customize, but you can also see the Taskbar tab, for customizing that.
There are a couple of ways we can go here, and I’ll show you both. With Start Menu selected, click on the Customize for this dialog:
Again, you can see I’ve clicked on the Advanced tab. Here you’ll find several options you can customize to your heart’s content. What we want is further down the list of Start menu items, so scroll down in that list:
Look for Scroll Programs. The help for this item states “Specifies whether to display the items on the Programs menu as one long scrolling menu, or as horizontal pages. Depending on your screen resolution…” you may or may not see arrows at each end of the list that you would use to scroll that list.
That was all for the “newer”, Windows XP style start menu. OK or Cancel your way all the way back to the original Properties dialog that we started with. This time, click on Classic Start menu (which is more like Windows 2000 and Windows 9x), and then click Customize, for a slightly different Customize dialog:
Once again there are several things that can be customized here. And once again what we need is near the bottom of the Advanced Start menu options list:
You can see that Scroll Programs is present as before, but so is something labeled Use Personalized Menus. That’s documented as “.. keeps the Programs menu clean by hiding items you haven’t used recently…”.
This sounds closer to what the original request described, so I’m guessing that you have Classic Start Menu turned on.
In any case, the options here allow a fair amount of customization of the start menu. Have fun playing with it.