Progress is wonderful, but sometimes change is not. That's when you just want things to go back to the way they used to be. Well, I've found one way to do exactly that. It fixes an irritating change that Microsoft made to the Start menu and the Favorites menu in Internet Explorer 4.0 and later.
The Start button - in Windows NT 4.0, Windows 98, and Windows 95 with IE 4.0 - seems to lose the capability to alphabetise new entries you place within its menus and submenus. This happens to the Favorites menu, too.
When this occurs, new entries are added to the end of the menu instead of alphabetically. Even if a new entry begins with the letter A, it will show up at the bottom of the list.
In this situation, of course, you can use your mouse to manually drag the new entry into alphabetical order (or any position you like).
But many people have asked how they can restore the Start and Favorites menus to their original behaviour - that is, automatically alphabetising all new entries.
It turns out that the Registry is storing a menu order for each menu and tacking new items on to the end. When you simply delete the Registry's record of this order, these menus automatically sort themselves alphabetically again. If you would like to see this at work, do the following.
1) Click Start, Run. Type regedit and click OK to start the Registry Editor.
2) In the Registry Editor, click the plus signs to the left of each key until you get to the following location: HKEY_CURRENT_USER/ Software/Microsoft/Windows/CurrentVersion/Explorer/MenuOrder.
3) The MenuOrder folder has two subfolders within it: Favorites and Start Menu. Expand one of these folders, then select the Menu folder beneath it.
4) With the Menu folder selected, you should see in the right pane a value called Order. This value contains binary data, which in hexadecimal form looks like 08 00 00 (and so on), if the Registry is appending your new entries.
5) Right-clicking the Order icon, then deleting it, eliminates the stored order for the Favorites or the Start Menu shortcuts. Close the Registry Editor.
After you restart Windows, the Start and Favorites menus are re-created by Windows - but all entries are automatically sorted alphabetically.
If you do something wrong, you can restore a backup of the Registry. In Win98, boot to a DOS prompt, then type scanreg/restore and choose one of the last five automatic backups.