Automatically Expanding Programs Menu With Classic Start Menu In Windows XP Pro
The main step is to select the "Classic Start Menu" option. As usual, Microsoft has employed a technique to force you off of this style and otherwise make you life just a little harder. When you select "Classic Start Menu" option, the "All Programs" menu becomes the "Programs" menu. In addition, the "Programs" menu does not expand by default. (Some sub menus as well) The last icon on the menu is a double-upside-down-chevron button to expand the menu the whole way.
To work around this use the following technique to create an alternate Programs Menu.
1. You must have "Classic Start Menu Enabled"
2. Click on Start.
3. Move the pointer over "Programs"
5. Select Explore All Users
6. Copy a shortcut of the "Programs" folder to the "Start Menu" folder.
Done. The new shortcut to "Programs" will appear in the Start Menu. If you use this shortcut the menu will expand immediately. Rename the shortcut as you like.
The benefit of creating the shortcut as opposed to copying the whole folder of program shortcuts is that when you install another program you will not need to update the special programs folder.
Hope this helps.