Windows 7 Left Pane Start Menu Empty or Blank
Starting from Windows XP, it features a new Start Menu where it allows you to access your recently opened programs and documents. However many XP users still stick to the old classic Start Menu where it is smaller and tidier. When it comes to Windows 7, the classic menu was totally removed but there are third party software that can replace the original Windows 7 start menu to the classic version.
The recently opened programs and items in Windows 7 Start Menu does provide a logical and convenient way for you to access your most frequently used software but it is definitely not good for people who wants privacy. You can easily disable storing and displaying recently opened programs and items in the Start Menu by right clicking at the Taskbar and select Properties. Then go to the Start Menu tab and uncheck the two boxes for Privacy.
You will notice that your Windows 7 start menu left pane instantly gets cleared out and becomes empty. Disabling both Privacy options will still leave the box empty and does not make the Start Menu smaller. What you can do with that area is to pin shortcuts or else it will remain empty or blank.