This is my Windows 7 Start Menu..

Published on: Author: Mike Hall 13 Comments

.. but the list of programs shown is not definitive yet. Some of the entries exist because I am trying them out on behalf of some of my local clients. So far, there are twenty eight icons showing and the icon size is set to ‘small’. They have to be small otherwise I could only have ten program icons showing. The menu presently extends to maybe seventy five percent of the total screen height


Menu Win 7


Note that the programs are not in alphabetical order because the Start Menu does not allow for it.


Apart from that, it looks ok, yes? The only problem is that I have maybe one hundred programs/utilities which I regularly access.


Vista and XP allowed me to use what has become known as the Classic menu. essentially mimicking the appearance of the Windows 2000 start menu. I had twelve application groups showing above ‘Programs’ which included Communications, Games, Graphics, Multimedia, Office, Net Security, Office, System etc. Within these groups, I had program icons relating to genre.


Anybody who has ever used the Classic Menu will know that all one has to do is click on Start (XP) or the Orb (Vista) and then hover the mouse over whatever group, and then select a program from the neatly organised, alphabetically sorted flip out menu.


I also had Quick Launch showing, and there were items like IE, Control Panel, SIW, Messenger clients etc in there, just one click away. Everything was set up for ease of access, mindlessly simple.


One option to what I did as explained above was to accept the default list of ‘most recently used programs’ list which would show where my chosen apps are in the pic above, and then fumble through a mass of folders under ‘All Programs’.. Yikes. I visited some clients whose ‘All Programs’ list covered the entire screen. Most of them were pleased to find out that there was a better way to sort the list.


Windows 7 has ‘improved’ on my way of sorting the mass of programs by taking away the Classic menu and blocking all attempts to mimic it even, leaving me with the option as explained in the paragraph above, OR the ability to type the name of what I want in the ‘Search programs and files’ box which sits to the left of the Shutdown button on the Start Menu.


Apparently, it is easier to click the mouse cursor into the ‘search’ box, let go of the mouse, type in the name, scroll down to what you want, and then press the ENTER KEY. Part of this can still be done with the mouse, but it is a three part process.


Another Windows 7 option is to pin the program icons to the ‘Superbar’ which, unless checked to auto hide, is going to be ‘in yer face’ for the entire session!!


Quick Launch is still available but is hidden. I have written a piece on how to find it a couple of posts back. What I didn’t mention is that once found and enabled, you risk causing problems with the new ‘Superbar’. The originator of the warning was not specific about what problems, and it could be that the ‘problems’ warning is akin to a child’s fear of monsters under the bed.


Also, it sets up with a label attached to it which reads ‘”User Pinned”. This is in case you forget, but the label can be removed if your memory is up to it.. :-)


Now, bearing in mind that the default start menu (and features thereof) for Vista, XP and win 7 is as it looks in the picture above..


.. why does the Microsoft design team (and some users) find it so offensive to include the option of the older classic menu if the end user so wishes?


It is not as if the inclusion of the option forces any end user into the classic menu, rather than make the change to the new ways.

13 Responses to This is my Windows 7 Start Menu.. Comments (RSS) Comments (RSS)

  1. I agree–I wish this option were left in Windows 7. I know I’ve read many posts telling “old timers” to “get with the times” and not make Microsoft “maintain old code/features”, but I think the two start methodolgies would/could serve different functionalities for me. The “Classic” style is like going to a bookstore–I may be looking for a specific book that I know the author/title of, I may be looking for a book I may know the author of, or the category (sci-fi, business, whatever) but don’t know the full title of, or I may just be browsing to see what catches my eye. The “Windows 7″ style is more like shopping for books on Amazon–harder to “browse”, but powerful if the search terms are well indexed.

    An example–I have my development tools all in a “folder” in my classic start menu (I also have this set up as a toolbar in the taskbar). I just looked in the Windows SDK entry and discovered under it that it included a WinDIFF program I didn’t even know I had (I installed the SDK package, not the individual applications). Or maybe one of my weather applications I don’t use that often–is it under “Digital Atmosphere” or is it under “DA”? I haven’t used Windows 7′s start search thingy, only seen it used, so maybe it has ways around it, but I don’t see how it can give me what I want to have. (An example from the Apple world: Apple introduced “CoverFlow” to iPods for folks who look for their music by flipping through their albums/discs/etc)

    Maybe it matters whether you’re more visual or more verbal?

  2. This is about the best solution I have found for organizing the start menu with folders and sub-folders; wish I could take credit…
    ___________________________________________________

    Windows 7 Forums
    looniam
    Junior Member
    Join Date: Jan 2009
    window 7 build 7048 x64
    15 posts

    i like to have a hierarchy of menus and sub menus myself. i don’t know if something like this might help:

    make a folder on your desktop and call it utilities. drag it to your start menu, it will open and hover over programs until that opens and drop it in. now drag all your utilities menus and apps and drop them in. they will be alphabetized, if you want them in a different order then number then menus 1 thru 9 along with the name and they will go where you want them.

    i like to have high level menus like internet
    , hardware, audio, video, graphics, along with utilities. keeps the programs menu less cluttered.

    i liked the hover effect myself but now i have to click, but in the name of progress, right?

    hope that helps.

  3. This is just like the blasted ribbon in Office 2007. They had to go and get rid of the classic look and feel of Office because some focus group told some vice-president at MS that they should use this silly ribbon.

    Come on MS…give us an opt out..we’ll switch on the pretty features when we are ready

  4. It’s fine IF changes are well-documented or easy to figure out.

    Clicking on user\….\start menu brought up the message
    access denied. Not at ALL helpful!

    Fortunately by searching on Google I have found that you can either right click on ‘all programs’ or go to program data\microsoft\windows\start menu\programs,
    but NEITHER is intuitive, and the new location a RIGHT PAIN until found!!!!

    Some features such as sort by name ie alphabetically are a real belssing in XP and Vista with hundreds of programs and games. So Microsoft, IF IT AIN’T BROKEN WHY CHANGE IT!!!!!!!!

  5. I absolutely HATE that I can not organize my list! HATE HATE HATE it. I should be able to contain my programs the way *I* want to in the list, not the way *they* think it should be. I hated Vista and I have to say I hate W7 even more. It seems like they are “dummifying” down windows each year for those that do not how to use a computer. In W7 it seems like turn-off options are hard to find, they exist only on the “last page” of a setup stage. Thats fine for those that need to be babied but for people like me? Its horrible. If I say run something or delete something or move something, just do it with one click at my command, dont ask me “are you sure” in three different ways before exicuting! ARG!!!!!

    Frustrated in CT

  6. I absolutely HATE that I can not organize my list! HATE HATE HATE it. I should be able to contain my programs the way *I* want to in the list, not the way *they* think it should be. I hated Vista and I have to say I hate W7 even more. It seems like they are “dummifying” down windows each year for those that do not how to use a computer. In W7 it seems like turn-off options are hard to find, they exist only on the “last page” of a setup stage. Thats fine for those that need to be babied but for people like me? Its horrible. If I say run something or delete something or move something, just do it with one click at my command, dont ask me “are you sure” in three different ways before exicuting! ARG!!!!!

    Frustrated in CT

  7. Windows 7 Start Menu was a very poorly thought through experiment. There is a reason why so many users still wanted the ability to organize their own short cuts: so that we know where the short cuts are every time!! In Windows 7 using the recently sorted method, you just never know where the icons are because they shift around.

    In the development and engineering community, the ability to organize commonly used “tool suite” in a group or program folder is crucial. One tool suite can have 10 different tools and they have the be grouped within their own folder. Windows 7 makes it extremely painful to find these tools.

    From an developer’s perspective, Windows 7 GUI is a huge step backwards for people who needs to use a “computer” to do anything other than browsing the web. It is time for the engineering community to take a serious look at moving away from the Windows platform.

  8. hold up. am i missing something? nothing has really changed. if you click the programs button you get a full list of all the apps on your pc in their folders just like xp. the only difference is that instead of opening up and taking up valuable screenspace (where you might have some window open with material that you are referring to) everything is nicely organised within the start menu… whats lost?

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