I think that I am beginning to understand one of the reasons why the Windows 7 Start Menu/Taskbar defaults to the way it is.
Touch screen usability
The oversized, widely spaced icons on the taskbar and in the Start box all point to ease of use on a touch screen. OK, fair enough, but how many computer users have touch screens? Are you considering the purchase of a touch screen anytime soon? Maybe if you are buying a a high end laptop where touch screen is part of the spec, but what of the desktop users? Many still use and prefer large CRT monitors which give excellent clarity and are pretty much ‘small grandchild proof’. Are these people likely to rush out and buy touch screens for $$$$$?
In time, all manufacturers will supply only touch screens with new computer systems, and all monitor manufacturers will only produce touch screens, but that is NOT the case presently. When I first heard about ‘touch’ being part of Windows 7, I thought that it was a good idea, but I would have preferred to see it as a free optional add-on complete with a ‘touch’ desktop shell rather than be presented with a desktop which is geared for touch by default.
Re. the Classic Menu
Reading through the various replies to criticism of the lack of a Classic menu in Windows 7, I think that some are missing the point entirely. The Classic Start Menu in XP and Vista was not about reverting back to the old look of Windows 2000, because that was called CLASSIC VIEW.
Just to make it clear, if one right clicked on START and then selected CLASSIC MENU, the two column Start box disappeared, and the items which would have been on the right side of the box would now appear as desktop icons. Items which were on the left appeared as a single column. From an operational standpoint, just making the change from XP/Vista menu to the classic look did not make any difference. It just changed the look of the Start Menu, not the look of the taskbar or window borders.
I agree entirely that the Programs/All Programs format is unwieldy and cluttered, especially if the computer user adds lots of programs, but the great thing about the Classic Menu was that it could be tidied up to provide a single column of program ‘genre’ folders with a second column just showing the program icons appropriate to each genre. Accessing a program in this way was a two click process which did not involve huge amounts of program folders opening out and filling the entire desktop.
As it stands now, clicking on ALL Programs still produces a listing, but it is squashed into a small box and most of it will not be in view unless you scroll down. If you want to see more than the default view, you have to go into the Start Menu ‘customize’ function, and increase the amount of items on view and set the icons to a small size. Hardly conducive to touch screen use, eh.
I don’t ever remember the Quicklaunch toolbar being enabled by default., but single click access to programs of the users choice was really useful when running programs in full screen. Even with the advent of larger monitors, I still see most computer users running stuff full screen, and Quicklaunch still has value. I find it ironic that, at a time when many are now using widescreen LCD monitors, Quicklaunch still isn’t a default and has actually been buried deep enough that many will never find it.