Apologies for the gap in transmission. Like some early OEM Vista installations, I have been working but maybe not as well as expectations. In fact, at one point, I screwed everything up so bad to the point where I was considering starting over. Messing with start menus should only be attempted when firing on all cylinders, as it is easy to lose some application icons completely.
OK, assuming that you are alert as you will ever be, you have to find the location of the start menus which form what you see when you click on the ORB. There are two locations, and I suggest that you create shortcuts on the desktop for both of them. You will have to UNHIDE system and hidden files before you start this.
First location and the main one.. c::/ > Program Data > Microsoft > Windows > Start menu – create a desktop icon and label this one START MENU
Second location.. c:/ > Users > (name) > AppData > Roaming > Microsoft > Windows > Start menu – create a desktop icon and label this one START MENU 1
Right click on the ORB and select PROPERTIES. In the Privacy section, check both boxes. If you don’t, you will end up with a nasty unused white space in the Start Menu. Click on the CUSTOMIZE button and decide what you want to see listed on the right side of the Start Menu. Also, set the Start Menu size to ‘20’ items shown (both boxes).
Now click on the TASKBAR tab and check USE SMALL ICONS. While in this part, if like me you use a double height taskbar, you may as well customize the NOTIFICATION AREA and set all icons to show 24/7.
You will need to enable Quick Launch.. comprehensive instructions can be found here..
It is also a good idea to create a USER PINNED toolbar too..
Sorting it all out – Five easy steps..
- Make a list of program genres based upon what is installed on the computer. Obvious groups are Graphics, Office, Multimedia, Peripherals and General
- Click on your desktop START MENU icon. This is the main feed for the Start Menu as you see it after clicking on the ORB.
- Create the new folders, and then drag program icons and folders to the appropriate new folder.
- Then create a folder inside each of the new ones and call it something like ‘Info’.
- Drag the program folders into the Info folder, and by the time you have finished, you should have a neat collection of usable folders which just show program icons and a folder called ‘Info’.
The second Start Menu contains one or two program icons which you will want to incorporate into your tidied up ‘All Programs’.
Once completed, copy the new Start Menu to a safe place. In the event of future problems, a re-install for instance, it can be copied back which will save a lot of work. It will also help to remind you of what was installed before the crash. Anything that you install in the future can be easily transferred by opening the Start menu from the desktop icon, and dragging the new stuff from ‘All Programs’ straight into the appropriate group.
Please note that the above will not create a classic view, but it will leave you with a much neater and more usable look. I did promise to do a piece on this which included diagrams, but I am really not up to doing it presently. However, I will endeavour to produce a more graphical piece in the future.
Lastly, Quick Launch has always been useful, and is especially so for small things like Character Map, Calculator and stuff like scanner and other peripheral hardware control programs.