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  1. #1
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    The Windows Start menu super guide — Part I




    TOP STORY

    The Windows Start menu super guide — Part I


    By Woody Leonhard

    Since the debut of Windows 95, the Start menu has offered an easily navigated and extensible haven for all the programs we don't use every day.
    In Part 1 of a series of stories on getting the most out of Window's Start menu, we start with the basics: pinning applications, folders, and files.

    The full text of this column is posted at WindowsSecrets.com/top-story/the-windows-start-menu-super-guide-part-I/ (opens in a new window/tab).

    Columnists typically cannot reply to comments here, but do incorporate the best tips into future columns.

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    Another item you can drag to the Start Menu is an item from the Control Panel list you get from clicking on it in the right pane. Handy for such items as as 'Backup and Restore'.

    And once you have what you truly need showing in the Task Bar, often need showing in the Start Menu, and rarely need available in Start Menu > All Programs, you can turn off the display of icons on your desktop for a nice clean-looking screen.

    Then slide the Taskbar over to the right-hand side of the screen to get more vertical space - far more valuable than horizontal space on today's wide screens - and you have something truly better than Windows XP!

    Thanks for the article.

    John Inkle

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    BruceR (2012-02-24)

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    Woody mentions the difficulty putting Folders in the Taskbar. Here is my XP3 Taskbar on my work computer.

    0001.jpg

    My Win 7 home computer Taskbar looks very much the same as I put the Quick Launch back in-service.
    The two large spaces on the lower part of the Taskbar are necessary because at work my laptop is connected to a 4:3 LCD screen.

    I put the Download folder in the Taskbar so I have both a reminder as well as instant access to the things I D/L while online. I just right-click on the Taskbar, select Toolbars, then New Toolbar..., then browse to my D/L Folder. A little Drag&Drop to sort out the newly modified Taskbar is then required to avoid hiding what you want to see. Easy!

    Len

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    What I hate most about XP is that it’s impossible to arrange Start/All programs in alphabetical order, thus wasting time searching for the required item.

    Now it appears MS have cocked up again with Win7.

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    Quote Originally Posted by georgelee View Post
    What I hate most about XP is that it’s impossible to arrange Start/All programs in alphabetical order, thus wasting time searching for the required item.
    Do you mean have them automatically remain that way when new items are added like Win7?

    You can right click any part of All Programs in XP and then Sort by name to put them in alphabetical order.


    Quote Originally Posted by georgelee View Post
    Now it appears MS have cocked up again with Win7.
    Windows 7 will maintain alphabetical order if Start Menu Properties option "Sort All Programs menu by name" is left checked.


    Bruce

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    georgelee (2012-02-24)

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    I rarely see what I think is one of the best tips for the ‘Start’ menu, and it’s worked since Window 95. Although this tip will work in the new views it works best in ‘classic view’.
    When you add an item to the start menu, rename it starting with a single, unique, letter or number. Now when you want to run something that you’ve added to the start menu just touch the ‘Window’ key then the number, or letter, for the thing you want to run.
    This is an example of what my menu looks like…
    Attached Images Attached Images
    Last edited by edav4172; 2012-02-24 at 12:15. Reason: Clarify tip

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    Thumbs up Launchy - the Start menu killer

    A good article, for those who are still using the start menu ;-).

    Since I discovered http://www.launchy.net/ I've had very little use for the start menu. I'm not sure if you've already covered Launchy in one of your articles. If not, it may be worth considering.

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    Quote Originally Posted by BruceR View Post
    You can right click any part of All Programs in XP and then Sort by name to put them in alphabetical order. Bruce
    Bruce, many thanks for that. It must be an update from MS, as I admit that I stopped trying to sort it when the PC was fairly new - 2003 or 2004.

    For some strange reason Apple Software Update, Digiguide Tv, FF, MSN, Nitro Reader and Secunia PSI all appear in the middle of the Ws. But it is now so much easier to use, and I am very grateful. It shows that one should not give up trying to achieve something - it may eventually work out.

    George

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    Correction required

    "Left column: This section holds items (programs, folders, and files) that you use frequently. Those above the faint line are items pinned there by the user; those below the line are recently invoked programs — at least those programs started via the Start menu — and automatically added by Windows."

    The section "... those below the line are recently invoked programs — at least those programs started via the Start menu — and automatically added by Windows..." is incorrect. Newly installed programs can also put a program start shortcut in that location.

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    Another way to provide ready access to templates is to pin your most regularly used ones to Word and Excel icons in the Quick Launch bar.
    Last edited by acbeaton; 2012-02-25 at 03:28. Reason: Correction.

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    Woody says: (There is, unfortunately, not a simple way to pin a folder to the taskbar.)


    In Windows 7 there is a slightly less simple way to pin folders to the taskbar. You can pin the Explorer to the taskbar, and then pin a folder to the explorer. If the folder appears in the list of recently used folders, just use the pin. Otherwise, go to the folder, and drag it to the icon on the taskbar.

    I do not know whether this works in earlier versions.

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    I didn't know that a file could be added to the Start menu by hovering over the orb. When I was fooling around with it, I discovered that any shortcut can be pinned, it doesn't have to be in the c:\users\your name\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch\User Pinned\TaskBar folder, which I didn't know was there. I have a collection of shortcuts in C:\Util\Shortcuts which for me is much easier to find. Though I guess you could create a shortcut to it

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    I have one question about the Start Menu. How can you make all Favorites entries open in a maximized window?

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    Quote Originally Posted by Freebooter369 View Post
    I have one question about the Start Menu. How can you make all Favorites entries open in a maximized window?
    Right-click, Open.

    Bruce

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    Thanks, Bruce. I should have mentioned I am using Win XP sp3 but I was hoping this was a problem for all versions of Windows. Your solution does not work for me. I still get a Normal Window instead of a maximized window. I realize it is only one more click to maximize, I just hoped there was a way to set all Favorites links to open maximized.

    fb

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