Windows optimize

The great and powerful Windows Start menu is no longer relevant

With Microsoft Windows 8, the Start menu is not going to be a primary part of the GUI anymore, and Greg Shultz believes that is a good thing.

Like many of you, I read the recent Building Windows 8 blog posts: "Evolving the Start Menu" and "Designing the Start Screen" and found myself surprised, confused, and angry. Why would Microsoft even think about taking the Start menu away? I screamed in defiance! I felt defensive. I felt protective. I vowed to fight to the death to protect my way of computing! No one was going to take the Start menu away from me.

Then, as I pondered my next expletive, it hit me. Maybe the Start menu has reached the end of its usefulness. The more that I thought about what I had read in those two posts, the more sense it made to me. I could see a lot of parallels between Microsoft's description of the way that most people currently use the Start menu and the way that I work in Windows 7. Maybe it is time to evolve to the next phase in application management. Maybe the Start screen is the direction to go.

Pondering the past

As I began pondering Microsoft's revelations further, I thought back to the day that I first saw the Start menu after installing an early beta release of Windows 95. (Believe it or not, it came on 20 some floppy disks.) I remember thinking that while the Start menu looked interesting, it would never fly. People liked having their icons displayed on the screen within the confines of Program Manager's group windows. There's no way that people would adapt to and begin to use this new-fangled menu contraption.

However, by the time that the Beta program was done and "Start Me Up" by the Rolling Stones became the anthem of Microsoft's Windows 95 marketing campaign, I was hooked! To me, the Start menu was far superior to the Program Manager's group windows, and I literally hated having to go back and work on Windows 3.x and Windows NT 3.x systems.

Unfortunately, my sentiment for the Start menu wasn't shared by many of my colleagues or many of the users who I supported. Everywhere that I went, I found the Windows 95 desktop plastered with hundreds of icons while the amazing Start menu sat in the corner virtually unused, except for when shutting down the operating system. An anomalous fact that many folks found humorous -- You have to click Start to shut down the system? Hardy-har-har.

But, I was determined to make the world see that the Start menu was the way to go, and fortunately I had the platform from which to do so. As the Editor-in-Chief of the Cobb Group's Inside Microsoft Windows 95 journal, and later the Inside Microsoft Windows 98 journal, I wrote numerous articles about using and customizing the Start menu, in the hopes that people would soon forget about icons on the desktop and begin to adopt the Start menu.

Of course, over time folks began using the Start menu more and more, and in some small way I like to think that I contributed to that. (My wife is snickering as I write this.)

Regardless of how it happened, the fact of the matter is that the Start menu became the anchor of the Windows operating system and has been so for the better part of the last 16 years. So, I don't think that it will quietly ride off into the sunset anytime soon.

Times change

Now, as I mentioned earlier, some of the things that Microsoft pointed out about the way that people currently use the Start menu really hit home for me. I really don't use the Start menu the way that I used to -- especially in Windows 7. I keep a few icons pinned to the Taskbar -- Windows Explorer, Windows Media Player, and Internet Explorer -- and have icons for the rest of the programs that I frequently use pinned to the Start menu. Furthermore, since the operating system is so stable, I rarely shut it down or restart it, thus several of the programs that I use on a daily basis, such as email, antivirus, and IM, run all the time. Since I don't shut them down, I rarely need to launch them.

Most of what is buried on my Start menu are programs that I need only occasionally. And when I need them, I don't wade through the folder structure clicking here and there to find them. I just click the Start button, type the first few characters in the program name, and, boom, there it is -- magically unearthed by the Start Search feature.

So, do I need the Start menu anymore? Not really! Am I going to mourn its disappearance? Probably not!

Don't get me wrong, I still see the value in this venerable tool. And I surely hope that Microsoft isn't planning on killing off the Start menu completely in Windows 8. I trust that even though they are putting the emphasis on the new Start screen, some semblance of the Start menu will live on in Windows 8 for those who want it or need it.

Ready

For me, I say bring on the Start screen! I'm ready!

I'm ready to begin using tiles that represent my applications. I'm ready to have live tiles that continuously deliver information from the Web right on my screen. I'm ready to organize my apps into groups and then take advantage of the Zoom feature to get an at-a-glance view of the groups. I'm ready to be able to search for files or applications and have the results display on the entire screen. I'm ready to have a screen that extends beyond the boundaries of my monitor that can be accessed fluidly with a swipe of my mouse.

Yes, I said mouse. I expect to see, and Microsoft has stated that beyond the Windows 8 Developer Preview, the operating system will provide much better support for the mouse and keyboard.

I'm ready for a change!

What's your take?

Do you feel that the Start menu has outlived its usefulness? What do you think about the Start screen? Are you ready for a change? As always, if you have comments or information to share about this topic, please take a moment to drop by the TechRepublic Community Forums and let us hear from you.

Based on the information in this blog post, you may want to check out my Evolution of the Windows Start menu gallery. You might also be interested in my Windows 95 Retrospective gallery.

About

Greg Shultz is a freelance Technical Writer. Previously, he has worked as Documentation Specialist in the software industry, a Technical Support Specialist in educational industry, and a Technical Journalist in the computer publishing industry.

58 comments
george.skalley
george.skalley

The start menu must surely be for those who like the comfort of things organised in a vertical lists within lists. Now the lists within lists aspect appears to have been replaced by groups of horizontal tile pallets. If you've sat through a voice activated XBox 360 Kinect demo with Bing then you favour this direction a bit more, albeit I haven't heard that this cross over will be presented. I would like to see it organise the tiles into subject matters at command, preferably voice... so if I said perhaps, "Batman", then it would automatically arrange a set of tiles covering all media content I have access too with Batman tags (pics, social media tags, film links, games all in the context of Batman). Then I would see more sense in this approach, for it would introduce dynamism in accessing the content directly, rather than sorting through lists within lists manually. If you have 2001+ tools and utilities and can mentally keep track of them and deduce when you need them instantly, then you're probably limited by the current Start approach already and don't realise it. Now you should be capable of slicing and dicing your application set any way you see fit and organise in an organic manner. Having not tried it yet though, and having not seen the cross over from XBox 360 Kinect to Windows OS and that all encompassing search, then I still hold reservations they've not gone far enough... but it could be the step in the right direction we need.

spawnywhippet
spawnywhippet

Palmetto summed up my feelings exactly - I have the exact same computing style. Although when Vista came out, I hated it so much I bought a Macbook Air with OS X, which I found utterly useless and unintuitive. It now runs Windows 7 natively and quite happily, albeit with my customised Windows 2000 style Start Menu and Control Panel, so I think I will live with this situation until I am sold on the whole Win8 idea.

mike five
mike five

It appears as though if you use your computer in a limited manner, then Windows 8 will be great. If you use it in a multiplicity of areas then W8 is going to be a real pain. I have 54 applications that I use more or less regularly. Windows rearranged my icons every time I changed screen resolution (got very annoying) so I converted the icons to a list and stuck the list on the task bar. Benefits? I no longer have to minimize applications to find an icon, my icons are not longer automatically rearranged, and it makes for clean wall paper that is pleasant to look at.

reh28785
reh28785

As one of the other contributors stated, I have many programs that I run. I do computer testing and repair. I have over a hundred testing and repair programs that I use in my work. The "icons" or whatever you want to call them are just too big to be practical for me. From what I have read, Microsoft wants to charge developers fees for using apps that run from Metro. They have found a way to squeeze more money out of developers and end users. I believe it is corporate greed, not progress or innovation, that is driving the Metro interface. How long will it be before open source apps from independent developers can no longer be loaded on to the Microsoft OS, unless the developer/user pays Microsoft for the the privilege? Metro is not a bad idea for the way some people use computers, but impractical for others. Then there is slippery slope of corporate ambition and greed.

markp24
markp24

Weather its better or not, i feel like we are in a way going back to having all the icons on the screen like Program manager from windows 3.x. I really think the interface you use is dependant on what and how you use a computer.

Kent Lion
Kent Lion

For a long time Microsoft has been encouraging wasted computational resources. The only things most people need a computer with GHz speeds and multiple cores for are "gaming" and security suites. Gaming is a waste of the resources of a computer; and a properly designed OS wouldn't require slow, bloated security suites. MS is no longer providing new value commensurate with what they take from the economy in return. I was never a fan of desktop icons; they hide behind windows, they get lost on a large or decorative desktop, and they take much more space than necessary. The quick-launch toolbar is great for things often used, the start menu makes everything else easy/logical to find, they don't take up much real estate when visible and can auto-hide when I don't want them; and if the start bar is on the left, overshooting and then hiding scroll bars with the start menu isn't a problem. Microsoft's change to the new ADHD/"dumbed down" method of computing won't be a problem, because for me a computer is a tool, not an expensive, toy, so the things I can't do on a Linux machine are rapidly dwindling. Since XP, Microsoft has been determined to force real users to waste more time than they already do just getting things to work, so people who only need a browser and email will buy computers they don't really need or use (with their OS). The direction things seem to be going in is Windows becoming the OS for people who don't need computers, and Linux (including Apple's) becoming the computer OS. If companies that made computing applications would recognize this it might happen faster, but that's where it seems to be going.

RR Flyer
RR Flyer

When I've used it for six months or more I'll decide if I like it. Only a fool would form an opinion of a product before using it long enough to understand it well.

J
J

I don't see this as the next evolutionary step. I remember seeing 3rd party apps like this way back in the early 90's to sit on top of Windows 3.x. I also created one while toying with Visual Basic 4.0. How they think this is the next step for Windows is beyond my comprehension. My thought is that they should have the Start menu "fan out" with customizable animations where the larger items are the most used items.

wuboyblue
wuboyblue

Maybe it's change, or maybe my next machine is OS X or Linux.

dbucyk
dbucyk

Now while I am used to change as an IT technician, the one thing I hope that Microsoft does not do away is with the command prompt and the ability to run the command prompt through by using F8 or any other key combination. While Microsoft is making strides to make Windows 8 look more attractive, they should also keep in mind that there should be a way to fix the problems in case the interface fails. Let's face it, we're talking about Microsoft. Even the best version of Windows out there still has had problems.

eboyhan
eboyhan

I have to laugh at all the rants about the start screen, and the deprecation of the start menu in W8 -- the passion is about the same as the "real names" controversy over at Google+. I mostly use W7 on all my machines -- almost everything I use is in some way pinned to the task bar. I have about 40 icons on my desktop which I never use (I have to guess that their presence is due to installers placing them there -- a waste). I have an elaborate and very deeply nested start menu, which I also almost never use. The start screen looks like a good UI for horizontal display devices like tablets where touch works best. Touch will come to vertical displays, but will not be much used because holding the hand up to a vertical screen is fatiguing, which many might say is the death knell for a touch UI on traditional laptop and desktop form factors. Not so fast say I -- I expect we'll see modalitities/utilities that allow your venerable mouse to emulate the touch of your finger on the screen. As to ways of organizing access to apps, files, and data the start screen may be a good way to go -- or not. We just don't have enough long term usage of the Metro UI to determine its usefulness -- that will evolve in the fullness of the time between now and W8 RTM. It's time to stop pontificating about this, put our heads down, and get some "real" metro apps developed; maybe some "UI utilities" as well. Mostly people have to sit down and start to use the new UI and unlearn their current predilection for "what is" in order to see if Metro "could be"

dogknees
dogknees

If I have the TV running in a window, I do not want to cover it up so I can launch another application. I'm not "switching apps" I'm running more than one on screen all the time.

Spitfire_Sysop
Spitfire_Sysop

I want to change every color, every picture. I want certain things to show up immediately. Other things I want to be within reach. In the end, I use windows explorer more than I use the start menu. I have a large number of applications and some of them aren't "installed". I like the ability to do anything and this is why I have a desktop. As long as I can quickly find all of the things I need and that includes a nice explorer.exe! (Win+E is a nice way to do this) I really like the Win7 start search because it DOESN'T search the whole PC. It only searches a list of installed applications that I control. This makes it quick and easy. If it searched everything it would take too long.

wizard57m-cnet
wizard57m-cnet

Remember way back in Win3X, there were a lot of us independent type developers that created all sorts of little, handy application launch bars (Toolbar, Enchanted Toolbar, Calmira--that one had the look and feel of Win9X!) I tried out so many different "shells" for Win3X I've forgotten most...there was one from PC Magazine, I think, called "TopDesk", and by golly Metro's tiles look a lot like it. Anyway, if there is a need, maybe a few developers will help fill in.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

I believe it's because he and I use our computers differently. "I ... have icons for the rest of the programs that I frequently use pinned to the Start menu.." I too have shortcuts on the Start menu, but I didn't see a way to create them there in W8's crippled equivalent. I abhor desktop shortcuts; they require me to minimize apps to get to them. I don't see how tiles anchored to the desktop are any different. "I???m ready to begin using tiles that represent my applications." Tiles, shortcut icons; what's the difference what I double-click to start an app? "Im ready to have live tiles that continuously deliver information from the Web right on my screen." I run my apps tiled and use maximum available screen real estate. My desktop is rarely visible. I've encountered minimal information I needed delivered continuously to my screen, and none that was worth dedicating screen space to on a full time basis or minimizing apps regularly to see. "'Im ready to organize my apps into groups and then take advantage of the Zoom feature to get an at-a-glance view of the groups." Talk about Window 3 and Program Manager; this is it. I'd rather create my own limited number of shortcuts than half to weed out all the ones I don't want. Office would create twice as many as I regularly use; some apps create four or five icons, only one of which is needed regularly. Who wants to clear the seldom-used off the desktop? I'd rather have them on an easily accessed, out-of-the-way menu than on the desktop behind my running apps. "I'm ready to be able to search for files or applications and have the results display on the entire screen." I'm not ready to search for seldom-used apps I can't recall the name of. What's that Office tool that views photos? Since it doesn't have the word 'Photo' in the name, how can I search for it? If I want to find an app's 'Uninstall' utility, I'd have to wade through search results for every app that has one. "I'm ready to have a screen that extends beyond the boundaries of my monitor that can be accessed fluidly with a swipe of my mouse." Virtual desktop managers have been available for years, including some that are mouse controlled. I'm glad to see this finally baked in, but Metro isn't necessary to do that. "... I rarely shut it down or restart it, thus several of the programs that I use on a daily basis ... run all the time. Since I dont shut them down, I rarely need to launch them." I shut my work desktop down for the weekend and my home system nightly. It's not a question of OS stability as much as one of energy conservation. Danged if I want to manually start the seven apps that the 'Startup' group opens for me every Monday, or even monthly on the Wednesday after Patch Tuesday. 'Start them manually? There's an app ...; er, Start menu folder for that!' I might be ready for a change if the change was ready for me. Metro doesn't appear to be.

LocoLobo
LocoLobo

I couldn't care less about the Start menu. One of the things that has bothered me about the Start menu is the inclusion of programs I have never used and never will use. Programs that ms thinks I need or want to see. But look at your example Start screen. How many "tiles" will list programs I will never use? How hard will they be to customize? What problems will I cause by customizing my Start screen? If I install an acrobat program will the installer place an unnecessary tile on my Start screen? End of the world? No. Better? Probably not. Just the usual change for changes sake.

Mark W. Kaelin
Mark W. Kaelin

I am not sold on the Metro Interface and the tile metaphor yet, but I think Greg points to some interesting potential benefits that could make the Start menu a distant memory. Would you miss the Start menu or do you just need the Start Search box? Are you curious about what will replace the Start menu?

SirWizard
SirWizard

I use a little freeware program called "Iconoid" that lets me store/restore the icon positions at each resolution or use the same arrangement at multiple resolutions. This has saved me a great deal of grief whenever Windows decides it has a better layout for my many (100+) icons than my previously saved layout, or if everything gets scrambled when testing something at a different resolution. I simply open Iconoid, have it restore my previously saved layout, and all my icons are back in their correct places in seconds. The program also lets me set a few other desktop appearance properties.

email_bnj_now
email_bnj_now

How can one list the icons on the task bar as you have done? Thanks, Bruce

grayknight
grayknight

More so with something that is admittedly pre-alpha/beta and not anywhere near final.

Lazarus439
Lazarus439

Microsoft has a long and proud (?) history of NOT listening to people who buy their software. When the centerpiece of a new product is deemed unacceptable, it's never too early to start sounding off. Indeed, the earlier, the better. In the off chance that MS is actually going to pay attention, I imagine a positive response to the criticism is a lot easier to implement in at the preview point that at the RTM point.

LocoLobo
LocoLobo

to discuss unwanted features.

grayknight
grayknight

the search still limits to apps first, then can expand to all files (same as the current search from start in Windows 7).

grayknight
grayknight

The start screen is brought up on top of your current windows, so you can pick another program to run. The start screen will be significantly customizeable, different backgrounds, what ever shortcuts you want to install, etc. It will be like a full page taskbar (programs do not install shortcuts to the taskbar by default, but you can easily pin them when they are running). I'm sure there will still be an easy start these applications on login option.

hippiekarl
hippiekarl

There's a system-tray customization that puts a little button that reads 'desktop' down at the right next to 'volume', 'internet connection', and 'time/date'; it will display vertically everything on your desktop without necessitating your minimizing your current work. That may be the 'easily accessed, out-of-the-way menu ' you envision....

Lazarus439
Lazarus439

YEAH!! It's not just me! In a sense, many of my users are ready for Metro - if their shortcut breaks, they have absolutely no idea how to find its target, be it program or folder. However, they don't want a lot irrelevant clutter mixed in with their "good stuff". And Metro looks like it's big on clutter. If you can't start with a blank desktop and populate with the boxes you want and you can't kill Metro and have it stay dead and out of the way, it will make Vista looks like a sales champ!

spdragoo
spdragoo

My XP is set on the normal theme, so when I click on "Start", it shows me the programs I've used the most, without having to click on "All Programs". I customized it to show the 10 most used, but I could always add more if I want. That means I rarely have to search through my Start menu for other programs, unless they're the "rarely-used" ones. But wait! I can move the folders that are installed there into any order I want; I can rename the folders if I want; I can even create a brand-new folder with a category name that's significant *to me*, & then move the app folders into those, to better organize them.

belli_bettens
belli_bettens

Everybody agrees that the new UI is great for touch devices but not to be handled with a conventional mouse. Most of us forgot, but this year MS released it's touch mouse. It might be a great combo, no?

Slayer_
Slayer_

So, is this tile thing is going to work for me, or do I need to shift through 200 pages of tiles to get to a program? Search? Maybe... Depends on how the search works, if I search video conversion, will it run WinFF for me? The start menu has become less useful because MS did that deliberately, they made it less customizable, they made it harder to wade through, harder to read, it doesn't even pop out of its frame anymore and insists on using a small portion of your screen. I actually made a custom toolbar called Start and it points to the start menu folder, but this custom toolbar properly pops out of its window so I can see all my installed programs at a glance. I am also tempted to make my own start menu program, one that pops up from the quick launch and basically displays whats in the start menu folders and all users folders and allows me to run the programs.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

restoring desired features that have been removed.

dogknees
dogknees

The problem is that it will cover what's already on screen.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

Isn't that what we discarded when Windows 95's Start Menu replaced Windows 3's Program Manager? Do you know anyone who has their Task Bar set so it covers the entire screen? Neither do I. Why do you suppose that is? I'm going to wander quite a ways from the Start menu subject now, but hopefully stick to points you raised. Not only have I read most of the blogs here, I've loaded W8 up and played with it. Have you figured out how to get more than one app on the screen at a time? I MUST be able to view Outlook and our help desk application on the screen together; the first is input for the second. I don't need them the same size; the help desk app requires more screen space if I'm to see all the fields. Metro allows only two options - one app maximized, or two apps split equally, vertically. If there are two interfaces, each should have the same set of capabilities. Otherwise, why have two? Oh, so developers can create one app regardless of platform? Sorry, that doesn't cut it for me as a consumer; and unlike developers, I'm the one buying the product. Leave the conventional system OS separate from the portable device OS; one size rarely fits all, and never comfortably.

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

The 'easily accessed, out of the way' menu I referenced is already in Windows. It's the existing Start Menu. Tiles, desktop icons, Taskbar icons, Start Menu shortcuts; they're all pointers back to an .EXE. Why would adding another method to start an app require removing the old ones?

Greg Shultz
Greg Shultz

...with the new UI, but since this particular version of the OS was designed for developers and a touch screen table, a lot of the mouse and keyboard support is not in place. We will see more support for the mouse and keyboard in future releases of the Beta. I am using the Microsoft Touch Mouse in Windows 8 and at this point in time, it doesn't have any more functionality in Windows 8 than it does in Wndows 7. I expect that too will change and there will be better support for the Touch Mouse in future releases of the Beta. .

email_bnj_now
email_bnj_now

How could I make a Start custom toolbar and Start Menu program? Could you show us your code? Thanks, Bruce

sourcetech
sourcetech

If you want to turn off the metro style start menu you can just Google it. For the type of work that I do the metro Start menu does not work. I have to have the desktop area. For me on Windows 7 I have every program that I use regularly is pinned to the start menu which is about 30 programs, so I almost never need to click the start menu. In Windows XP I used quick launch, cut down on the number of clicks that I had to do. I don't use all the social stuff that needs to have live updates showing my start menu. Plus using the Metro style and a mouse are not that user friendly. I can see it being a little more user friendly with touch screens once they become more common. Of course touch screens for the desktop are not that useful cause your screen is usually beyond arms length.

SmartAceW0LF
SmartAceW0LF

the Litestep shell replacement for Windows and see that they are indeed still at it. Given there is no choice in this shell interface in the future, I may very well revert back to it. Anyway, I noted that it has all of the features you mention above built into it and wasn't sure if you had ever heard of it.

SmartAceW0LF
SmartAceW0LF

and now TILES? What a deplorable notion. I for one have never liked the status quo. Microsoft's penchant for locking down the appearance of applications and Windows is reprehensible as far as I am concerned. While I understand the need for a common environment within the corporate workplace, I have never liked being pigeon-holed into acceptance of their current expression of how my (not to mention that of EVERY single OS sold within that release or version) desktop should look. There is nothing wrong with "choice". Further, it can be easily built into the OS. Finally, I have little doubt that the point in time will NEVER arrive when I desire my DESKTOP computer's OS to be Touch Screen-centric. I honestly have not experienced anything more awkward since the introduction of Touchpads. At least I still have "choice" where those are concerned. Microsoft would do well to realize that "choice" is available. If not, their own arrogance will create it. Edited due to the site's coding having added this as a reply to the article as opposed to my intention of replying to an individual. (I had not logged in yet)

SirWizard
SirWizard

I'm running Windows 7 with the freeware, open-source Classic Shell. It provides a classic customizable start menu, explorer extras, and tons of wonderful features. Options for everything to set it the way I (or you) would want it. In case it matters, I am not averse to desktop icons. I have well more than a hundred icons on my desktop, and I use most of them rather often.

Greg Shultz
Greg Shultz

...the tiles such that the tiles for the applications you use most often are on the first page, then you will not have to shift thriugh 200 pages to get to the program that you want. The Start screen can be customized such that you can create groups of tiles representing the appliation that you use most often and put those groups on the first page.

atch666
atch666

If you have as you're saying 1000 apps then shifting through 200 pages would mean that there are FIVE apps displayed on each page. Think before you get defensive. I'm using W8 for a while now and I have to say that new style is working for me even though I'm using regular mouse.

janitorman
janitorman

Which I've used ever since Windows 98, and have installed on XP? I also have desktop icons hidden (I never see the desktop, as other windows are always open) and have the "desktop" displayed in a list if you click an arrow on the taskbar. I rarely use the start menu, either, but it has useful tools that are easy to find that way, such as the run command, settings for the control panel and printers, shortcuts to recently used documents and programs, along with a full list of user-accessible programs IN A LIST the way I prefer, with sub-menus expanding to show sub-foldrs, etc. Why move it when I've been doing it that way for over 12 years? I hate using Windows 7, as every time I have, I've gotten totally lost. Trying to find something you've forgotten the name of, but remember the location of, by typing in a search box, doesn't work for me. I'd be typing in "browse" and nothing would show. Useless. I don't even use the XP search, but a third party one, which works the way I want. Ah well, I guess the next computer I get, will have Linux on it anyway, so I can customize it to my heart's content.

hippiekarl
hippiekarl

>"I abhor desktop shortcuts; they require me to minimize apps to get to them. I don't see how tiles anchored to the desktop are any different." ...was what I tried to help with. 'Run' and 'Control Panel' are the only Start Menu items I use in 7.

Slayer_
Slayer_

mkdir "C:\Start Menu" robocopy "C:\users\all users\Start Menu" "C:\Start Menu" /E /MIR robocopy "C:\users\trevord\Start Menu" "C:\Start Menu" /E And then I set C:\Start Menu to be my start menu toolbar. I placed my script in the windows start up folder so it should be regenerated each time. This may still require the removal of the deny everyone from the start up folder's permissions.

Slayer_
Slayer_

First, right click task bar, and choose to make a new toolbar. Navigate to the start menu folder (I am not in front of a WIn7 machine right now, but I believe it is "C:\users\UserName\Start Menu") And your done. shrink it so it is just the menu and the word Start. This will only display your start menu items however, not both yours and all users. It may be possible to make a library in Win7 of the two folders and use the library as the toolbar, but I haven't tried this yet. -Edit I verified that it works, you can make a toolbar out of a library, two problems with it though, first, it shows the start menu programs folder twice, it doesn't merge them together, and second, you have to edit the permissions on the start menu folder and remove the "deny everyone list folder contents". So not an ideal solution, but it works. You can probably make a new start menu folder, and set up a robocopy script to copy the contents of each start menu folder to your custom one, then make a toolbar item of your custom folder. I would first copy from all users, then from your user so that your shortcuts overwrite the all users version.

spdragoo
spdragoo

One of the nice things about the XP-style Start Menu was that it automatically listed your most-used apps, & you could customize just how many you wanted to have available. It didn't affect their placement within the "All Programs" section, either. Hopefully, Win8 release will have a similar feature -- i.e. "Your X Favorite Apps" [based on actual usage], with a button to "See All Apps...".

BlueCollarCritic
BlueCollarCritic

My point is that I often here the same comment "You don't really need all 3 versions of office installed" or "Why do you neeed to run 3 different versions of SQL Server". I work in an environmnet in which the same platform/version of Office or SQL Server (as an example) is not supported across all critcial apps and so I haveto support/use one version for system A and another for Aystem B and so on. So as ridicolous as it sounds at first the fact is I do have to have accessto and use of many more executables then the average user. In the case of the poster slayer_ he/she very well may need that many applications even if I ro you don't. I think this demonsstrates a perfect example of the "asssumption problem" where what is assumed to be normal/standard for one user is in that users eye what should the norm/standard for everyone else and thats not reailty. Microsoft is making changes based on what it says is a survey of how users currently use Windows. Seldom is any survey more then a sampling (even if it is a large sampling) of the whole and so a lot of assumptions are made when drawing conclusions from that survey. If Microsoft is getting such a straong backlish justas itdid with that Ribbon fiasco it forced onto users a fewyears back then perhaps itshould reconsider if it is doing whats rightbyits customers or whatis percieved to be right according to its sampling/base? While no offense is intended I haveto take with a grain oif salt anything said bya n editor or reviewer of any major periodical or website since most are heavily dependent on adverstising dollars from Microsoft and therefore have incentive to not speak in opposition to anything Microsoft is pushing so strongly. In the case of the Ribbon fiasco a few years back it was only after a few years of user complaints and the rise of several third aprty add-ons to bring back the menu/toolbars thatthe Ribbon took away, that various editors and persons working in these industries admitted that there really was more then a handful of users very unhappy with the Ribbon. It was only after it becaming blaringly obvious that the attempt to ignore or deny the negative feedback stopped and reps in the tech industry spoke honestly about that. Lets hope with Windows 8 that Microsoft doesn't try that same scam with its design changes. Unlike before with the Riboon, the economy is bad right now and people will more then ever speak loudly with their purchasing decisions.

spdragoo
spdragoo

It shows 1 panel with 10 apps on it (of various sizes), & then a part of a 2nd panel to the right. Since the article is discussing the Win8 dev preview, we (the readers) should be able to logically assume that the screenshot is a) how it appears on the author's PC, b) that it's the *default* appearance for Win8, or c) both answers. So, unless your PC is set up *exactly* like the author's PC (including, say, screen resolution/monitor size), & you haven't tweaked any settings on it, then your statement "it doesn't look that way on _my_ PC" doesn't really relate to "how it looks by default", does it?

SmartAceW0LF
SmartAceW0LF

Your own words deemed sufficient enough to induce reflection. "Think before you get defensive." Or is this simply a preliminary sample of the wisdom you wish to enlighten us with in the future? Would seem that an opposing view on why and where one spends his money is somehow threatening to you. Hopefully, these and the next few posts made by yourself were not presented with the idea that yours is always the prevailing opinion of "thinking" people? Just saying.

Slayer_
Slayer_

Cause if you had, you would understand better.

bornbyforce
bornbyforce

Are you the type who look at the tip of the finger when someone is pointing at some direction?!

atch666
atch666

and you don't trying to tell me that your using all of them all the time?

atch666
atch666

I have 45 apps per page. On the other hand I just wonder about people like you. Why don't you get FREE Windows 8 dev preview and check it for yourself instead of pointlessly guessing? What's the point?

CharlieSpencer
CharlieSpencer

A square and a rectangle that was twice the width of the square. The number per screen is also affected by the resolution. I couldn't find a way to resize the tiles other than 'single-wide' and 'double-wide'. Also, there were wide margins of 'dead space' around the desktop that were apparently off limits. Tiles couldn't be placed there, nor anything else apparently.

spdragoo
spdragoo

Screenshot shows 10 apps per "page" in Windows 8, so he'd still have to sift through up to 50 pages to find a particular app.

Slayer_
Slayer_

How many are there actually?