Access the Toolbars submenu
In this edition of the Windows Desktop Report, Greg Shultz shows you how to create your own Classic Start Menu in Microsoft Windows 7 right alongside of the operating system's new Start Menu.
In order to create your own Classic Start Menu in Windows 7, you'll use the Toolbar feature. As you know, this feature has been a part of the Windows operating system for a long time and allows you to create Toolbars right on the Taskbar.
To begin, right click an empty spot on the Taskbar, hover over Toolbars, and select the New Toolbar command, as shown. (Take note of the Lock the taskbar command, you'll need to use it in the next step.)
This Slideshow Gallery is also available as an entry in the Windows Blog and in the PDF format as a TechRepublic Download. It was originally published January 2011.
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.
I just downloaded Classic Shell 3.1 and installed it....it works great. I will be downloading this updated version, but I am currently using Ver 3.1 and I like it. Check it out here http://ptf.com/download/classic_shell/2299541/screenshot/238670/
Use whatever UI you want. I do not think some complex hack is the way to restore the "classic" start menu however. The start menu look and feel is determined by a user mode program, that is an application. Most operating systems call this the shell. On windows it is a program called windows explorer or explorer.exe. Since it is user mode I should be able to run any version of the shell on any OS. I should be able to run the XP explorer on windows 7. And I should be able to run both versions at the same time in different processes. The problem is that Microsoft tends to make applications part of the Operating System. It also tends to make it hard to run more than 1 version of an application on the same system. I would like to have Internet Explorer versions 6, 7 and 8 on my system and be able to choose which one I want, I can run Internet Explorer, Opera, Firefox, Chrome and Safari but I cannot run 2 versions of IE! I cannot easily run Office 2003 alongside of Office 2007. I cannot run a user mode application for e-mail, outlook express, on Windows 7. This is a flawed and broken application model. If Microsoft worked correctly I would easily run whatever shell I chose and I cold run several shells in different processes at the same time.
I always like options and this provides just that. I can still navigate the way I'm used to especially when the frustration level gets high but when I'm in the mood I can get used to something new. Thanks for not making me sell the horse to try out the car.
The "CLASSIC"option that was a option in XP/Vista, simple step. Why should I have to perform a number of steps to get somthing that looks like the "CLASSIC" menues that was in previous versions. MS made a huge mistake and have alienated large numbers of "Users/Clients" We will NOT be moving to WIN7 (we use Vista and XP, and as for Office 2007/10 the HATED "RIBBON" what a time waster, so we will also be staying with Office 2003 PRO. We are evaluating GOOGLE as a alternative to MS, and if the make it to too hard to stay where we are then it will be MS's loss and our gain $$$ wise to change to Google.
is easy with VirtualBox. Set up the full version and install the guest add-ons everywhere, then install your apps. I currently even have Access 97 running so I can recreate a (poorly designed) database driven app for a client that is finally being forced to upgrade because he can't get spare parts for his old equipment anymore. Nice thing about VBox is it's free, and it works on virtually any hardware; even without hardware virtualization if you have a lower end CPU.
Tried to install Google OS and discovered all it was was another version of Linux. messed up my hard drive and had a hell of a job getting all the space back to reinstall xp....Google sucks
I always liked the inverted tree, hierarchical structure of the classic menu. So why should I have to change just because somebody thinks they know a better way? Google "ClassicShellSetup" for a great open source utility at SourceForge that allows for the classic menu and explorer interface. This can be toggled on and off if the goal is maintaining consistency while investigating the new menu structure. This made the move to Win7 acceptable to me and frankly quite a few others. And by the way, the disparaging remarks pointed at those who don't enjoy changing just for the sake of changing is small thinking. We all have our little ways of getting things done, none of which is universally superior to another for all people.
Nothing wrong with that but you can't expect an innovative software designer to stay put too. I HATED XP, well I still do, there was no need for it at all. The interface looked so goofy with those Fisher Price looking buttons and junk. It was so bug ridden, insecure and sketchy for the first few years it wasn't funny. I was a die hard Win2K user, which was a great OS. I stuck with it until Vista, which in my case worked wonderfully on a new notebook that was designed to run vista and had lots of RAM. I changed notebooks a year later and it came with Win7, which absolutely stunned me. What a phenomenal interface and incredibly useful tools, just like Vista but way better. It takes only a couple of minutes to learn the new features and over time you realize how much more stable and secure it is than anything Ms has done before. As for Office 2010, the ribbon is an excellent system, you just need to take a few minutes to realize that everything you have always used is still right there, but more logically grouped. Computers rely on user input, that makes it your responsibility to take the time to learn the changes as they are made available. When I buy new tools I often have to completely reorganize my tool chests to fit things into a more logical order. I'll still open the wrong chest looking for a 1/4" etorx socket, but I soon get used to it and gain the added benefits of better design with an increasing number of tools. The greatest part of all of this though is CHOICE. You have the choice to change or stay put for at least a few years to come, you don't have to change or upgrade unless you want to gain the added benefits, your choice and you are no better nor worse either way. Microsoft didn't make a huge mistake and with ANY change you alienate users that prefer something else. They usually come around though and eventually move forward into new OS, while saying the latest revisions make it worthwhile at last, fine and dandy. Microsoft has released the best OS yet with Win 7, absolutely brilliant. It's so much better in so many ways than anything they've done since Win NT/Win2K. SO you can stay where you are, no need to worry about moving to Win7. You can stay away from Office, in fact if you like a more basic Office suite check out Open Office, it's great too and just like MS Office. That way you can upgrade for free too! If you change to Google, I'm sure that MS will recover from the loss of your business, as well as any others who feel the same; then again, that is your decision and free choice. They made it through the first 3 years of the XP disaster without going bottoms up, this should be a breeze.
Sure - I can just run multiple (virtual) machines. I would prefer it if Microsoft could write a proper operating system so I could just run applications. That model has been around since 1975 I keep hoping MS will start following it.
I don't fear change unless the change is made just for the sake of change, and that seems to be the case IMO for the Win7 Start menu. Finding installed programs in Win7 by using the Search function and typing in the first few letters of a program name can be easier for some users (assuming the user can remember the name) than by walking up or down the menu hierarchy, but not for all. I prefer the XP Start menu myself because it presents itself in a more logical and graphical manner, and this manner reinforces and educates the user about where to find certain installed programs. That's part of the reason behind having a GUI. I also like how the XP Start menu allows me to make better use of the keyboard by entering the first letter of a shortcut to move the focus.
Would you expect or want to display things in the same way in every version of an OS? The fact that you learned one system first doesn't make it the best system. The real problem is that sub-consciously we automatically prefer the first way we learn to do things. We think it's more logical, but it's not it's just our preference. The "logical" start menu is only logical if it's the first one you learned. It's simple to test. Get two people, neither of which has ever used a PC. Put one in front of the old system and one in front of the new. Ask them to find a certain application and see who gets there first. That tells you which is the best interface. Nothing else really gets to the heart of it. Like many "automatic" human behaviour, it's not actually very useful in the modern world, and having learned about this phenomenon we can now modify our behaviour and not fall into this trap again. Be conscious of the way your mind works and change what is not useful.
Thanks God, W2k was the previous useful stable OS. Win 7 although different in many ways as to its appearance is a breath of fresh air... it works
First off, searching is not more "graphical" than hovering the mouse over a menu and watching the menu expand. Searching requires the user to have at least enough sense to enter something in the search field. If you worked with a lot of end users, then you probably know there are some for whom even that basic skill provides a challenge. Secondly, yes the Win7 has a Program tree under Start | All Programs, but it can't display it in the same way that EVERY version of Windows since Win 95 could. Not only is that a real difference, it's a significant one. What was the reasoning behind this change? The old method showed more information if you had long program names or deeply nested program folders. Lastly, Win7 will absolutely NOT work just like XP in all instances, especially in the Explorer interface, but most of those differences were in Vista as well. I was hoping they would be remedied in Win7, but apparently MS in their quest to be more Mac-like has forgotten how to make an intelligent file system utility. Though I will agree with you that breadcrumbs is a nice addition.
YOu don't actually have to know the name of the programs, just a single word (anywhere in the name) or even a bit of the beginning of the name. For example, searching for Virtual Clone Drive, I can search for 'drive' or just the letter 'V' (it is there INSTANTLY)along with all others beginning with V that are grouped as programs, documents, control panel, music, pictures etc. each with their respective icons beside them. MUCH easier than searching in XP. You want that classic folder tree, it's there too. Searching couldn't/hasn't been easier. What is more logical and graphical than that? "than by walking up or down the menu hierarchy" You can do that too, click all programs, they will even highlight recently installed programs. Win7 will work JUST like XP if you want it too also, but offers other ways to get things done faster and easier. People complain about breadcrumbs, when they are used to typing a path in the address bar too, which shows they haven't even tried. IF you click the address bar and stary typing it switches to the path that previous versions offered. The Start menu provides a folder tree just like previous Windows versions, for those who don't like change because it may take time to get used to something new. You can completely change and customize the Star menu, more than any previous Win flavour has allowed, it just takes a minute to find out how much better Win7 really is. Don't just roll your eyes, sigh and say "it's different" when it really isn't, except for major improvements and more logical ways to get things done.
that attitude is erosion waiting to happen. Looking into Google? That change doesn't come out of looking into. That change comes out of making it a project to adopt.