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Author Topic: Is the Windows start menu dead?  (Read 25967 times)
mitzevo
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« Reply #25 on: July 04, 2007, 01:13:13 AM »

Start menu isn't dead.. I mean when you are not on your own windows box or any windows box that you have setup to your likings (family, friends, work, clients, etc.), the start menu is always there.. and normal computer users always use the start menu. So start menu will always be a standard, and any thing less/more is personal preference.
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y0himba
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« Reply #26 on: July 09, 2007, 09:34:08 PM »

Not dead to me yet.  As long as I can organize it the way I want it, it's very efficient and useful without running any 3rd party software in the background.
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DJMusic
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« Reply #27 on: July 10, 2007, 04:39:42 AM »

I use the Windows Start Menu (classic version) sometimes, but the thing I use most is Stardock ObjectDock, I use the Plus-version with the tabs. It's waaay better than the Start Menu Cool.
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wreckedcarzz
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« Reply #28 on: July 11, 2007, 03:06:51 PM »

I hardly think the Start menu is dead. Its basically all I use. My desktop is just that; a desktop. If there are icons, its only 1-5 of them. Being on Vista, I organized my start menu to basically simply clicking on the button and hovering over "All Programs". I basically take everything out of its folder (the actual program shortcut, nothing else) and put it in ABC order in the menu. Takes me like 15 minutes on a fresh install, and its really worth it. I have tried Launchbar Commander, FARR, RocketDock, Object Dock, and a few others, and the problem is that either I don't use them (I forget that its there) or I cant put all my programs onto the dock (or it makes my startup time longer then I like, and I am extremely picky about that).
I don't think I will ever leave the Start Menu. Even though it no longer says the "Start", its still my must used and favorite part of Windows. smiley
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Curt
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« Reply #29 on: July 11, 2007, 07:16:24 PM »

wreckedcarzz; forgive me not being able to visualize what you have described. Do you mind posting a screenshot of your start menu, please?
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laughinglizard
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« Reply #30 on: July 11, 2007, 07:19:25 PM »

I tend to use Direct Access and Quick Launch, and sometimes the Vista Start Menu.

Lately I've been wondering about some of the launchers out there. Other than Direct Access, I haven't used any.

One of them, Launchy,http://www.launchy.net/, gets a lot of good feedback.

Another one called Skylight looks like it has some promise, but its in beta and needs Microsoft .NET 3.0 Framework, which it will download along with the program.
http://www.osx-e.com/down...plications/_skylight.html


* 16_launchy.JPG (0.74 KB, 16x13 - viewed 453 times.)
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Curt
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« Reply #31 on: July 11, 2007, 07:25:59 PM »

laughinglizard , do you hold anything against .NET 3.0 ??  tellme
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BinderDundat
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« Reply #32 on: July 11, 2007, 07:32:09 PM »

One thing that seems to be forgotten is that the start menu can be navigated with keystrokes PROVIDED there is only one entry that starts with the letter/keystroke that you use.  For instance, you can type {winkey}, e and if you have your email named Email and there are no other entries that start with "e" and you have just launched your email program.  Similarly, {winkey}, p, o, e would start Excel on my system.  P opens the "Programs" menu, "o" opens the "Office" Menu and e launches Excel.  You have to rename a bunch of entries to eliminate duplication of starting letters - My Documents became Filing Cabinet and My Pictures became Art - but it is doable.  You also have to set the number of "Recent Programs" to zero, since the random appearance of unknowable names on the start menu messes up the whole scheme.  I have also set a number of commonly used programs on the "Pinned" menu with numbers in front of their names, so {winkey},2 opens nero burning.  The entry on the start menu is: 2. Nero Startsmart, so the 2, being the first "letter" of the name launches the program connected to it.  The Programs menu has the following categories on it: Accessories, Burning Tools, CyberSecurity, Disaster Recovery, File Utilities, Graphics, HP Utilities, Information tools, Lens and Shutter, Maintenance, Net Wares, Office, Printer Utilities, Reference, Utilities Misc., WordPerfect Office, and, of course, Startup.  As you can see, there is only one entry for any given letter of the alphabet, so you can use the keyboard to navigate it.  The sub-menus have also been similarly renamed to allow keyboard launch - with a few exceptions.  In the case of unavoidable duplications, you can press the letter repeatedly until you are on the desired entry and then press "enter". 
The most irritating thing about the whole process is that Microsloth had a way of customizing the Start menu in Win98 and has deleted that from the current version.  They also have made it impossible to add self-opening folders to the top level of the Start menu.  You can't pin a folder of "Office" icons to the front of the menu - it has to go into the "Programs" menu!  But, even so, it is possible to wring some use out of the thing.
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steeladept
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« Reply #33 on: July 11, 2007, 07:52:00 PM »

Actually you can pin it like that very easily, at least in 2000/XP.  Where you do that is (by default) in C:\Documents and Settings\******\Start Menu where the ******* is either All Users or a specific user(s) depending on who you want to see that pin.  I am not so sure in Vista, though my guess is it would be similar.  Just place a shortcut there and it works.

BTW:  You can also drag and drop it into location in XP and 2000.
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BinderDundat
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« Reply #34 on: July 11, 2007, 10:45:49 PM »

Sorry, I misspoke.   I meant that the folder that you get on the top level of the Start menu opens into an explorer folder window when you open it and that ends the use of keystrokes.  After that you have a window with shortcut icons in it and you have to mouse over to the one you want and click it - hardly an efficiency.
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Rocker452
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« Reply #35 on: July 11, 2007, 11:54:42 PM »

I don't use the start menu as much as I use to since I found Hotkeys by Qliner (http://qliner.com/hotkeys/)  did buy the Vista Start Menu program to make it easier to organize. Hotkeys lets me map shortcuts to programs to any key on keyboard. Use the Windows key + "*" key you mapped to run the program. Hitting Win key+Z puts a keyboard on screen to show whats mapped where. You can launch .exe, documents, folders or web sites whatever you map on the keys. You can drag & drop things on the screen keyboard from desktop or explorer or even the Quick launch bar.  It is opensource and free to use and is easy to setup plus saves time looking for stuff. It also works in Vista.It also requires the .Net Framework 2.0.5 or greater.
« Last Edit: July 12, 2007, 12:14:59 AM by Rocker452 » Logged
Curt
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« Reply #36 on: July 12, 2007, 06:02:26 AM »

You only forgot to tell that Q-Liner is extremely good looking too  Kiss


- however; their ZIP is an incapable weakling (or was, ½ a year ago)!
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Laughing Man
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« Reply #37 on: July 12, 2007, 10:01:14 AM »

To me..mostly yeah. XP's was pretty good. Vista's is terrible (why the heck they decided to contain it in the start menu area is beyond me). Luckily I have FARR and other programs that can launch them without having to enter it.
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laughinglizard
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« Reply #38 on: July 12, 2007, 09:42:18 PM »

laughinglizard , do you hold anything against .NET 3.0 ??  tellme

Nah, not me, I added that so that people on dial up would know it might be a looooong download.
When I was on dial-up I didn't like surprises like that, but then my usual speed was 19.9 kpbs.
 ohmy
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Mandork
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« Reply #39 on: July 14, 2007, 08:46:51 AM »

I've recently re-discovered a couple of things that Windows does that have made my life a lot easier, without extra software. 

One is Win+R.  I made a folder called "c:\shortcuts" and put shortcuts to various things, such as Thunderbird and LyX, and renamed them to something easy to type.  So, when the run box comes up, I just type in the appropriate thing and it opens.  Neat.  I put a shortcut to this folder on the desktop, so that when I want to add something it is easy to find.  And, I've just discovered, you can put a shortcut to the shortcut folder itself in there, and then Win+R "shortcut" will open the folder of shortcuts!  Amazing.  How come I never knew I could do this?

The other is that you can add shortcut keys to shortcuts on the desktop, using Right Click+Properties.  So, for instance, I have a desktop shortcut to the folder that has my PhD work in it and have created a shortcut key combo of Ctrl+Alt+P, and presto!  the folder opens.  It starts faster than the QuickLaunch bar, I don't have to look at it all the time, and I don't have to navigate down multiple levels to get to it.

Since I have a tiny screen and I normally have whatever I am working on at any given time maximized, I don't particularly care about having a clean desktop.  I also find that it makes sorting things easier if I can just drag files onto the appropriate desktop shortcut and thus move them to the appropriate place, although I have also found the programs called "Folder Guide" http://www.freeware365.com/desktop/folderguide.htm and "File Targets" http://www.moonsoftware.com/download.asp handy. 

I use FARR sometimes, too, but I'm afraid that I am a little bit too dense to understand how to use it properly.   Cry

(Edited for clarity)
« Last Edit: July 14, 2007, 08:54:08 AM by Mandork » Logged

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« Reply #40 on: July 14, 2007, 11:03:51 AM »

Using Windows explorer one can custumize the built in start menu.

And the giveawayof theday is another start menu, though not much different then xp's.

http://www.giveawayoftheday.com/
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ender
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« Reply #41 on: July 14, 2007, 01:57:03 PM »

for me, the win startmenue has been dead for 4 years now.
I am using jettoolbar, and don't plan to change.
http://www.cowonamerica.c.../download/jettoolbar.html
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Curt
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« Reply #42 on: July 14, 2007, 03:56:58 PM »

- and jetToolBar hasn't needed an update for more than 3 years?? Wow!



What about showing a screenshot, and tell us a little?  tellme
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wreckedcarzz
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« Reply #43 on: July 15, 2007, 01:12:54 PM »

wreckedcarzz; forgive me not being able to visualize what you have described. Do you mind posting a screenshot of your start menu, please?
Curt, here is a small shot of my Start Menu, split into 3 parts.
As you can tell I move all the program shortcuts out of their folders and simply into the Start Menu's..."root" (whatever you want to call it). I have taken most of the menu apart, also (look at the 1st picture).
Just my way of working, IMO the most simple.
-Brandon


* mystartmenu.jpg (117.88 KB, 1280x544 - viewed 295 times.)
« Last Edit: July 15, 2007, 01:15:33 PM by wreckedcarzz » Logged

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« Reply #44 on: August 07, 2007, 01:21:26 PM »

With apologies as needed for resurrecting an old thread...

Personally I think the big prob with the Windows Start Menu, and many (most?) of the alternatives is someone has to set it up & maintain organization. In my experience the average user doesn't. It's like that closet (or garage or attic) that so many of us have -- there are all sorts of organizational tools and aids and products to make it easier, but we just choose to neglect it for one reason or another. No one has invented an automated closet [or at least one that would fit in the closet], where you hand it something and it puts it neatly away, amending the inventory for quick & easy retrieval.

It'd be a lot easier to accomplish that sort of thing with the Start Menu, but AFAIK no one has, perhaps because they fear it limiting flexibility, or maybe because they haven't identified Start Menu organization as a problem. On the other hand I'm only guessing when I suggest a demand even exists -- my parent's parents had the same sort of nightmare closet I've got, so the 3rd generation gets to call it hopeless. Grin

SO to the original question: "Is the Windows Start Menu Dead?" I reply that it's in more of a vegetative state, a coma if you will. No one's pulled the plug because it still could provide a useful function, and there's personal attachments as well. I think if someone came up with a universally favored method to replace it Microsoft would perform the burial, Gladly. But right now I don't know that they feel the majority of Windows users sees the slightest need to do anything.
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tinjaw
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« Reply #45 on: August 07, 2007, 01:36:48 PM »

I feel ashamed that this thread has gone this far without bringing others into the discussion. The Start Menu was quickly copied by KDE and GNOME. How are they faring? I don't use Apples. What is their equivalent and how is it doing?
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« Reply #46 on: August 07, 2007, 04:21:07 PM »

since I use FARR, I realy don'T care about the windows start menu.  Thmbsup
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« Reply #47 on: August 07, 2007, 04:52:53 PM »

a functional start menu seems to be the best way to ensure usability on public and semi public terminals, universities, internet cafes and so on.  If it isn't the start menu it needs to be something similar.  After all, we can all use a start menu, not everyone can, or wants to, use other methods for launching applications.
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« Reply #48 on: August 07, 2007, 05:42:10 PM »

Apple used a Start Menu as well last time I checked. Look, the important thing for a Start Menu is to have it organized. After all, it's nothing more than the graphical representation of a myriad of folders and links. Of course, it's difficult to maintain a balance between excessive categorization and minimal organization. Although FARR virtually eliminates these and other gripes.
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« Reply #49 on: August 08, 2007, 10:44:14 PM »

I've tried docks(i think they are overrated), launch bars, other windows shells , customizing the start menu and the quick launch bar, etc, etc. And one day when i was very happy with my organized start menu and quick launch, i found Launchy and decided to give it a try because i was bored, i tough it was a really cool app and let it there installed using it from time to time when i remembered it was there.

I started using it seriously when accidentally found that it can navigate through folders...  i was like  ohmy , then i found farr2 which i like more and now my star menu is a little bit messy but i don't care since i no longer have to see it. tongue
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