Apps. This is getting quite silly.

This is getting quite silly.

Comments (10)
  1. steven says:


    What I hate about the way most programs install themselves is that they create a folder for the company that created the program place their shortcuts inside that. They also do it inconsistently (looking at your screenshot, there’s a "Microsoft" folder, several folders for Microsoft products and several direct shortcuts for Microsoft products).

    When I use a program, I don’t care who wrote it and I don’t want to remember that. My Start menu has been categorised in just a few folders:

    – Audio

    – Entertainment

    – Graphics

    – Hardware (drivers and stuff — almost never need to go in here)

    – Internet

    – Office

    – Miscellaneous (usually empty)

    – Programming

    – Reference

    – Utilities

    – Video

    You may notice all of them start with a unique letter. This enables quick navigation with the keyboard. All of my frequently used applications have unique keyboard paths through the start menu. Starting Internet Explorer, for instance, is Win-P-I-I, Firefox: Win-P-I-F, Opera: Win-P-I-O, e-mail: Win-P-I-E, MSDN library: Win-P-P-D(ocumentation)-M etc. Some programs exist in multiple categories (Windows Media Player, for instance, is in both Video and Audio).

    I find it much more intuitive to group programs by function this way than by the name of whatever random company wrote them.

    Any program that doesn’t give the option of changing the start menu folder where it installs its shortcuts earns a black mark in my book. As does one that can’t handle installation into a nested folder.

    BTW, I’ve restructured my "Program Files" folder in the same way. Moving IE into a subfolder took some doing, but it works just fine there. I wish I could get rid of those nonsensical empty folders, though. "xerox", "msn gaming zone", "microsoft frontpage", "movie maker". WTF?


  2. Ryan Perlman says:

    I am coming in a close second place

    your program visible count @ 116 mine @ 104

    its too late for this.

  3. steven says:

    Oh, and I also keep my taskbar at the top of the screen, just like you. My main reason for this is that all other menus in Windows drop down. With older Windows versions (or with the "classic" start menu), the "Programs" submenu would drop down, grow too large, then pop up — this is counterintuitive and works against ones muscle memory. Having the taskbar at the top of the screen solves this.

    What’s your reason for keeping it there?

  4. zzz says:

    There is considerable duplicate functionality in the programs visible there. I get the same functionality in half the amount.

  5. John Rudy says:

    I’ve found that the Start menu doesn’t seem to scale well past about twenty apps. Which, of course, means developers, IT staff and other techs often find it frustrating after a while, because we’re pretty loaded up. (I keep mine in classic mode, with scrolling, so I don’t know how I measure against yours.)

    I’ve found two solution which work well for me. One is ObjectDock, which looks and feels a lot (but not 100%) like the Mac OS’s dock, and can be customized via folders of shortcuts. (Which, since they’re manually created, only contain the shortcuts you want.) (I do recommend auto-hiding it so you don’t lose screen real estate.)

    The other option is using extra Quick Launch toolbars. The taskbar allows you to create a Quick Launch toolbar off any folder of shortcuts, and by keeping several of them in an auto-hide toolbar docked to the left of the screen, there’s room for (depending on your resolution) up to 40 or 50 frequently-used apps. The others can all hang out in the Start menu, still accessible, while the stuff you really need is a single click away, and toolbar itself is hidden until you need it.

    I use ObjectDock when I’m allowed by policy to install software, and the quick launch bars everywhere else (since they require no install and are part of Windows) …

  6. I’ve got an idea:

    Stop being lazy and clean it up. Drag and drop reorganization is a wonderful thing and takes only a few minutes.

    All this demonstrates is that you’re a slob, not that there is something wrong with your computer or how the start menu works.

  7. tzagotta says:

    James Hancock, please don’t be such a jerk.

    Alex, I think you should just a higher resolution screen, and rotate it, so that everything fits into one column. :o)

    Seriously, I’m a software developer and small business owner, and I find that I typically have lots and lots of apps loaded. I do take some time to organize my menus, especially removing shortcuts from folders that only have one item in them, and categorizing (e.g., all MS apps go into Microsoft folder, then second level is application name). Also, from time-to-time, I uninstall apps that I am not actively using. I have all the setup images on a network drive so that I can re-install an app with just a couple minutes’ effort. This works pretty well for me.

  8. PatriotB says:

    steven: Raymond did an entry on why there’s an empty xerox, movie maker, etc. folder inside of Program Files. It explains why, but there doesn’t seem to be an easy fix.

  9. philipri says:

    try out one of the latest vista builds (5270) is safe. the start – search thing totally rocks. no more trawling through the UI!

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