Why doesn’t the new Start menu use Intellimenus in the All Programs list?


Common request:

I want to be able to turn on personalized menus (Intellimenus) when in XP Start Menu mode.

Imagine if Intellimenus were enabled with the XP Start Menu.

You use 5 apps; the rest are not used much. (Studies show that 5 is the typical number of unique applications users run on a regular basis. All the rest are rare.)

Those 5 apps are on the MFU.

You decide today you want to run some other app, one of those other apps that you run rarely.

You click All Programs.

You can't find the app because it got chevroned away. It got chevroned away because it's a rare app, by definition ... if it were a popular app it would be on the MFU already!

If you are a naive user, you say "Hey, who uninstalled all my apps? It's missing from All Programs!" It's kind of a misnomer to call it "All Programs" when in fact it doesn't show all your programs.

If you are an experienced user, you say, "Sigh, why do I have to keep clicking this chevron? The whole reason I'm going to 'All Programs' is that I want to run an app I haven't run in a long time, duh. The chevrons should be pre-expanded, save me a click!"

In other words, if we had Intellimenus enabled on All Programs, it would just show you your MFU again, since the MFU and Intellimenus are both showing the same information, just in different ways. That's clearly pointless.

Think of "All Programs" as a really big chevron. The MFU is the collapsed version. All Programs is the expanded version.

Comments (8)
  1. Kevin Dente says:

    My question is why does the MFU have to be on the top level of the Start Menu, thereby randomly changing the keyboard accelerators for the Start Menu depending on what apps you’ve run recently. Does no one use the keyboard any more?

  2. milbertus says:

    Wow…I had no idea that you could use the keyboard to select items in the MFU. Nice. I do see your point about it messing up the accelerators, though. Maybe it was put at the top/beginning, because if the programs are frequently used (which they are, since they’re in the MFU), then shouldn’t be be easily accessible, i.e. at the beginning of the list?

  3. Andreas Häber says:

    To fix the accelerator problem, just right-click on the item and choose properties. Under the shortcut tab you’ll see you can give it a shortcut key.

    Raymond Chen: Keep up writing articles about the Windows UI – it’s great to read about :-) I’m looking forward to see how the "Longhorn" shell turns out. Hopefully you can discuss some of the changes there after the PDC?

  4. Baelson Duque says:

    Part of the problem that I hate about the MFU is that it seems to include apps that I never run manually, but that are in the Startup folder (e.g. MSN Messenger) or apps that I have tied to my MS Keyboard Shortcuts (i.e. WMP9).

    I should be smart enough to exclude those and just include the apps that the user actually launches.

  5. Raymond Chen says:

    The designers decide how things should be laid out on the screen, and they decided that "name across the top, pinned items at top left, MFU below the pinned items, All Programs under pinned items; storage places on the right; shutdown options at the bottom" was the most aesthetically pleasing arrangement. They went through quite a few variations before settling on that one.

    Yes, it messes up keyboard accelerators. Secret shame: I don’t use it myself. I use the Classic Start menu for precisely this reason.

    There is a separate "wake-up" rule for how programs launched by other means wander onto your Start menu MFU. I’ve made a note to discuss this in a future blog entry.

  6. Jason Spiro says:

    I wonder if PC Magazine’s RUPL (Recently Used Prorgams List) version 2 utility, which now costs money, works in XP. It creates a "Recently Used" folder in "C:WindowsStart Menu" and populates it with MRU items.

  7. Jason Spiro says:

    Try
    http://ftp.se.kde.org/pub/simtelnet/msdos/pcmag/v16n02.zip — a 111k zipfile which includes RUPL version 2.

  8. Spong says:

    Sometimes, the accelerator keys are still workable, or even better than you think.

    As an example, in the Win9X days, we learned that start, Run was Winkey, then R. This was all OK, it brought up the Start menu, then Run.

    MFU mucks that up, but Winkey + R turns out to be Run without even touching the Start menu.

    Likewise Winkey + F is Find (er, Search), and so on.

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