by February 6, 2002 0 comments

If you want your favorite applications to be easily accessible, you can go about it in two ways: place a shortcut on the Quick Launch taskbar or in the Start Menu. The Quick Launch menu is quite bloated, while shortcuts in the Start Menu are close at hand, big enough to be visible and yet don’t take up space on the Taskbar. So, how about some tweaking of the Start Menu?

The Start menu is a special folder in Windows, but you can perform all operations that are possible with a normal folder and its contents on it as well. So, just drag and drop your favorite application from Explorer or even the desktop onto the Start button and voila! A shortcut appears on top in the Start menu list. You can even order these links as per your preference. Just don’t go too hard on this one or you might end up having an unmanageable menu. Windows XP takes the same concept forward and also gives you the option of Pin to Start Menu in the context menu for links in the Programs folder.

Right-click on the Start button and select Open. An explorer interface opens and shows the contents of the folder, which incidentally is also a part of your profile within Windows NT/2000 and XP. You will find a folder called Programs, which holds the contents of the Programs group and shortcuts to applications that you might have added to the Start button. All file/ folder operations are possible here. So what’s the big deal? Read on. Suppose you installed the famed ICQ chat on your machine and don’t want it in the Start Menu > Programs list. Go to the Programs folder by double-clicking it. Right-click on the folder called ICQ and go to Properties. Check the Hidden checkbox. Click Apply and the folder disappears from the list!

You could also do network sharing with the contents of this folder, though it won’t of course remotely run the applications!

The Windows NT Start Menu differs from other Windows’ OS menus in terms of the groups it shows. There is a common programs group and a profile specific group depending on the user who is logged in. Also, right-click context menu does not work in Windows NT. Other functions and features remain the same.

The Windows XP Start Menu offers a lot of customization, which can be accessed through the Customize button in Taskbar and Start Menu Properties tab. Right-clicking the Taskbar and selecting Properties in turn invokes this. You can opt to display and hide some default items like Favorites, Control panel, Help and Support.

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