Start menuThe Start menu and Start Button are user interface elements used in the later versions of the MicrosoftWindows operating systems and in some X window managers. The Start Button provides a centrallaunching point for application and tasks.On Windows operating systems before Windows Vista, the Start Button consists of the word "Start" andthe Windows Logo (the word "Start" was localized for each different language version of the system, forinstance reading Avvio in Italian). On the Windows Vista and Windows 7 desktop, the word "Start" hasbeen replaced by a blue Windows "orb" logo. However the user can revert to displaying the word"Start" and the Windows Logo by setting the theme to Windows Classic.Traditionally, the Start menu provided a customizable nested list of programs for the user to launch, aswell as a list of most recently opened documents, a way to find files and get help, and access to thesystem settings. Later enhancements via Windows Desktop Update included access to special folderslike "My Documents" and "Favorites" (browser bookmarks). Windows XPs Start menu was expanded toencompass various My Documents folders (including My Music and My Pictures), and transplantedother items like My Computer and My Network Places from the Windows desktop.The Start menu is not a truly essential feature, as programs and files can also be opened by navigating tothem in the Windows Explorer interface. However, the Start menu provides a much quicker andeasier way to open programs, even for experienced users, and consolidates a list ofprograms into one place. Microsoft uses the Start menu more in each version of Windows as a way toshield novice users from the complexities of the operating system. For example, in Windows XP, theroot, Program Files and Windows folders are hidden from the user by default, and access to programs isexpected to be achieved through the Start menu.Microsoft has stated that the Start menu will be retired as of Windows 8 and be replaced by the tabletand touch orientated Start Screen based off the new Metro UI.
Contents [hide]1 History2 Evolution3 Technical details4 Tweaks5 Start screen6 Other operating systems7 See also8 References9 Further readingHistory
The Windows 95 Start menuIn the earliest versions of Windows a program called MS-DOS Executive provided basic file managementand program menu capability. This was eventually replaced by the programs File Manager and ProgramManager in Windows 3.0, with the Program Manager taking on the role of the program menu.The Program Manager was a full windowed application, which required the whole screen to be usedeffectively. It consisted of a simple multiple document interface which allowed users to open "programgroups" and then execute the shortcuts to programs contained within.The Start menu was first introduced in Windows 95 superseding the Program Manager, beingcomparable in some respects with the Apple Macintosh "Apple Menu". It also boasted severaladvantages over the Program Manager. Program Manager had lacked the ability to nest groups withinother groups, however there was no such limitation with the Start menu, where Start menu folderscould contain sub-folders. Items could also be simply added to the Start menu by using drag-and-drop todrop program files, document files onto the Start Button.Evolution
Later developments in Internet Explorer and subsequent Windows releases have allowed users tocustomize the Start menu and access and expand Internet Explorer Favorites, My Documents andAdministrative Tools (Windows 2000 and later) from the Start menu.The most significant revision to the Start menu since its inception came in Windows XP. To help the useraccess a wider range of common destinations more easily, and to promote a greater sense of"personality", the Start menu was expanded to two columns; the left-hand column focuses on the usersinstalled applications, while the right-hand column provides access to the users documents, and systemfunctionality. Links to the Documents, Pictures and other Special Folders are brought to the fore. TheComputer and Network (Network Neighborhood in Windows 95 and 98) icons were also moved off theDesktop and into the Start menu, making it easier to access these icons while a number of applicationsare open (they could be restored optionally in the Display Properties control panel "Desktop" settings).Commonly used programs are automatically displayed in the left-hand menu, and the user may opt to"pin" programs to the Start menu so that they are always accessible without having to navigate throughthe Programs folders.In Windows Vista, the Start menu underwent some significant changes, with the taskbar button nolonger labeled "Start" but instead has the Windows orb. At the top level, the Start menu, as in WindowsXP, has two columns of menu choices. Under the default configuration, the "Run," and "Printers"options do not appear. However, those items can be added to the Start menu. One of the chief additionswith Windows Vista is a Search pane or box, where users may begin typing immediately. The contents ofthe Start menu itself are indexed and searchable, besides the global search index. If indexing is turnedon, the search box returns results on-the-fly as users type into it. This allows the Start menu to act as afast and powerful application launcher. The Start menu search also doubles as the Run command fromprevious versions of Windows; simply typing any command will execute it. The Run command can alsobe added separately to the right column in the Start menu.Another major change to the Start menu in Windows Vista is that it no longer presents the All programsmenu as a horizontally expanding cascading list which utilizes the entire screen space, but instead as anested folder view with a fixed size. The list of submenus and single items appears over the left columncontents with a Back button below it. Subfolders expand and collapse vertically within the list whensingle-clicked, in a tree-like fashion similar to Windows Explorer. Single items appear at the top andfolders appear at the bottom. Hovering the mouse over a folder does not open it; the folder needs to beclicked. A limitation of the new Start menu is that subfolders inside the All Programs menu cannot beopened simply by searching or double clicking. Also, as more programs are installed, a vertical scroll barappears between the two columns. A dynamically changing icon showing the users display picture bydefault is present at the top of the right column. It changes as users hover over any other item to reflectthat items icon. The Power buttons action is configurable through Power options in the Control Panel,
though the default setting is to put the computer into Sleep mode. Users can quickly lock their useraccount by pressing the Lock button. Additional power and account related actions are listed in a sub-menu which appears when the small arrow next to the Lock button is clicked.Like Windows XP, Windows Vista allows users to switch back to the pre-Windows XP style "Classic" Startmenu.In Windows 7, the pre-Windows XP "classic" Start menu has been removed, but an open-sourcesoftware program called "Classic Shell" can emulate it. The search box has been extended to supportsearching Control Panel items. Search results are now overlaid on both columns of the Start menu.There is now a single power-related button (instead of two buttons in Windows Vista) with all otherpower actions accessible from the secondary pop-up menu. The right column links to the respectiveLibraries instead of ordinary folders. Items on the Start menu also support Jump lists through cascadebuttons on their right.Technical detailsUsers may add entries by creating various folders and shortcuts in the Start menu folder, located on thehard drive. These appear in a separated section at the top of the Start menu, or, if placed in thePrograms sub-folder, in the Programs menu.In Windows 95, Windows 98 and Windows Me, it is located in %windir%Start menu, or, if there aremultiple users, %windir%ProfilesusernameStart menu.In Windows NT 4.0, the folder is located in %systemroot%Profiles%username%Start menu forindividual users, or %systemroot%ProfilesAll UsersStart menu for all users collectively. Onedistinguishing feature is Windows NT 4.0 is that the Start menu separated the per-user shortcuts andfolders from the All users shortcuts and folders by a separator line and used different icons for theprogram folders in per-user and All users menus as seen in this screenshot.In Windows 2000, Windows XP, and Windows Server 2003, the folder is located in %userprofile%Startmenu for individual users, or %allusersprofile%Start menu for all users collectively.In Windows Vista, the folder is located in %appdata%MicrosoftWindowsStart menu for individualusers, or %programdata%MicrosoftWindowsStart menu for all users collectively.
In Windows 7, Windows Server 2008, and Windows 8, the folder is located in%appdata%MicrosoftWindowsStart menu for individual users, orC:ProgramDataMicrosoftWindowsStart menu for all users collectively.Prior to Windows Vista, the folder name "Start menu" had a different name on non-English versions ofWindows. For example, on German versions of Windows XP it is "Startmenü". Windows installersgenerally use the Windows API to find out the real names and locations of the Start menu and Desktopfolders. However, since Windows Vista, all Versions of Windows use the same English named folders andonly display different names in the Windows Explorer.TweaksThe Windows Power Toy TweakUI offers many other customizations, including speeding up the responsetime of the Start menu, window animation, and other "power user" hacks. On Windows XP andWindows Vista, it is possible to prevent specific applications from appearing in the recent programs listby modifying the Windows registry.Start screenThe Start screen in Windows 8The Start screen is the successor of the Start menu. This feature is present in Windows Phone 7,Windows 8, Windows Server 2012 and Windows Phone 8. The Start screen is designed for touchinteraction and uses dynamic tiles instead of static computer icons to represent applications. Suchtiles may update the user of the status of software. For example, the tile for the Messages app can showrecent messages the user has received.
Since Windows 8 does not feature a Start button in the taskbar, the Start screen is accessed by eitherclicking the lower left corner of the screen, or by pressing the Start button on the Charm bar. In addition,the Windows key on the keyboard or on the mobile devices also invokes the Start screen.Other operating systemsThe Start menu is also present in releases of Windows CE and Windows Mobile. In Windows MobileStandard, which runs on Smartphones, the Start menu, produces a separate screen of icons. The Startmenu in Windows CE and Windows Mobile Standard is, by default, located at the bottom of the screen;in Windows Mobile Classic or Professional, however, it is located at the top of the screen.The Linux Mint Cinnamon Start menuUbuntu Start menu (part of the Unity desktop environment)
KDE Kickoff Application LauncherInterfaces similar to Start menu can also be found amongst Linux distributions as the following Windowmanagers provide an interface similar to Start menu:CinnamonFVWM95GNOMEIceWMFVWM95GNOMEIceWMJWMKDE
MY COMPUTERMy ComputerA section of Microsoft Windows that was introduced with therelease of Microsoft Windows 95 and included with all versionsof Windows after that. My Computer allows the user to explorethe contents of their computer drives as well as manage theircomputer files. In the pictures to the right, are examples of theMy Computer icon in Microsoft Windows XP and justComputer, which was introduced with Windows Vista. Althoughthe name has changed, this icon still acts the same as MyComputer.How to open My computerGet to the Windows Desktop.
Double-click the My Computer icon, this icon is almost alwayslocated on the top-left portion of the desktop and should looksimilar to the icon shown earlier. Below are two examples ofwhat should appear when My Computer is open.Drive listing in My Computer
Browsing My Computer in Windows 2000You can also access My Computer or Computer through the startmenu, as shown below.Using My ComputerOnce My Computer is open youll see all available drives on yourcomputer. For most users, youll only be concerned with the
Local Disc (C:) drive, which is the hard drive and what stores allyour files. Double-click this drive icon to open it and view of itscontents.Tip: If youre looking for a document such as a word processorfile youve created, music file, picture, or other personal file itslikely that its contained in your documents folder. This folder isdisplayed in My computer as a folder and usually contains yourname. For example, if your username was John, this folderwould be named Johns Documents.Finding files in My ComputerIf youre having trouble finding where one of your files is stored,use the Windows find feature to find the file. To do this fromwithin My Computer either click on File and then Search orright-click on the C: drive or other folder you wish to search andclick Search.In the Search window, type the name or part of the name of thefile youre trying to find.
Adjust system settings with your computerIf you wish to manage your computer or view other settings andinformation about your computer instead of double-clicking theMy Computer icon to open it, right-click on the My Computericon and click Properties. Performing these steps will open yourSystem Properties (the same window accessible through theControl Panel).
Window explorerWindows Explorer is a file manager application and also a navigation tool that is included with releasesof the Microsoft Windows operating system from Windows 95 onwards. It provides a graphical userinterface for accessing the file systems. It is also the component of the operating system that presentsmany user interface items on the monitor such as the taskbar and desktop. Controlling the computer ispossible without Windows Explorer running (for example, the File | Run command in Task Manager onNT-derived versions of Windows will function without it, as will commands typed in a command promptwindow). Located in the C:Windows directory, it is sometimes referred to as the Windows shell,explorer.exe, or simply “Explorer”.