Where is the classic start menu in Windows 7


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Because the superbar/new start menu is an awkward mess. :) It's not "easy" to me at all. You can't look and see what documents are open just by glancing at the taskbar anymore, you have to move and click the mouse more. (I'm tracking this with a mouse monitor. Windows 7 greatly increases mouse travel and clicks for me.)

I'm used to having so many windows open that with the old taskbar I couldn't see what I was looking at just by glancing, I'd have to click everything, so it has certainly improved things for me.

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I'm used to having so many windows open that with the old taskbar I couldn't see what I was looking at just by glancing, I'd have to click everything, so it has certainly improved things for me.

Trust me, I did. As well as the problem I have with the back/forward/location/search bar on EVERY window that I can't remove, the disappearing icons in the treeview (plus the lack of lines that I hear you can turn back on, but I haven't found the setting yet), the fact that the "Organize" bar cannot be removed, as well as the "search window" in the start menu. In fact, I even complained that I can't make the start menu one column and smaller. I also complained that you can't avoid Libraries if you don't want to use them. They are shoved down your throat around every corner. Also, the fact that the task manager doesn't show the CPU/Memory usage of services running. Win7 is nearly impossible to "minimalize" and get the OS out of your way. That's what an OS is to me. Something that runs my stuff and doesn't force some of it's "features" on me.

BTW, I f*cking HATE the ribbon!

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Win7 is nearly impossible to "minimalize" and get the OS out of your way.

Andir you made basically the same comment on Engadget earlier today and then provided a list of UI changes that you object to because they extend or modify functionality that you are used to. This and your comment about the ribbon lead me to believe that that you just have trouble with change.

If you just took the time to learn how these new features work you might understand the benefits they offer. For example, I think the Ribbon is probably the greatest innovation that Microsoft have come up with in years and I'm more productive in Office 2007 than I've ever been in any other Office product. Sure, it took some getting used to but I'm now using features that I didn't even know existed in Office and I'm producing better documents because of it. I cringe when I have to use earlier versions of Office.

Libraries in Win 7 (which you also object to) are the same. They provide functionality that was sadly lacking in Vista and earlier versions of Windows. For instance, I keep all my documents and media on a WHS and in Vista I couldn't redirect the default document shortcuts on the Start menu without slightly breaking their functionality. With Libraries I can just add a link to the relevant share on my WHS and I'm good to go. It's still clear to me where my documents are but I can pool files in a number of locations into one convenient location. How could you object to that or say that it's the OS "getting in your way"?

You need to be more flexible in your approach and give the new Start menu a try. Objecting to the size of the Start menu or the fact that it includes features that you don't use makes no sense. How often is the Start menu open and getting in the way???

A real power user would learn to embrace and master these sort of enhancements, not object to them like a noob.

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Well said. I think the resistance to change is the hardest thing, I don't think Microsoft should be afraid to implement newer and greater functionality because people don't want to learn how do do something new.

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Trust me, I did. As well as the problem I have with the back/forward/location/search bar on EVERY window that I can't remove, the disappearing icons in the treeview (plus the lack of lines that I hear you can turn back on, but I haven't found the setting yet), the fact that the "Organize" bar cannot be removed, as well as the "search window" in the start menu. In fact, I even complained that I can't make the start menu one column and smaller. I also complained that you can't avoid Libraries if you don't want to use them. They are shoved down your throat around every corner. Also, the fact that the task manager doesn't show the CPU/Memory usage of services running. Win7 is nearly impossible to "minimalize" and get the OS out of your way. That's what an OS is to me. Something that runs my stuff and doesn't force some of it's "features" on me.

BTW, I f*cking HATE the ribbon!

Dude, you hate... a LOT of stuff. Where's all this anger coming from?

I myself understand that making everything removable not only expends engineering and design energy, but introduces the potential for inconsistency and confusion. I only have a problem when features are missing. I don't see why a feature's existence should bother me if it doesn't obstruct me from doing what I do.

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Well said. I think the resistance to change is the hardest thing, I don't think Microsoft should be afraid to implement newer and greater functionality because people don't want to learn how do do something new.

For sure. I'm loving a lot of the features in Windows 7, they're pretty minor improvements but they improve the experience a lot. The jump lists in the new start menu wouldn't be possible with the classic one. Clearly jump lists are a very useful feature - hover over an item for a second and you get all the previously opened documents. There were some improvements that they made in earlier versions, but really the changes they've made are some of the largest since Windows 95.

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Andir you made basically the same comment on Engadget earlier today and then provided a list of UI changes that you object to because they extend or modify functionality that you are used to. This and your comment about the ribbon lead me to believe that that you just have trouble with change.

If you just took the time to learn how these new features work you might understand the benefits they offer. For example, I think the Ribbon is probably the greatest innovation that Microsoft have come up with in years and I'm more productive in Office 2007 than I've ever been in any other Office product. Sure, it took some getting used to but I'm now using features that I didn't even know existed in Office and I'm producing better documents because of it. I cringe when I have to use earlier versions of Office.

Libraries in Win 7 (which you also object to) are the same. They provide functionality that was sadly lacking in Vista and earlier versions of Windows. For instance, I keep all my documents and media on a WHS and in Vista I couldn't redirect the default document shortcuts on the Start menu without slightly breaking their functionality. With Libraries I can just add a link to the relevant share on my WHS and I'm good to go. It's still clear to me where my documents are but I can pool files in a number of locations into one convenient location. How could you object to that or say that it's the OS "getting in your way"?

You need to be more flexible in your approach and give the new Start menu a try. Objecting to the size of the Start menu or the fact that it includes features that you don't use makes no sense. How often is the Start menu open and getting in the way???

A real power user would learn to embrace and master these sort of enhancements, not object to them like a noob.

People, this is a post that is spot on...

+100 000 000 :D

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Andir you made basically the same comment on Engadget earlier today and then provided a list of UI changes that you object to because they extend or modify functionality that you are used to. This and your comment about the ribbon lead me to believe that that you just have trouble with change.

If you just took the time to learn how these new features work you might understand the benefits they offer. For example, I think the Ribbon is probably the greatest innovation that Microsoft have come up with in years and I'm more productive in Office 2007 than I've ever been in any other Office product. Sure, it took some getting used to but I'm now using features that I didn't even know existed in Office and I'm producing better documents because of it. I cringe when I have to use earlier versions of Office.

Libraries in Win 7 (which you also object to) are the same. They provide functionality that was sadly lacking in Vista and earlier versions of Windows. For instance, I keep all my documents and media on a WHS and in Vista I couldn't redirect the default document shortcuts on the Start menu without slightly breaking their functionality. With Libraries I can just add a link to the relevant share on my WHS and I'm good to go. It's still clear to me where my documents are but I can pool files in a number of locations into one convenient location. How could you object to that or say that it's the OS "getting in your way"?

You need to be more flexible in your approach and give the new Start menu a try. Objecting to the size of the Start menu or the fact that it includes features that you don't use makes no sense. How often is the Start menu open and getting in the way???

A real power user would learn to embrace and master these sort of enhancements, not object to them like a noob.

I gave the new start menu a try. It's pointless to me. I put my files in locations where I know where they are. I organize my data by type (utility, application, game, etc.) and I do that currently with the quick launch ability to menu if you minimize it. I strip down my start menu in the same manner. It acts like Gnome does by default. This works for me very well and I can find the stuff easily without digging through menus and it allows me to turn off indexing and other services that eat up resources that I don't use or need because I keep my machine organized. If I were to pin all my utilities to the task bar, it would quickly turn into a conglomeration of icons that would make finding an application harder (not easier) since I'd have to hover over each icon until I found the right one. I suppose you'd take offense to someone telling you you need to wear a little camera device on your forehead that keeps track out how many people you see on a daily basis and indexes them in the off chance that you need to recall the one person with blue eyes and lopsided ears. It's roughly the same for me. It's a service I don't need and I usually turn it off. It's my choice (for now) and there's really nothing wrong with that.

The ribbon is also a needless change to me as well. Currently things are organized by function and are in "logical" locations. If I need to change the locations, I can easily do so by right clicking on it and customizing tool bars or digging through ribbon options to get to. I can do this in ANY application that uses these tool bars (even File Explorer, which leads me to my next point of problem...)

You cannot customize (AKA: remove, move, etc.) the new back/forward/location/search boxes in Vista/Win7. In XP/2K's window manager, I can customize these buttons and locations in XP to shrink the entire Explorer experience up into 1 or 2 bars since I have a wide screen monitor. In Win7/Vista, they re-introduced static tool bars that have to reside on their own line taking up screen real estate. You cannot remove items you don't use (like the Organize bar) and the file menu is now an entity on it's own, unmovable. (Or at least I haven't found a way to unlock it yet)

Overall, Vista/Win7 only serve to get more in the way by eating up more and more screen space. This is what I was talking about by getting in the way. I cannot list as many files on my screen as I can in XP. I cannot view an entire tree of directories and folders like I could before. Even when I list most of them, it's harder to read since they removed the lines from the tree view. It's also harder to see if folders have children because they hide the +/- icons in the tree if you don't have focus on it. Why? What purpose does hiding these serve? I can only assume you are not a programmer or do any actual work on your PC because you apparently never have deeply nested directory structures containing different source, libraries, media, assets, engines, and other things needed to develop with. I have multiple language packages installed. VS, C/C++ tools, Ruby, Python, Actionscript/Flash, and a bunch of things that I use (not on a daily basis, but when I need them, I know exactly where I put the icons to start them) and keeping track of these and their related files is more difficult to do in Vista/7.

Configuration, I've found more recently, takes more actions to complete. Previously, I could click about 3 times to change a setting. Now that's changed into about 5 clicks or more to navigate around the various extra screens and crap. I cannot quickly preview how much CPU/Memory a service I built is taking up anymore now that they moved services to their own tab in Task Manager. I could go on describing every little detail, but it's needless hampering in order to make it easier for someone who might do it once in their life when I might deal with it 5-6 times a day.

I also don't see where you would break any kind of functionality by creating a shortcut to an MP3 in another mapped drive in your media folder. Heck, there are even tools to map drives to folders in XP/2K so you could point your media folder right to the server. Also, changing the path to this isn't hard (it's not click and play, but it's not hard) to do and doesn't break any functionality that I'm aware of. Libraries are a simple method for this, but for my purposes, I don't need them and shouldn't be forced to use them just because they are there. I keep my music on my Linux File server and mapped my Music folder right to that server. I haven't lost any functionality that I know of or apparently need since the music plays and I can still see the tag data.

So, in reality I'm really not afraid of change as you so elegantly put it by calling me a "noob" (which I take offense to.) You can only guess as to my work process, profession, or amount of data that I manage on a daily basis and calling me names for my preferences only shows your ignorance for other people and their preferences or needs. You strike me as a person who criticizes a person complaining about a company for removing a wheelchair lift because it just confuses people that don't know how to use it. Change should not come at the expense of functionality. You wouldn't buy another car that didn't have a radio because somebody else can't figure out the dials and the manufacturer thought it was easier just to remove the radio altogether.

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Hey guys, first-time poster long-time reader.

I think there are a lot of good points on either side of the argument as to whether or not the new Win7/Vista start menu or the Classic Start menu is superior, and I also think there's a lot of poor points too. I can see why people might think Andir is just "resistant to change", and I can see why he's frustrated with people who are quite the opposite, people who change just because something is new. I am probably going to be viewed as a "resistant to change" person after my post, but I want to make a few points anyway, and elaborate on some that were posted here, from the perspective of a "casual" windows user.

When I am at home, I use Windows pretty much exclusively for games. I used to use it for everything, but in the past few years, I've switched over to Mac for all my home-productivity needs and hobbies. Obviously, the big failing in Mac OS is still there: no games. So I have Windows to fill that niche.

So far, my experience with Windows 7 hasn't been all that bad. I have some serious problems with the new start menu though. First off though let me tell you what I like about it. I like that it has a search system built in that is pretty damn fast. I also will probably end up using the "games" menu a lot due to the fact that is what I primarily use Windows for in the first place. I still need to explore more on how to add/remove things from it so that in the event of a reformat (Which on XP I do on a monthly basis) I am able to quickly restore my game menu to working order.

Now on to my problem with it.

When I come home from work, and I want to play games, mah brain don' work gud, so I tend to rely on context to get me through the rest of the day. I like seeing all my options before me so I can remember where I was from moment to moment. I know that sounds pathetic, but it's the truth. Many times I know what I want to do but my brain doesn't express it in something that can be typed into a search box. Sometimes I just want to see my options. The Windows Start menu in the past has served me well, expanding the full list of everything installed on my machine, fully expanded, without scrolling, taking up as much screen real-estate as it needs, because when I hit the start button, THAT is my focus. And as soon as I select something in the list, it goes back away, giving me all my screen back. It's a great instant-view of activities available for me. The new Vista/Win7 menu takes up only a small portion of the screen. It looks nice, much nicer actually, and it has some useful links baked into it, but as soon as I go to the programs list, I've found that the available list space is CONSTRICTING. Even without ANYTHING installed on my machine, the list is JUST big enough to show what is installed by default on the machine. The moment you expand any program folder, it goes past the edge and off the screen, readable only by scrolling. No longer is everything just rolled out before me. Now I have to scroll for anything after the first 20 or so items. This does not mesh with how I do things.

I do not understand why the Start Menu feels it has to keep itself quarantined in the lower-left portion of the screen, when it is a "momentary" action that takes focus. It's not a status system you need to keep pinned to the screen, it's an instant-action system that is gone the moment it has done its task. Even if it popped to the top of the screen, so there's a little more room before scrolling, it would be much more useful to me. Are there any options to give that programs list more screen real-estate, classic menu or no?

The other thing I don't understand is if the option was available in XP and Vista to disable the "new" start menu, why remove it completely in Windows 7? I think having options for people is a GOOD thing. I understand that you folks siding with progress think that the only way to move forward is to not look back, but computers are supposed to be our tools. They are supposed to be configurable to taste, and they should be comfortable to operate. If there's a large disparity between two relatively similar sized groups about two different ways of doing something, why not have an option to satisfy both? Is it going to hurt one group or the other if the settings can be changed?

Anyway, thanks for reading, end of rant.

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The reason for removing old features is compatibility creates stability and security problems. If they remove features there are less lines of code to debug, and it keeps the system leaner.

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The other thing I don't understand is if the option was available in XP and Vista to disable the "new" start menu, why remove it completely in Windows 7? I think having options for people is a GOOD thing. I understand that you folks siding with progress think that the only way to move forward is to not look back, but computers are supposed to be our tools. They are supposed to be configurable to taste, and they should be comfortable to operate. If there's a large disparity between two relatively similar sized groups about two different ways of doing something, why not have an option to satisfy both? Is it going to hurt one group or the other if the settings can be changed?

Anyway, thanks for reading, end of rant.

Choice is good, but Microsoft made a conscious and studied decision to remove the old start menu. From their Windows Experience data, they found few people still use the feature while the majority never bothered. Now, from a business, design, and coding perspectives, it's far easier (and less costly) to remove a rarely used feature than to restructure and retest the old feature. The New Start Menu is supposed to replace it.

The new menu is far more powerful. Want to launch Photoshop? Hit WinKey and start typing "photosh" ... Press Enter

Want to launch Disk Defragmenter? Hit WinKey and start typing "defra" ... Press Enter

Want to open the drive C: quickly? Hit WinKey and start typing "C:\" ... Press Enter

With just a little practice, you can launch almost any program within 3 seconds.

Edited by KevinN206
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The new menu is far more powerful. Want to launch Photoshop? Hit WinKey and start typing "photosh" ... Press Enter

Want to launch Disk Defragmenter? Hit WinKey and start typing "defra" ... Press Enter

Want to open the drive C: quickly? Hit WinKey and start typing "C:\" ... Press Enter

I mentioned in my post that I did like the search feature, but I also mentioned that I am not always completely sure what I am going into the start menu for when I click it, rendering the search method not terribly useful. One could argue that in a productive environment, I'd know what I was looking for, but as I said, Windows is effectively a toy-chest for me, I run my productivity software on Mac, or at work on XP.

Also, calling the whole menu "more powerful" just because of one feature that could easily be added to the old menu in lieu of say the "Run..." dialog, or even could be an entirely separate system, is pretty weak. At the cost of presenting hypotheticals, would you still think the menu was "more powerful" if it did not have the search capability?

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I certainly prefer the new start menu for a number of reasons. In XP and Vista I didn't care for it, particularly since Vista's search feature was 1 step forward 1 step back. It did some new stuff while taking away what I expected from XP and earlier versions. The new one, particularly with the jump lists is pretty nice, I also like the parallel look, having control panel on one side, and apps on the other side, as well as integrated jump lists. It's more powerful for a number of reasons, not just the improved alternative to run.

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I'm sorry, but this is going to not go down too well with some. But **** anyone who wants the classic menu back. Seriously. Off with you. Living in the past will get you nothing. If it aint broke don't mend it. But if its better use it. And I do. Using the classic menu now would be like using an old Nokia 5110 over an iPhone.

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I mentioned in my post that I did like the search feature, but I also mentioned that I am not always completely sure what I am going into the start menu for when I click it, rendering the search method not terribly useful.

So basically you're saying that when you hit Start you have no idea what you want to do, and you'll know the program you want to open when you see it? Bit of advice: that sounds like a way I'd drain hours of time on my computer. It's better to use it as a tool than a toy chest.

At the cost of presenting hypotheticals, would you still think the menu was "more powerful" if it did not have the search capability?

Not much, but yes because of the MRU and the organization. The issue here is that from testing, it's discovered that most people dislike a flyout of menus covering their screen. You and a few others happen to like it. This is one of those features where supporting and coding for choice or an option would mean higher risk of instability, more effort for debugging, less compatability, etc. I'm all for choice too but I pick my battles.

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I like the new start menu.....

the reason is, it take less mouse movement than the classic one.

It fix the area that the mouse have to move to get what you want.

The downside is you need several clicking but i think its ok for me because most of the

menu item wouldn't have more than 2 level.

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I don't always open the same things - so pinning is not worth it. Typing in what I want is a waste of time - when I could point to it with my mouse (like with classic menu) or couple of clicks (in All Programs).

Waste of time?

Pressing the windowsbutton and writing one word is way faster than even lifting your hand and placing it on the mouse. To also read through a list to find your program and then move the mouse there, often through more than one menulevel.....not even comparable.

But i can agree that if you are using someone elses computer, like in school, and want to let's say edit a picture. Then it's faster to read through a list and see what kind of photo-editing programs they have. Instead of having to type photoshop, wait...hmm maybe not. paint.net, wait... not that eighter. Etc etc.

Anyway, if you want to be able to see more programs when you press the "all programs" button you can edit the number of most recent apps to show, if you set this to 20 instead of 10 you will probably fill your entire screen-height.

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Typing to open programs is a backwards step to me. GUI came along to stop having to type program names in to start programs like we did at the command line. I use so many programs I have to damn near type out the whole program name so the "better search" system so many hear tout as being so great, does not open the wrong program. Then I have to remember all those exe names to start the ton of different programs I use. It is a MAJOR step backwards. GUI and mouse clicking was the advancement from typing, now we go back to typing to open programs. :wacko:

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Typing to open programs is a backwards step to me. GUI came along to stop having to type program names in to start programs like we did at the command line. I use so many programs I have to damn near type out the whole program name so the "better search" system so many hear tout as being so great, does not open the wrong program. Then I have to remember all those exe names to start the ton of different programs I use. It is a MAJOR step backwards. GUI and mouse clicking was the advancement from typing, now we go back to typing to open programs. :wacko:

Typing is more efficient. If you know what you're looking for, command line works better. If you're a new user, the GUI helps you find things. That's also why the Ribbon is better in Office. The standard menu interface was used in DOS, the Ribbon actually lets you find things. You'll note that people who know Office really well don't find an improvement with Office 2007. It's good to have an improved UI, but it's also good to have easy access to typing.

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Well, I'm one of 'grumpy' people who prefer the 'old ways'.

I miss old Start menu. While new search feature might be nice&fast, I still liked old way.

Also, another thing that puts me somewhat off - and is also thing in Vista - is look of windows themselves. Too thick borders, too many space wasted in folders windows, etc.. basically I need to use 1/4 of screen to be able to check even smallest folders. Yet another issue is taskbar - icons have grown quite a lot, and there's big space between them. At work I usually have some 15-20 windows (2 monitors), and I still can very fast & easy choose which window I need from there. With new way it's just too much cluttered, as icons are just... too big.

I like new things, I like progress, but I also value usability.

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