Tagged With start menu

Predicting the future is near impossible -- but that doesn‘t stop us all from having a red hot go. Human beings have been predicting the future since the beginning of history and the results range from the hilarious to the downright uncanny.

One thing all future predictions have in common: they‘re rooted in our current understanding of how the world works. It‘s difficult to escape that mindset. We have no idea how technology will evolve, so our ideas are connected to the technology of today.

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This is an incredibly elementary "tip", but it's been driving me crazy all week. If you click the "Power" option in the Windows 10 Start menu, you get the option to Sleep, Shut Down, or Restart. But where the heck is the Log Off button?

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One of the most controversial aspects of the Windows 8 interface is the elimination of the Start menu, even when you're in desktop mode. Microsoft maintains that the relevant code has been removed so it's impossible to access, but with one simple free utility you can restore the Start menu to your Windows 8 system.

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Windows only: If you have a system search tool you prefer over Windows XP's default—the Hive Five on the topic would indicate many of you do—RerouteXPSearch makes your Start menu use that app. Using the tool is as simple as downloading it, running the stand-alone application, and plugging in the location of the executable for your preferred search tool. In the screenshot to the left, the start menu link is being redirected to the lightning-fast search tool, Everything. After being introduced to the tool by LH AU (via Kevin) last year, it has become an absolute indispensable part of my daily work flow. RerouteXPSearch is freeware, Windows XP only.

RerouteXPSearch

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Previously mentioned Start Killer—the simple utility that frees up taskbar space by removing the Start button—now officially supports hiding the Start button in Vista and unofficially in Windows 7 (I tested it and it seemed to work just fine). Granted, the Start button doesn't eat nearly as much real estate in Windows 7 or Vista as it does XP, but if you always access it by pressing the Windows key anyway, Start Killer performs a nice little tweak that can save you much needed screen real estate. Thanks Rupert!

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Windows only: By default Windows includes your "My Pictures" and "My Music" folders in the Start Menu's right column, but you can change those defaults to folders you use more often using two handy VB scripts. The replace My Pictures VB script and the replace My Music VB script each do just that. Right-click each link to save those files to your PC, then double-click to run them. Enter the new path you want to appear in your Start Menu (even a network location, like to a shared music folder), and then you have to log off and back into your PC to see your changes. Behind the scenes, these scripts are editing your registry; if that idea makes you nervous—and it should—then do pass. I tested both successfully on my machine. These scripts are part of a huge library of Windows VB script tweaks; have a look at some more at the Kelly's Korner web site using the link below. For more fun with useful VB scripts, see the screensaver away message.

Registry Edits for Windows XP

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Windows only: Free thumb drive utility Portable Start Menu is a handy, multi-function tool for anyone who uses a USB drive to launch portable applications. The program can search out and find any self-running .exe file on a thumb drive and add it to a start menu that sits in the Windows system tray while the USB drive is plugged in. The app also has a "Quick Start" function that you can access with a shortcut to launch any program, and Portable Start Menu can create its own AutoRun file to have it launch once it's plugged in. Portable Start Menu is a free download for Windows systems only.

Portable Start Menu

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Windows only: Freeware application Start Killer hides the Start menu button, freeing up extra space on your Windows taskbar. You can still access the Start menu by hitting the Windows key, but Start Killer frees up a good chunk of taskbar real estate. You can optionally disable the Start menu altogether if you wanted to deny users access to it. Start Killer only does one thing, but there's nothing we like better than a simple tool that does exactly what it says. No Vista option as yet.

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Amit at the Digital Inspiration blog has written up a how-to on launching web sites directly from Windows Vista's Start Search box (and therefore at the tap of a "Windows" key), using Google's "I'm Feeling Lucky" function to quickly bring up the first result of a search using your entry. The hack involves using the Group Policy editor (gpedit.msc), which is unfortunately available only in the Ultimate, Business, and Enterprise editions—unless, of course, one of our intrepid readers can point us toward enabling or unlocking that feature in the Home and Basic versions. Hit the link below for yet another way to make your Windows key into a full-fledged quick-launcher.

Open Your Favourite Website Directly from Windows Vista Start Menu

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Windows only: Ever wish your Recent Documents/Items menu was a bit more, well, organised? ActualDoc Standard, a free system tray utility for Windows, separates your recently-opened items into common sense categories like "Drawings and Images," "Multimedia," "Applications," and actual "Documents"—into a right-click item in your system tray. If the "Recent" menu raises privacy concerns for you, ActualDoc can also keep Windows' built-in menu cleared and give you password-protected access. The tray icon also includes a number of folder and app-launching links to handy locations, such as Windows' application data folder and your user account documents. For those who work every day with a series of new but oft-opened documents, ActualDoc can serve as a time-saving gateway. ActualDoc Standard is a free download for Windows systems only.

ActualDoc Standard