Customizing Windows Vista’s Desktop
Getting Around the Start Menu
The Start button is the gateway to your computer’s menu system. Clicking the Start
button displays the Start menu. You can also display the Start menu by pressing the
Windows logo key on your keyboard.
The Start menu allows you to run programs, open folders, search your computer, get
help, and more. As with Windows XP, the Start menu in Windows Vista has two views:
The standard Start menu is the default view and provides easy access to pro-
grams, folders, and search.
The classic Start menu is an alternative view that provides the look of the Start
menu in Windows 2000 and earlier releases of Windows.
In most cases, you’ll want to use the standard Start menu rather than the classic Start
menu, because the standard Start menu includes enhancements that make it easier to
access programs and folders on your computer. It is also more customizable.
For the purposes of the discussion in this section, I’ll assume you are
using the standard Start menu. You can switch between the standard
and classic Start menus at any time by right-clicking the Start button
and then selecting Properties. In the Taskbar and Start Menu Proper-
ties dialog box, the Start Menu tab is selected by default. Click Start
Menu to use the standard Start menu, or click Classic Start Menu to
use the classic Start menu. Click OK to apply the settings.
The standard Start menu in Windows Vista is organized differently than in Windows
XP. See Figure 2-3 for an example of the standard Start menu in Windows Vista.
The standard Start menu has four key areas:
The programs list in the left pane displays recently used programs and programs
that have been pinned to the Start menu.
Common folders and features
The common folders and features options in the right pane provide quick access
to the folders and features used most often.
The control buttons in the lower portion of the right pane include the Power,
Lock, and Options buttons used to control the state of the computer.
The Search box in the lower portion of the left pane allows you to search your
entire computer for files, folders, or programs.
I discuss these Start menu features in the sections that follow.