John Bryant
Arizona Computer Consultant
(602) 861-1738

Power Computing
Part III - Power from the START

(November, 2000)

During the previous two parts of this series, I showed you how to increase your computer speed and efficiency by working from the keyboard and remaining as “rodent free” as possible. This month, we will explore the power behind the “Start” button and give you several ways to personalize and streamline your Windows Start menu.

Start Me Up

Every Windows 95, 98 and 2000 system is adorned with the cute little “Start” button. Click on this button and all of your programs are listed in a maze of icons called the Start Menu.

The programmers at Microsoft thought of everything when then built the Start Menu feature - speed, power, completeness, cool looks, etc. Unfortunately, simplicity and clarity don’t appear to have been high priorities. Below are a few tips to simplify the Start Menu and make it easier to use.

The Start Key

Look between you CTRL and ALT keys on the keyboard. Do you see a key with a little Windows symbol? Press it. Viola! That key activates the start button without using the mouse. If you don’t have a button like this on your keyboard, don’t worry - Ctrl+Esc will do the same thing.

What a Drag

Are you tired of clicking through 4 or 5 “levels” on the start menu, just to start a program? Don’t you wish you could put those @#$(*&##!! icons someplace useful - like the desktop, or the first level on the start menu? You can!

Locate the icon you need on the start menu. Click (yes, with the mouse) and drag the icon onto the desktop or somewhere else on the start menu. The icon will be moved to it’s new spot.

Have It Your Way

Would you like to really soup up your start menu? This next step might take a little practice, but it’s worth it.

Right-click on the Start button and choose Open.

A window will appear with all the icons from your Start Menu.

From here, you can move, copy, delete or rename any icon in your start menu. You can drag icons from this window onto your desktop ... or from your desktop to the start menu!

Explore a Little More...

If you are at all familiar with the Windows Explorer (you probably are and don’t know it), this next trick is really spiffy...

Right click the Start button and choose Explore. From here, you can customize and clean up the Start Menu like a pro.


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