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Windows 7: Any way to make folders in Start Menu - All Programs expandable

24 Jun 2010   #21
ander

Windows 7, of course
 
 
Here's one way to do it...

I really like Windows 7's Start Menu Search box—but yes, I miss XP's expandable Start Menu too. For one thing, it's easier to see how everything's laid out when you can, you know, see how everything's laid out. ;?)

I understand MS's reasons for confining the new Start Menu to a single column that uses clicks rather than hovering. Some people aren't that adroit with the mouse and find accurate hovering difficult. And some may have found all those cascading menus intimidating.

If you want an expandable Start Menu—or something that acts just like it—and you don't want to use third-party software, there's a way you can create one right in Windows.

When you open your Start Menu, you're really just looking at a bunch of items in a folder called "Start Menu". You can add a custom toolbar to your taskbar that points to this same folder, shows the same contents, and acts like the "classic" expandable Start Menu.

You won't hurt anything by creating this extra toolbar—and if you decide you don't want it, you can easily remove it—however, you may want to read the rest of this post before you decide whether to do it or not:

1. Open the folder containing your Start Menu shortcuts: Click Start; right-click All Programs; then click Open.

2. Make the window wide enough so that you can see the folder's complete address in the address bar. It should be something like this:

C:\Users\[your user name]\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu

3. Right-click an empty area of your taskbar; point to Toolbars; then click "New toolbar...".

4. A window appears that says "New Toolbar - Choose a Folder". Now either:

a. Browse to your Start Menu folder (consulting the address in the first window)

- or -


b. Select and copy the address from your Start Menu window's address bar, then paste it into the "Choose a Folder" window's "Folder:" box.

5. Click the "Select Folder" button.

6. A new "Start Menu" toolbar appears on your taskbar.

To open the new toolbar, click the small white arrows next to its title. You'll see that it acts just like the "classic" Start Menu: When you hover on a folder, it expands; when you click a shortcut, it runs.

And as in a real Start Menu, the usual mouse-driven file operations are available:

_ You can drag any item in the toolbar from one folder to another.

_ Right-click an item, and the usual context-menu commands are available (Copy, Paste, Delete, etc.).

_ You can copy or move items by right-click-dragging them to another folder in the toolbar, then releasing the mouse button and clicking a command in the context menu.

Be aware that any changes you make to your Start Menu Toolbar will affect your real Start Menu too—because those are the actual shortcuts and folders your real Start Menu refers to.

The only thing you can't do with your Start Menu Toolbar is rearrange shortcuts or folders in the same folder or subfolder. They'll always appear alphabetized. (Why? Probably for the same reason Windows 7 insists on keeping everything in file windows automatically sorted: Microsoft thinks they know more about how we want to use our PCs than we do. :?| )

There's something else to consider:

Some apps install their shortcuts to the "All Users" Start Menu folder, not your personal Start Menu folder. Your real Start Menu shows the contents of both of these folders. If you want your Start Menu Toolbar to show them all, you must copy the "All Users" Start Menu shortcuts to your personal Start Menu. Here's how:

1. Be sure your personal Start Menu's folder is open (Step 1 above).

2. Open the "All Users" Start Menu folder: Click Start; right-click All Programs; then click Open All Users.

3. Copy any folders and/or shortcuts you want from the "All Users" folder to your personal Start Menu folder. (It doesn't matter if they're in both.) They'll now appear in your Start Menu Toolbar too.

Whenever you install a new app, if its shortcuts don't appear in your Start Menu Toolbar, that means they were installed to the "All Users" Start Menu—so you'll need to repeat Steps 1-3 here if you want to see them in your toolbar.

If you decide you don't want your Start Menu Toolbar, it's easy to remove: Right-click an empty place on your taskbar; point to Toolbars; then click "Start Menu" to unselect it and remove it from the list.

Have fun!


My System SpecsSystem Spec
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25 Jun 2010   #22
zamar21

Win 7
 
 

Thanks ander! Very interesting method...

Of course, enabling adding filters in Start Menu - All Programs would be a more elegant way to organize things in terms of not affecting complete programs uninstall or messing up with actual folder structure in All Programs. As to your saying that mouse hover eliminates clicks thus creating inconvenience for some novice users, that's not accurate, as mouse hover feature merely complements folder expansion on clicks, which still remains available to those who want to use it.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
26 Jun 2010   #23
ander

Windows 7, of course
 
 

Quote:
As to your saying that mouse hover eliminates clicks thus creating inconvenience for some novice users, that's not accurate, as mouse hover feature merely complements folder expansion on clicks, which still remains available to those who want to use it.
It's been a while since I've used XP, so I wasn't sure. If you hover on a folder, the folder expands; but if you click the folder, doesn't it open a window on that folder? (Maybe not...)

Having watched my 80-year-old mother-in-law try to negotiate XP's Start Menu, I know that some people must find Win 7's one-column version easier to negotiate.

But it would be good to have a choice, of course—which I think was your point. Cheers, A.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
.

27 Jun 2010   #24
zamar21

Win 7
 
 

As you noted, I ment to complement folder expansion on click in Win 7 with its expansion within the same Pan on mouse hover, and in addition allow in Start Menu Prefs optional folder expansion by cascading its subfolders beyond Start Menu Pans. Wasn't talking about Win XP, as I have no nostalgia for any software, just improvement suggestions for current versions.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
29 Jun 2010   #25
ander

Windows 7, of course
 
 

Sorry, you've lost me... But I guess that's why technical writing is such a speciality, eh?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
03 Jul 2010   #26
Ivo

Windows 7 Home 64, Vista Ultimate 64
 
 

There is a new Classic Shell beta that solves this problem: Classic Shell is looking for testers
You can enable a feature to expand the All Programs menu.
Send me an email if you want to try it out.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
04 Jul 2010   #27
zamar21

Win 7
 
 

By Expand did you mean Cascade? The All Programs Menu is now auto expandable within its Pan, but individual program folders under that menu are not. We were mostly talking about an option to extend that feature to every program folder under All Programs Menu, and also allow to add more filters similar to All Programs filter under that menu to group installed applications by category to access them more easily without affecting their complete uninstall.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
05 Jul 2010   #28
Ivo

Windows 7 Home 64, Vista Ultimate 64
 
 

Yes, I mean cascade - as in expand outside of the start menu.
I'm not sure what you mean by "filters". Are you talking about the search box?
My System SpecsSystem Spec
06 Jul 2010   #29
zamar21

Win 7
 
 

We were talking above that All Programs button represents a filter collecting content of several folders, actually present in the file system, without affecting complete uninstall of programs, having shortcuts placed in these folders. If there was an option to add more such filters under All Programs filter, a user would be able to group installed programs' shortcuts under the filters in All Programs Pan for easier orientation without cascading, especially if these filters were expandable on mouse hover within All Programs Pan similar to All Programs filter.
My System SpecsSystem Spec
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 Any way to make folders in Start Menu - All Programs expandable




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