Logo
programming4us
programming4us
programming4us
programming4us
Home
programming4us
XP
programming4us
Windows Vista
programming4us
Windows 7
programming4us
Windows Azure
programming4us
Windows Server
programming4us
Windows Phone
 
programming4us
Windows 7

Personalizing and Configuring Windows 7 : The Windows 7 User Interface (part 1) - Customizing the Start Menu

- How To Install Windows Server 2012 On VirtualBox
- How To Bypass Torrent Connection Blocking By Your ISP
- How To Install Actual Facebook App On Kindle Fire
12/22/2014 8:38:18 PM

Although Microsoft improved the Windows user interface in ways both subtle and profound in Windows 7, that doesn't mean it's perfect out of the box. Everyone's needs and wants are different, and fortunately Microsoft has engineered Windows 7 in such a way that you can configure the system to your preferences. This section describes some of the ways in which you can tame the Windows 7 UI and make it your own.

1. Customizing the Start Menu

The Windows 7 Start menu is an evolution of the Start menu that debuted in Windows XP, and it offers a much smarter interface for interacting with the applications, documents, and other content on your PC than did the Start menus from previous Windows versions.

As shown in Figure 1, the Windows 7 Start menu is divided into a number of logical areas, each of which covers specific functionality.

These areas include the following:

  • Pinned items: Found at the top-left corner of the Start menu, this area contains shortcuts that are permanently displayed regardless of how often you use them. Unlike Windows Vista, there are no pinned shortcuts displayed by default in Windows 7.

  • Most Recently Used (MRU) list: Here, taking up the majority of the left side of the Start menu window, is a list of the applications you use most frequently. The algorithm Microsoft uses to determine this list is decidedly hokey, because it gives precedence to an application you just used instead of one you use regularly, every single day. It also doesn't take into account applications that were not launched from the Start menu at all.

  • All Programs: This link reveals the All Programs list, a combination of the shortcuts stored in your user profile's Start menu folder structure and the Public account's Start menu folder structure. Unlike Windows XP, the All Programs list appears inside of the Start menu window instead of popping up in a separate, hard-to-navigate cascading menu.

    Figure 1. The Windows 7 Start menu
  • Start Menu Search: Arguably the single greatest Windows feature in over a decade, and easily the best feature of the Start menu, Start Menu Search enables you to quickly and easily find any application, shortcut, document, e-mail, contact, or other searchable object. It's magic, and we love it.

    NOTE

    How incredible is Start Menu Search? It can sometimes even sense what you're looking for. Say you want to work with Windows 7's disk partitioning tools, but you can't think of the name of the tool, let alone where to find it. Start typing partition in Start Menu Search and, sure enough, an option entitled Create and format hard disk partitions appears. The tool it launches? The Disk Management console, of course. Magic!

  • User picture: Here you will see the user picture you configured when you created your user account. It changes to different system icons as you mouse over the links on the right side of the Start menu.

  • Links: This is a list of important system locations that Microsoft thinks you will need regularly. These include such things as special shell folders (Documents, Music), common shell locations (Computer, Games), configuration settings (Control Panel, Default Programs), and Help and Support.

  • Sleep/Shutdown: On the bottom right of the Start menu are two buttons, the right-most of which includes a cascading pop-up menu with various power-management and shutdown-related options. These two buttons are configured differently by default depending on your system's power-management capabilities.

Most Start menu customizations occur via the Taskbar and Start Menu Properties dialog, shown in Figure 2. You can display this dialog by right-clicking the Start button (sometimes called the Start Orb) and clicking Properties. A related dialog, Customize Start Menu, is displayed by clicking the Customize button.

Figure 2. Start menu customization typically starts here.

The Windows 7 Start menu is full-featured, but you may decide to tailor it to fit your needs. Here are some of our favorite Start menu tweaks.

1.1. Changing Your Logon Picture

Microsoft supplies 36 user pictures from which you can choose, an improvement from Window Vista's 12, Instead of using Windows 7's built-in images, why not use a favorite photograph or other image? Here's how: open the Start menu and click on the user picture at the top-right corner of the Start menu. This causes the User Accounts window to open. Click the link titled Change Your Picture, and you'll see the interface shown in Figure 3.

Click the Browse for More Pictures link and then use the standard Open File window that appears to find a favorite photo.

NOTE

Because your account picture always appears inside of a square area, you may want to edit a photo before performing these steps, cropping it accordingly into a square shape. That way, Windows 7 won't have to do its own (non-optimal) cropping.

Figure 3. You don't have to settle for Windows 7's built-in account pictures.

1.2. Adding, Configuring, and Removing Start Menu Links

Microsoft's options for Start menu links—those important system locations shown on the right side of the Start menu—are serviceable, but there's always room for improvement. To configure which items appear in the list—and remove the links you don't want while adding back those you do—open the Customize Start Menu window. There's a list at the top of this window that enables you to configure which links appear and, in many cases, how they appear; some links can appear as cascading submenus instead of standard buttons that launch separate windows. Here are the Start menu links you can configure from this UI:

  • Computer: Can be displayed as a link, as a menu, or disabled. This item is displayed as a link by default.

  • Connect To: Can be enabled or disabled. Unlike Windows Vista, this item is disabled by default.

  • Control Panel: Can be displayed as a link, as a menu, or disabled. This item is displayed as a link by default.

  • Default Programs: Can be enabled or disabled. This item is enabled by default.

  • Devices and Printers: Can be enabled or disabled. This item is enabled by default.

  • Documents: Can be displayed as a link, as a menu, or disabled. This item is displayed as a link by default.

  • Downloads: Can be displayed as a link, as a menu, or disabled. This item is disabled by default.

  • Favorites menu: Can be enabled or disabled. This item is disabled by default.

  • Games: Can be displayed as a link, as a menu, or disabled. This item is displayed as a link by default on Windows 7 Home Basic, Home Premium, and Ultimate. It is disabled by default on Windows 7 Professional.

  • Help: Can be enabled or disabled. This item is enabled by default.

  • HomeGroup: Can be enabled or disabled. This item is disabled by default.

  • Music: Can be displayed as a link, as a menu, or disabled. This item is displayed as a link by default.

  • Network: Can be enabled or disabled. This item is disabled by default.

  • Personal folder: Can be displayed as a link, as a menu, or disabled. This item is displayed as a link by default.

  • Pictures: Can be displayed as a link, as a menu, or disabled. This item is displayed as a link by default.

  • Recent Items: Can be enabled or disabled. This item is disabled by default.

  • Recorded TV: Can be displayed as a link, as a menu, or disabled. This item is disabled by default.

  • Run command: Can be enabled or disabled. This item is disabled by default.

  • System administrative tools: Can be displayed as a link, as a menu, or disabled. This item is disabled by default.

  • Use large icons: This item is enabled by default.

  • Videos: Can be displayed as a link, as a menu, or disabled. This item is disabled by default.

For the most part, the defaults are acceptable. You can safely remove Default Programs, as you're unlikely to need it very often. One thing you might want to experiment with is changing some links into menus. As shown in Figure 4, the effect is quite interesting. Some love it, some don't.

Additionally, this section of the Customize Start Menu window provides a few options that aren't related to the Start Menu Links area, though they're no less important. Key among them is Highlight Newly Installed Programs, which can be enabled or disabled. This item is enabled by default, but we strongly recommend disabling it, as the effect when enabled is very annoying.

Figure 4. Certain Start menu links can be configured as menus.

Other -----------------
- Microsoft Visio 2013 : Adding Sophistication to Your Drawings - Orienting shape text
- Microsoft Visio 2013 : Adding Sophistication to Your Drawings - Orienting shapes on the page
- Microsoft Visio 2013 : Adding Sophistication to Your Drawings - Creating and formatting text boxes
- Microsoft Visio 2013 : Adding Sophistication to Your Drawings - Adding text to shapes
- Microsoft Visio 2013 : Collaborating on Visio diagrams (part 2) - Coauthoring
- Microsoft Visio 2013 : Collaborating on Visio diagrams (part 1) - Commenting
- Microsoft Visio 2013 : Collaborating on and Publishing Diagrams - Refreshing diagrams published to Visio Services
- Microsoft Visio 2013 : Collaborating on and Publishing Diagrams - Saving Visio drawings to SharePoint 2013
- Microsoft Visio 2013 : Collaborating on and Publishing Diagrams - Understanding Visio Services in SharePoint 2013
- Microsoft Visio 2013 : Collaborating on and Publishing Diagrams - Customizing websites created by Visio
 
 
Top 10
- Microsoft Visio 2013 : Adding Structure to Your Diagrams - Finding containers and lists in Visio (part 2) - Wireframes,Legends
- Microsoft Visio 2013 : Adding Structure to Your Diagrams - Finding containers and lists in Visio (part 1) - Swimlanes
- Microsoft Visio 2013 : Adding Structure to Your Diagrams - Formatting and sizing lists
- Microsoft Visio 2013 : Adding Structure to Your Diagrams - Adding shapes to lists
- Microsoft Visio 2013 : Adding Structure to Your Diagrams - Sizing containers
- Microsoft Access 2010 : Control Properties and Why to Use Them (part 3) - The Other Properties of a Control
- Microsoft Access 2010 : Control Properties and Why to Use Them (part 2) - The Data Properties of a Control
- Microsoft Access 2010 : Control Properties and Why to Use Them (part 1) - The Format Properties of a Control
- Microsoft Access 2010 : Form Properties and Why Should You Use Them - Working with the Properties Window
- Microsoft Visio 2013 : Using the Organization Chart Wizard with new data
- First look: Apple Watch

- 3 Tips for Maintaining Your Cell Phone Battery (part 1)

- 3 Tips for Maintaining Your Cell Phone Battery (part 2)
programming4us programming4us
Popular tags
Microsoft Access Microsoft Excel Microsoft OneNote Microsoft PowerPoint Microsoft Project Microsoft Visio Microsoft Word Active Directory Biztalk Exchange Server Microsoft LynC Server Microsoft Dynamic Sharepoint Sql Server Windows Server 2008 Windows Server 2012 Windows 7 Windows 8 windows Phone 7 windows Phone 8
programming4us programming4us
 
programming4us
Natural Miscarriage
programming4us
Windows Vista
programming4us
Windows 7
programming4us
Windows Azure
programming4us
Windows Server
programming4us
Game Trailer