Like always with windows, you can't escape it. Once you need to buy a new computer, it comes with Windows 7 now. I hate it. It does all sorts of things I never asked for, but yes, it looks pretty.
The start menu. In Windows 98, there was a very easy to understand menu where one would see all programmes listed all at once. This menu was programmable and could be organized to one's liking. Later, in the XP standard look, it became hidden into a button called "all programs", while the primary option was a limited selection of programmes determined by Windows, while clicking on the "all programs" button always was cumbersome. But one could opt for "classic start menu".
The new Windows 7 menu is a chaotic labyrinth.
But back to the classic start menu. I have thousands of files and umpteen programmes on all my computers, and unless they are rigorously organized, I can't quickly find what I need. I think the best organized menu was on Windows 98 (that is why it is now called classic, right?) and ever since, Microsoft started fiddling (dont fix it please if it ain't broke) with the menu, making it worse with every new Windows release. Windows XP still had the option for the classic startmenu, but Windows 7 does not. So, an inventive developer made a little programme called Classic Start Menu which he sells from
But wait, there is another free programme that does not only LOOK nicer, but it is much better because it can be reorganized by dragging and renaming:
Vista Classic Start Menu runs perfectly well on Windows 7 and I have put it on my laptops. This is what it looks like:
In this little classical start menu programme, it is fairly easy to drag and drop your programmes in the classic start menu. I dragged my most commonly used buttons onto the left collumn. This is possible, while the buttons also stay in their original folder.
Take a good look how I combined more than 100 programmes into only 9 folder categories. A little time invested into organizing your Windows 7 classic start menu will make working with your computer far more convenient. Most useless software that comes with your computer, you can stuff into the "Tools" folder. Put the programmes you occasionally need in the top-level and all the rest in different subdirectories where you can find them if one day you may need them. Good luck and enjoy.
Now, just in case this also becomes a programme that expires after a month or so, we provide the completely free version here:
So this is the start menu that we recommend for the moment being. I presume more will come in and it is well possible that Microsoft realizes that it made a mistake by not offering the classic start menu and will slip it in automatically during one of its frequent automatic upgrades. But until then, this is a very good solution.
We found another free classic start menu at: http://www.sevenforums.com/customization/51105-aero-styled-classic-start-menu-windows-7-a.html . Like it said in the comments, it is not very pretty, but we tested it and it works. But as it is not really up to a minimally required standard we don't distribute it. However, you may want to check it, and if a new version be offered, then it would be a good alternative.
Lets spend a few more minutes on the taskbar. When you hover over the new taskbar, miniature pictures appear for each open programme. If you have many programmes open, they simply become too small to distinguish. Moreover, with a laptop touchpad it is almost impossible to select the window you have in mind, and I ended up to continuously open the wrong window. I wanted to get rid of those horrible thumbnails but after hours of searching on Windows 7 help, I could not find a clue. But on the Internet I found a solution that works. First of all, I suggest you place your taskbar on the left, because with the new wide screen designs, you have plenty of space on the sides and little at the bottom. You will now see that each open window only takes a little space on your taskbar, with the beginning of the file or internet name. That way you can have some 17 programmes visible on your taskbar.
The way you get rid of those hovering images is as follows: Click your "run" button in the classic startmenu and type " regedit ". This brings up your registry editor. Go to HKEY_CURRENT_USER > Control Panel > Mouse > MouseHoverTime REG_SZ 400
This is a coding to tell the software after how much time the little mouse should come up when you hover over it. Standard it is set at 0.4 second. Since I don't want those annoying little windows to come up, I set it at 9000, so they will only come up after 9 seconds. As I rarily spend 9 seconds hovering over my taskbar, they rarily come up anymore. Good riddance little windows. But of course if you like them, you can even make them come up faster by shortening the hover time.