by FixPCDLL Expert on March 28, 2011
Customizing user navigation is the next stop on the Windows 7 customizing road trip. In the previous chapter, with the help of some cool tweaks, you were able to change and improve the boot and logon screens. This article shows you how to customize and improve the visual navigation elements of Windows 7.
This article starts with customizing the look and the content of the cool new Start menu. The improved Start menu in Windows 7 has many useful new features, and I show how you can use them best. Then, I show you how you can
customize the new program list and customize almost everything you see. If you don’t like the new Start menu, you can get the old classic Start menu back. Then, you can improve and customize the classic Start menu with some cool hacks.
You also learn how to customize the taskbar on the bottom of your screen. The taskbar is an essential part of navigating your computer. I show you how to customize and improve its features and give you some new ideas about how you can use it to dramatically improve your experiences with Windows 7.
Customizing the Start Menu
First appearing in Windows XP, the new Start menu that replaced the classic program list has evolved into a comprehensive starting point for your PC. Improved for Windows 7, the Start menu offers the ability to search your programs and jump directly to various components of Windows Additionally, the Search box can launch commands similar to a traditional Run box. Everything can now be accessed from the Start menu.
Today, tools and hacks allow you to customize the Start menu. Almost everything on it is customizable. You can add and remove icons and shortcuts, and you can even change the way it looks. You can even change the way the features on it, such as the Search box, work.
After you finish reading these next few sections, you will have transformed your Start menu into something that works better for you and is much more useful for your everyday tasks.
Customizing Navigation Shortcuts
You will find many new navigation links on the Start menu that will help you navigate to various parts of Windows. All these shortcut buttons on the right side of the Start menu can be customized. Many can be removed completely,
and others can be added. By default, you will see a button with your username followed by buttons for Documents, Pictures, and Music. All these buttons are shortcuts to your personal libraries. The next set — Games and Computer — are more functional navigation shortcuts that allow you to jump to the most common system components. The last four shortcuts offer you a way to access system configuration components such as Control Panel, Devices and Printers, Default Programs, and a convenient shortcut to Help and Support for new users.
Some shortcuts are not displayed, such as the classic Run button and Favorites. Other features, such as Display as a Menu which converts buttons into a nested menu, are also disabled. This feature can be very useful in some situations. For example, if you enable Display as Menu on the Computer button, you will see a list of drivers that you can jump directly to. This eliminates a few extra clicks that will help you get where you want to go faster. All these features and shortcuts are customizable on one screen. Follow these steps to access the Start menu Customization screen:
1. Right-click the Start button and click Properties.
2. On the Start Menu tab, click the Customize button on the top right of the window. This loads the Customize Start Menu window.
3. Scroll through the list and make changes to the items as you see fit. Refer to the sections that follow for my recommendations.
4. When finished adjusting the options, click OK twice to close Taskbar Properties. Your changes will be live instantly. Now that you know how to change the settings, the next few sections guide you through my recommendations for creating a clean and powerful Start menu.