Start Menu Goodies: Windows XP

Dennis Faas's picture

When you click your Start button, Windows XP by default, displays two columns. On the left, you see programs, etc. Then you see a faint horizontal bar, followed by a list of recently used programs. On the right, you see locations – Microsoft Office, My Documents and lots of other “stuff.”

Now if you’re an advanced Windows user, you might know that you can put any program you want at the top of the left side of the Start menu by navigating to the program, right-clicking on it and choosing Pin to Start Menu. This works no matter how you get to the program. Any way that you get to it, there is no problem pinning a program to the Start menu.

Now here’s a great tip that I’m betting you didn’t know about. You can pin folders to your Start menu! You know how you use those Open and Closed Client folders every day? You used to click on My Documents and then drill down to where those folder lived to get to them. But not anymore! Follow the steps below and see how easily you can pin those folders to your Start menu.

  1. Navigate to any folder you want.
  2. Right-click on the folder and choose Send To Desktop (Create Shortcut).
    That puts the shortcut to the folder on your desktop.
  3. Drag this folder over the Start button and hover there for a couple of seconds.
    The Start menu opens up.
  4. Keep dragging the folder up above the faint horizontal line.
  5. Release it wherever you want the folder to appear.

But that’s not all! Do you open the same FILE over and over again every day? Well the good news is that pinning a file (document, spreadsheet, PowerPoint presentation, etc.) to the Start menu is just as easy as pinning a folder. Follow the steps below:

  1. Navigate to the file.
  2. You can click Start, My Documents or Start, My Music, for example. You can also go into Word or Excel’s File, Open dialog or Save As.
  3. When you’ve found the file you want to pin, drag it to the Start button using your left mouse button.
  4. Hover there for a second of two and when the Start menu appears, drop the file where you want it.

But let’s not stop there! You can pin a Web page to the Start menu as well. Here’s how:

  1. Launch your favorite Web browser.
  2. Go to the address that you want to pin to the Start menu.
  3. Click the little icon in the address bar, immediately to the left of the address (the icon in front of the http://).
  4. Click the icon and drag it down to the Windows taskbar.
  5. Hover for a moment and Windows will show you the Desktop.
  6. Keep dragging the icon and release it on your Desktop. You will then see it on your Desktop.
  7. Drag the new shortcut to the Start button.
  8. Hover a second or two.
  9. Drag the icon to where you want it pinned and release.

I’ve saved my particular favorite for last:

Suppose you have a daily report that you file every day or a weekly expense account. Now it can be accessible on your Start menu.

Pinning Templates to the Start menu:

  1. Find the template. Office stores its templates by default, in C:\Documents and Settings\yourname\Application Data\Microsoft\Templates.
  2. Drag the template to the Start button, hover, then release.

My thanks to Woody Leonhard for this last tip! He’s the best!

Visit Carol's web site to learn more tips like this one!

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