In the Forums...
Posted: September 19, 2001
Written by: Sine
Windows XP is, beyond doubt, the most anticipated Microsoft operating system since Windows 95. It is the latest Microsoft OS to be marketed towards the general consumer, instead of towards power users and server administrators in the case of Windows 2000. Because of this, there have been many new changes and features added to Windows XP which even experienced users may not notice.
I wrote this guide in order to help Windows XP users of any experience level gain familiarity with the new features that XP adds. It’s not so much of a tweak guide for performance, but a tweak guide for usability – by knowing the new features of the OS, you can get up to speed even faster.
So, without further ado, let’s begin!
The New Start Menu
This is something that some people may find shocking – the start menu is completely redesigned! Instead of simply having Programs, Settings, Search, Documents, etc. in the menu, it now has My Computer, My Documents, My Pictures and other shortcuts such as commonly used programs and Control Panel. At the bottom is an “All Programs” menu which brings up the familiar “Programs” menu.
The new start menu. Click for a larger image.
The new start menu is very configurable - right-click on the taskbar, click Properties, pick the Start Menu tab, click “Customize”, and have at it. If you want to switch back to the old Start Menu, pick “Classic Start Menu” under the Start Menu tab.
Due to all the new icons added, if you’re using the new start menu, Windows will remove several icons from your desktop (My Computer, My Documents and My Network Places, to name a few).
You may or may not like the new menu – this one is very dependant on your personal preferences. New users will probably like it, but I expect that old die-hards won’t be too fond of it. Luckily, it’s easy to switch back.