Using the Start Menu in Windows 7

The key to getting started with the Windows desktop is learning how to use the Start button on the taskbar. Clicking the button on the taskbar displays the Start menu, a list of commands that allow you to start a program, open a document, change a Windows setting, find a file, or display support information. The top right of the Start menu indicates who is currently using the computer. The left column of the Start menu is separated into two lists: pinned items above the separator line and most frequently used items below. The pinned items remain on the Start menu, like a push pin holds paper on a bulletin board. The most frequently used items change as you use programs: Windows keeps track of which programs you use and displays them on the Start menu for easy access.

In addition to tracking frequently used programs, Windows also tracks recently opened files, known as jump lists (New!). When you point to a program—such as Microsoft Word, Internet Explorer or Windows Explorer—on the Start menu with a arrow next to it, a list of recently opened files or folders and related tasks appear for easy access. For example, Internet Explorer displays a jump list with recently visited web sites and commands for InPrivate browsing and New Tab. The arrow next to a menu item indicates a cascading menu, or submenu, which is a list of commands for that menu item. You can also pin recently opened files to the Start menu that you want to use on a regular basis.

The right column of the Start menu provides easy access to folders, Windows settings, devices and printers (New!), help information, and shutdown functionality. As you become more familiar with Windows, you might want to customize the Start menu to include additional items that you use most often.

As you continue to install programs on your computer, finding them on the Start menu can sometimes be difficult. Windows 7 makes it easy with the Instant Search box, which allows you to search the Start menu to find programs and other Windows items, such as Internet favorites, history, files, contacts, e-mail messages, and appointments. To perform a search, click the Start menu, click in the Instant Search box and start typing the search text you want. As you type, the Start menu shows the possible results organized by type with the number of matches (New!). A priority given to the programs you use frequently The search results continue to narrow as you continue to type. If you don't find what you are looking for on the Start menu during a search, you can click See More Results to see a complete listing of highlighted results (New!), or expand the search.

Start Menu Commands
All Programs - Opens a list of all the programs included on the Start menu

Search box - Locates programs, and other Windows items, such as Internet favorites, history, files, contacts, e-mail messages, and appointments

User name - Opens the personal folder, where you store files and information, such as Contacts, Desktop, Downloads, Favorites, Links, Document, Music, Pictures, Videos, Saved Games, and Searches

Documents - Opens the Documents folder, where you store and manage files

Pictures - Opens the Pictures folder, where you store and manage photos, images, and graphic files

Music - Opens the Music folder, where you store and manage sound and audio files

Games - Opens the Games folder, where you play Windows 7 games, such as Chess Titans, FreeCell, Hearts, Internet Backgammon, Internet Checker, Internet Spades, Mahjong Titans, Minesweeper, Purble Place, Solitaire, and Spider Solitaire

Computer - Opens the Computer window, where you access information about disk drives and other hardware devices

Control Panel - Provides options to customize the appearance and functionality of the computer

Devices and Printers (New!) - Opens the Devices and Printers window, where you can display and manage currently installed devices, such as monitors, printers, and faxes, and add new devices

Default Programs - Displays the Default Programs window, where you can choose default programs for web browsing, e-mail, playing music, and other activities

Help and Support - Displays Windows Help topics, tutorials, troubleshooting, support options, and tools

Power button (Shutdown) - Exits Windows and turns off the computer; also customizable for other power/ New!) shutdown options

Arrow (Shutdown menu) - Provides options to switch to a different users, log off the computer, lock the computer, restart the computer, or set the computer to sleep or hibernate mode

Source of Information : Microsoft Windows 7 on Demand (2009)

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