On October 22, 2009, many PC users were shocked and disappointed to find the much hyped Windows 7 did not include an option for a “classic” start menu.
The community boards on Microsoft.com were flooded with posts asking for this now defunct menu style, only to be met with the advice to “move on.” But, many of us simply cannot let go… Fortunately, there are two freeware applications to fix this pesky problem.
VistaStartMenu was originally written to enhance the menus in Windows XP and Vista. Luckily, it integrates seamlessly with Windows 7, fully replacing the out-of-the-box start menu.
The application comes with three skins—one dark and easy to read, and another that truly emulates the classic Start Menu scheme.
But, VistaStartMenu has several features that go above and beyond what we have come to know and love about the classic menu.
Instead of scrolling through several menus to find the control panel (which cannot be restored to “classic” view in Windows 7 either), simply hover over the “All Control Panel Items” shortcut on the start menu and all of the expected control panel icons magically appear for quick access.
VistaStartMenu also features quick access to the Power Control menu, which prevents you from accidently clicking “shut down” when you really mean to “sleep” (all too easy in the out-of-the-box Windows 7 start menu). But, if it is still too taxing to open the menu and click “power options,” VistaStartMenu allows you to create Power Option shortcuts by using the F4-F12 keys.
Of course, if you choose to have the application start when Windows starts (necessary if you never again want to see the original Windows 7 start menu), it will add several seconds to your start up time.
If the added bells and whistles of VistaStartMenu do not appeal to you, there is another free application called CSMenu that just plain creates a classic start menu. After a five minute installation process, CSMenu does exactly what it claims to do: creates a classic start menu…no more, and no less.
There are no added features and no options to configure—CSMenu just simply gives you back your classic start menu.
So, for those who are banging their heads against the keyboard, longing a start menu circa Windows 98, there are still options out there. If you long for extra features and do not mind a few minor glitches, VistaStartMenu is a good choice.
But, if you just simply want your menu back without any extra excitement, opting for CSMenu is probably the better decision.