Spruce Up Windows XP with VistaStartMenu

Are you bored of your Windows XP destop’s Start Menu? It is very plain but it does it’s job. But, if you are like me and have dozens and dozens of applications installed it can be a pain to locate the one you need quickly.

If you have seen a Windows Vista desktop, you might have noticed the shiny new Start Menu in Vista. In fact, that is one of my favorite things about Vista. The Start Menu is more functional in Vista with the search feature that brings up apps/items as you type.

VistaStartMenu is a small utility for Windows XP that gives you the same power and funtionality as the Vista’s Start Menu. You can get that Vista feature without upgrading to Vista. It not only looks like Vista’s Start Menu but comes packed with some very nitfy features:

  • Slick transparent Start menu interface
  • Groups apps visually so you can easily identify the application you want quickly.
  • Single Click access to programs – normally you will have to find the folder of the application and then navigate to the actual application to open. With VistaStartMenu, the folder icon gets replaced by the application icon (see picture) and you can just click on the folder to open the app.
  • It is flexible enough to let you resize the menu, resize the font size, etc. The icons resize automatically depending on the menu size.
  • If you use dual monitor, you can drag the menu to either monitors.
  • Menu also sports tabs for QuickStart & Autorun.
  • You even get tabs for each drives in your computer in the menu
  • If you rely on keyboard shortcuts a lot, you are in luck here. You get a command line to start typing the app name and apps show up as you type.
  • In fact, you can use the same command line to search your computer (Alt+Enter) or search the Internet. (Ctrl+Enter)
  • For powerusers, there is something called a QuickLaunch method that lets you navigate through the complete menu with keystrokes. This is very intuitive and you’d never need your mouse to navigate through this once you are used to it.

VistaStartMenu comes as a FREE & PRO version. For most folks, the free version would suffice and has most of the features mentioned above.

VistaStartMenu PRO version will set you back $19.99 but you will get these extra features:

  • One-click Launch – that lets you just click on the folder in the menu without goign into it to find the executable
  • Quick un-install – lets you quickly uninstall applications with a right-click
  • Menu customization – Lets you order items, add new ones, remove the ones you don’t like, add more tabs to the quick menu, etc.

For those, who haven’t been able to adapt to application launcher programs like Humanized Enso, Launchy, RocketDock, etc., VistaStartMenu can be a refreshing change to their dull & boring XP Start Menu.

Download VistaStartMenu

If you try it, let me know how you liked it in the comments.

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13 Responses to “Spruce Up Windows XP with VistaStartMenu”

  1. John Edwards November 6, 2008 at 3:11 pm #

    Is a pretty neat trick. Ended up switching it back though, call me old-fashioned but I think I still like the old XP style better.

    John Edwardss last blog post..Rockville Real Estate

  2. Katy November 6, 2008 at 3:14 pm #

    Good tips!
    I turned my PC into a MAC by using applications like RK Launcher and hiding my desktop. =P

    Katys last blog post..Comfort Clothing

  3. kouji@halimbawa ng haiku November 6, 2008 at 7:42 pm #

    cool. 🙂 i’m a big fan of finding ways to spruce up a desktop. and if the software has a free version, that’s even better. 🙂

    but maybe i’ll wait until i can bump up my ram a bit.

    koujis last blog post..obama mccain american election haiku poem

  4. Caroline@debit card loans November 7, 2008 at 3:45 pm #

    I did try a similar program once but ended up just a black screen, very minimalist but not very user friendly:)

  5. Reckless Driving. Andrew. November 7, 2008 at 9:19 pm #

    One reason I love Vista is the cool Start menu. If I was still on XP, I’d definitely give this app a try.

    Reckless Driving. Andrew.s last blog post..5 Famous Will and Estate Contests

  6. judith November 8, 2008 at 8:13 am #

    I’m with John here, I tried it but then went back to the old XP as I felt more comfortable with it. Yes, I know I sound pathetic, but it just didn’t feel right somehow. Hey-ho.

  7. JR @ Cheap Laptop Computers November 9, 2008 at 12:31 am #

    Oh God, I so needed this, I have dozens of apps and I can never find anything quickly, thanks so much!

  8. cat November 10, 2008 at 5:11 am #

    It’s good looking but is it Useful? I think that it only takes more resources

  9. Fahad November 11, 2008 at 8:50 am #

    I just tried the free version and I gotta say am loving it! Its a nice change from the default xp theme.

    Fahads last blog post..Blogging Statistics for October

  10. nick November 12, 2008 at 8:12 pm #

    I have vista on my laptop but much prefer xp. Saying that though the start menu is probably the only feature I would consider keeping if i did move back to xp.

    nicks last blog post..Work Injury Claims

  11. K November 13, 2008 at 11:32 am #

    Fahad, glad you are loving it!

  12. fun info November 24, 2008 at 3:39 am #

    its quite good looking, but i agree with cat, usually it takes more resources isn’t it?

    fun infos last blog post..The First Ever Hello Kitty Netbook

  13. JAB_au January 10, 2009 at 8:07 am #

    Interestingly for me the number one reason I don’t like Vista is it’s Start Menu, whenever I use it I feel trapped.

    The only useful feature of the Vista Start menu is the search ability, otherwise it’s horrible.

    JAB_aus last blog post..Windows 7 Beta