Start Menu Guide
A guide for Jaws users, written by Chorlton Workshop for
More guides are available on the
Jaws Guides page
of the VIP Software Guides website.
This guide describes the Start menu in Windows XP, and
focuses on using it to open programs. It shows how you can customize
the Start menu to contain all the programs you regularly use.
There's also a separate guide to the
Start menu on Windows Vista.
Note that the Start menu can be customized to have a “Classic
Start menu” layout which looks like the Start menu in previous
versions of Windows. This guide describes the standard Start menu, not
the Classic Start menu.
Structure of the menu
The Start menu consists of individual items and two groups of items:
- The first group consists of:
- Pinned items. These items remain on the menu until the
user changes them.
- Most frequently used programs. These are updated by Windows
based on the frequency of use of programs. You can change
the number of programs in this list, as described in the
Most frequently used programs section.
Some people prefer to set this to zero, and just use the pinned items.
- All Programs sub-menu (Access key P). This contains all
the programs installed on the computer.
- The second group consists of:
- Folders and drives. Items can include My Documents,
My Computer, etc.
- Windows components. Items can include Control panel, and
- Miscellaneous. Items can include Search, Run etc.
- Log off (Access key L).
- Either Turn Off Computer (Access key U), or Shut down (Access key U).
Navigating the menu
You can navigate the menu using:
- The WINDOWS KEY opens the Start menu, and
ESC closes it, leaving the focus on the Start
button. You can also close the menu by pressing WINDOWS KEY again,
and this leaves the focus wherever it was before you opened
- UP and DOWN ARROW keys.
Like all menus, if you move past either end of the menu, you
wrap to the other end.
- Access keys and first letters. Some of the menu items have
an access key, for example the access key
for All Programs is P. For all the other items, you can use the
first letter. If you press a single letter, and this matches
only one access key or initial letter, then that menu item
is opened – there is no need to press ENTER.
If there are multiple matches, then press the single letter
till you find the item, and then press ENTER.
To take advantage of using a single letter to navigate the
menu, you may need to rename some of the items, as described in
the following section. For example, if the menu contains the
items “Microsoft Word” and “Microsoft Excel”,
then renaming them to “Word” and “Excel”
makes them easier to find.
- HOME and END keys. These only
work within the two groups.
Customizing the Start menu
Rename an item
- Select a menu item.
- Press F2.
- Type in the new name, and then press ENTER.
You may want to add all the programs you regularly use to the pinned items.
Add a program to the pinned items
- Navigate the All Programs menu, and select the program.
- From its shortcut menu (APPLICATION KEY),
choose “Pin to Start Menu”.
Remove a pinned item
- Select the item.
- From its shortcut menu, choose either
“Unpin from Start Menu” or “Remove from
Most frequently used programs
To change the number of the most frequently used programs
which are shown on the Start menu:
- Move the focus to the Start button by pressing the
WINDOWS KEY to open the menu, and then
ESC to close it.
- Either choose Properties from the Start button's
shortcut menu, or press ALT + ENTER.
- The Taskbar and Start Menu Properties dialog opens. This
dialog has two pages: Taskbar and Start menu. On the Start menu
page, the first control is a set of two radio buttons for
selecting either the standard start menu or the classic start menu.
This guide is for the standard start menu, so it's assumed that
the Start menu radio button is selected. TAB
to the Customize button and press it.
- The Customize Start Menu dialog opens. This too has two pages:
General, and Advanced. On the General page, in the Programs section,
there is an edit spin box with the label “Number of programs
on Start menu”. Set the number of programs, and then press
ENTER to press to default OK button.
- You're returned to the Taskbar and Start Menu Properties
dialog. TAB to the OK button and press it.