As many already know, the Start Menu is certainly not new to Windows XPit's been around since folks first camped out at CompUSA to be first on the block with a copy of Windows 95but its appearance and behavior certainly is. In fact, the new XP Start Menu has been completely redesigned and now bears a likeness to previous Start Menus in name and location only. (That is, of course, unless you opt for the "Classic" Start Menu.)
One of the goals of the redesigned Start Menu is to keep the Desktop free of clutter. Microsoft figures that most people find the tabula rasa appearance of a fresh XP installation the preferred aesthetic, and during its use, XP works on your behalf to keep the desktop free from icon overpopulation. Figure 5-10 shows what a Desktop looks like after clean installation of XP. Missing now are most of the desktop iconsInternet Explorer, My Computer, Network Places, and so onthat were planted by previous Windows versions.
Figure 5-10. Desktop after clean XP installationPure Bliss.
But why were those icons there in the first place? Well, icons like Internet Explorer got placed on the desktop of Windows 98, for example, because the good folks at Microsoft figured you used these programs more frequently and therefore thought they should be accessible without much searching around. (Former Netscape shareholders have a different position on this, no doubt, but let's leave that discussion for another book. Only so many pages to scribble on here, after all.) The new XP Start Menu has been designed with this same objective in mind: keeping frequently used programs close at hand.
Toward this end, programs you use most often are made easily accessible from the Start Menu by moving their shortcut icons from the desktop to the Start Menu's "opening page," shown here in Figure 5-11. Less often-used programs are now hidden under a heading titled "All Programs," and accessing these program shortcuts requires a bit more mileage from your mouse than the ease offered by this opening page.
Figure 5-11. The brand new Start Menu.