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John Paul Cook

Windows 8.1 Start Menu partial workaround

I want a Windows 7 Start Menu when I’m in desktop mode on Windows 8.1 without installing third party applications or going to a lot of trouble. I implemented a simple workaround that provides some of the functionality I’m seeking. It’s limited to operating system specific features. I’ll call it a half-full glass.

What I want is the box on the Windows 7 start menu where I can type what I’m looking for and quickly find it. Today I needed to scan something. I use the scan feature that comes with Windows. Because I have a settings folder named settings.{ED7BA470-8E54-465E-825C-99712043E01C} on my desktop, I knew I could go to my desktop, double-click the settings folder and bring up a settings window with a search box.

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Figure 1. Settings box showing the search feature.

But I wanted a simpler, more direct way to bring up the settings folder. I wanted to simply click on my taskbar and have magic happen. I tried to pin the settings folder to the taskbar, but that was not allowed. I created a shortcut to the settings folder and tried to add the shortcut to the taskbar. That didn’t work, either. I renamed the shortcut file to settings.exe so that the taskbar would treat it just like any other exe file. I was able to drag the shortcut named settings.exe to the taskbar and then pin it to the taskbar as shown below. Now a single click of the taskbar invokes the settings window.

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Figure 2. Settings folder on desktop. Shortcut named settings.exe in Windows Explorer and also pinned to the taskbar.

Published Tuesday, April 22, 2014 7:35 PM by John Paul Cook

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About John Paul Cook

John Paul Cook is a Technology Solutions Professional for Microsoft's data platform and works out of Microsoft's Houston office. Prior to joining Microsoft, he was a Microsoft SQL Server MVP. He is experienced in Microsoft SQL Server and Oracle database application design, development, and implementation. He has spoken at many conferences including Microsoft TechEd and the SQL PASS Summit. He has worked in oil and gas, financial, manufacturing, and healthcare industries. John is also a Registered Nurse who graduated from Vanderbilt University with a Master of Science in Nursing Informatics and is an active member of the Sigma Theta Tau nursing honor society. He volunteers as a nurse at safety net clinics. Contributing author to SQL Server MVP Deep Dives and SQL Server MVP Deep Dives Volume 2. Opinions expressed in John's blog are strictly his own and do not represent Microsoft in any way.

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