BASICS  OF  THE  START  MENU  EXPLAINED

After starting your computer the first place you will visit each time is either the Desktop (to double click on an Icon) or to the START Menu to use an APP (Application/Program). The START Menu is where you launch most of your programs (apps/applications) from, switch off the computer and carry out common tasks.


You can see the START Menu by clicking on the START Menu button, located in the bottom-left corner of the desktop screen - Move the mouse pointer towards the START Menu button until the mouse pointer is hovering over it (Fig 1.0). The START Menu button will change colour in order to highlight itself. Keep the mouse pointer still, whilst over the START Menu button, and then click (press) the left mouse button once. Doing so will reveal the START Menu menu-items and tiles (Fig 1.1).

The START Menu Explained

Fig 1.0 - Click (press the left mouse button) when the mouse pointer is over the START Menu button

The START Menu Explained

Fig 1.1 - The START Menu menu-items and tiles have been revealed

The START Menu is split into four main areas. On the left is the Folders area where you access commonly used folders such as DOCUMENTS, PICTURES and DOWNLOADS. Underneath the Folders area is a link to the ALL APPS (All Applications/Programs) area where you can accesss commonly used/installed programs (also known as Apps.....short for Applications) such as Microsoft Word 2016, Paint, NotePad, Calculator, Printer Software and so on. To the right of those two areas you will see the Tiles area where 'predefined' and 'user favourite' apps are displayed like big icons. These can include tiles related to News, Microsoft Products, Internet Software, Personal Software, Games, Utilities and much much more. Apps can be bought and downloaded (sometimes for free) from the Microsoft APP Store. The last area is the Power area which allows you to Shutdown, Restart, Log-Off and so on the computer.

The Folders and Files section explains folders and files in great detail. However, so you can continue with these lessons all you need to do now is imagine a Dentist's Filing Cabinet. Inside that filing cabinet each patient has his/her own File (Dental Record), which may consist of one piece of paper or many pieces of paper. To avoid one patient's file from getting mixed up with another patient's file the Dentist puts each patient's file into its own Folder, with the patient's name on the cover. Therefore, each patient has one Folder with their File (paper/s) inside it.

It is the same with Windows 10. Certain folders are created/named for a general use, such as the PICTURES folder for storing your picture (photo) files in and the MUSIC folder for storing your music files in. Unlike a normal filing cabinet folder though, a Windows 10 folder can contain many other folders inside it. These are called Sub-Folders. For example: If the main folder is called MUSIC you could have folders (sub-folders) inside that MUSIC folder called CLASSICAL, JAZZ and POP; therefore creating three sub-folders inside one main folder.

So a computer Folder is basically a storage place (like a normal filing cabinet folder). A Sub-Folder is a folder that is inside another folder and a computer File is like a dental record, except the patient's details are written as Data (0s and 1s) instead of on paper using ink.

Here is a brief explanation of the commonly used folders:


Documents

DOCUMENTS is the main folder for storing Document files such as Microsoft Office 2016 documents (Word files, Excel files, Etc), PDF files (Application Forms, Manuals, E-Books, Etc), Notepad text files and so on. It is the main folder (place) where Microsoft Office programs, System programs and so on first look when opening/saving a Document file.

DOCUMENTS on the START Menu is just a menu-item that acts as a shortcut/link to the actual DOCUMENTS sub-folder, which is stored inside the C:\ hard drive. Clicking on the DOCUMENTS menu-item takes (shortcuts/links) you inside the actual DOCUMENTS sub-folder. More information on DOCUMENTS can be found in the Folders and Files section.


Downloads

DOWNLOADS is the main folder for storing downloaded files from the internet or a networked computer. A web browser such as Internet Explorer 11 or Microsoft Edge will use this main folder when saving a file from a web page for example.

DOWNLOADS on the START Menu is just a menu-item that acts as a shortcut/link to the actual DOWNLOADS sub-folder, which is stored inside the C:\ hard drive. Clicking on the DOWNLOADS menu-item takes (shortcuts/links) you inside the actual DOWNLOADS sub-folder.


Music

MUSIC is the main folder for storing Music files downloaded from the Internet, copy from a CD and so on. Windows Media Player 12, for example, uses this main folder as the first place to look for Music files (i.e. MP3 files).

MUSIC on the START Menu is just a menu-item that acts as a shortcut/link to the actual MUSIC sub-folder, which is stored inside the C:\ hard drive. Clicking on the MUSIC menu-item takes (shortcuts/links) you inside the actual MUSIC sub-folder.


Pictures

PICTURES is the main folder for storing Picture files created with a Paint package, taken by a Digital Camera, Scanned and so on. A paint package, for example, will normally use this main folder when opening/saving a Photograph file.

PICTURES on the START Menu is just a menu-item that acts as a shortcut/link to the actual PICTURES sub-folder, which is stored inside the C:\ hard drive. Clicking on the PICTURES menu-item takes (shortcuts/links) you inside the actual PICTURES sub-folder. More information about Folders and Sub-Folders can be found in the Folders and Files section.


Videos

VIDEOS is the main folder for storing Audio/Video files created with a Movie package, taken by a Digital Camera, downloaded from the internet and so on. A video package, for example, will normally use this main folder when opening/saving a MP4, AVI or MPEG file.

VIDEOS on the START Menu is just a menu-item that acts as a shortcut/link to the actual VIDEOS sub-folder, which is stored inside the C:\ hard drive. Clicking on the VIDEOS menu-item takes (shortcuts/links) you inside the actual VIDEOS sub-folder.


Network

NETWORK is the main folder for the Advanced User. It shows you the currently connected network (i.e. Wireless network) and gives you options to manipulate that network, such as the ability to browse files on another computer within the network and the ability to add a printer and/or other wireless device to the network.

NETWORK on the START Menu is just a menu-item that acts as a shortcut/link to the actual NETWORK control panel (network tools). Clicking on the NETWORK menu-item takes (shortcuts/links) you to the Network control panel.


Homegroup

HOMEGROUP is similar to NETWORK and is for Advanced Users only.


Personal Folder  (User Name: John)

The Personal folder is a folder set aside just for you, the account holder. This folder contains sub-folders/links to some of the above mentioned folders (i.e. DOCUMENTS, PICTURES, MUSIC and VIDEOS) as well as sub-folders/links to other folders such as CONTACTS (Address Book contacts) and FAVORITES (favourite Website Links).

These folders are for your personal use. So you could put your Microsoft Word 2016 documents (files) into the DOCUMENTS folder, add people to your Address Book and put your homemade movies into the VIDEOS folder for example. It is up to you.

THE  ALL  APPS  AREA

The ALL APPS area is primarily made up of programs (known as Apps.....short for Applications) that might already be pinned to the START Menu tiles (on the right-side of the START enu), programs that might already be pinned to the taskbar (on the bottom of the desktop screen) and commonly installed/used folders and files (software/programs - apps); all of which only show when you click on the ALL APPS menu-item. A program (app) that is 'Pinned', to the START Menu tiles and/or to the Taskbar, is merely a shortcut icon/link to the original program (app).

An icon is simply an image that is designed to represent a file or folder so that you have some idea of what that file does or what is inside the folder. For example: An icon with a Document image might be representing the Letter (data) file itself or the Word Processor (program) file whereas an icon with a Paint Brush image might be representing a painting (program) file or just the photograph (data) itself. An icon with a Folder image normally represents a folder and more importantly what is inside that folder. When you double click (press the left mouse button twice, quite fast, on the same spot) on an icon Windows 10 first determines what file is associated with that icon. If it is a Paint (program) file for example (i.e Paint.exe) Windows 10 will launch that painting program only, but if it is a Photograph (data) file (i.e John.jpg) Windows 10 will launch the painting program which then automatically opens and displays the photograph file.


To see the programs that are listed in the ALL APPS area you first need to click on the START Menu button (Fig 1.2 below) to reveal the START Menu menu-items on the left side as well as the START Menu tiles on the right side. From there, you then need to click on the ALL APPS menu-item ((Fig 1.3) to reveal the list of actual APPS available (Fig 1.4).

The START Menu Explained

Fig 1.2 - Move the mouse pointer over the START Menu button and then click the left mouse button

The START Menu Explained

Fig 1.3 - Move the mouse pointer over the ALL APPS menu-item and then click the left mouse button

The START Menu Explained

Fig 1.4 - The ALL APPS area of the START Menu has been revealed

Once you reveal (open) the ALL APPS area of the START Menu (as above) you can scroll down the alphabetically listed apps (programs) by either using the middle scroll button on your mouse, if it has a middle scroll button of course, by using the DOWN Arrow keyboard key or by using the scroll bar that appears when you hover the mouse pointer over the list.

THE  SCROLL  BAR  OPTION

With the scroll bar option, which is explained in the How To Scroll A Window section, you first need to move the mouse pointer over to the right-hand-side of the apps list to make the thin grey scroll bar appear, if it is hidden. When you can see it move the mouse (mouse pointer) on top of it. Now press (click) the left mouse button and keep it (the click) held down as you then move the mouse pointer downwards; so you drag the thin grey scroll bar downwards too. This technique is known as Dragging (Dragging the mouse pointer/scroll bar).

The START Menu Explained

Fig 1.5 - Move the mouse pointer on top of the scroll bar and then press and hold down the left mouse button

When you are where you want to be in the apps list (i.e. you can see the app you want to use) simply release the left mouse button so you are no longer scrolling through the apps list.

The START Menu Explained

Fig 1.6 - Drag the thin grey scroll bar downwards until you see an app you want to use

With the app you want to use is in view (below) move the mouse pointer over its name (on top of its name) and then click the left mouse button to actually launch (open and use) that app (program). In this example I will click on the app called Microsoft Edge (Microsoft's 'Internet Browser' app).

The START Menu Explained

Fig 1.7 - Click on the app you want to use

In some cases, usually during installation time, a piece of software and even Windows 10 software might create a folder for one or more of its apps within the apps list; especially if they want to group their apps together. This means you may have to click on their yellow folder icon first, to open it, before clicking on the app itself. In this example I have clicked on the yellow folder called WINDOWS ACCESSORIES in order to then click on the app called Notepad; which is a Text Editor program (app).

The START Menu Explained

Fig 1.8 - Click on a yellow folder to open it and view the apps inside it

With the DOWN Arrow (cursor) keyboard key option you simply keep pressing down on that keyboard key until the app you want to use is highlighted (with a rectangle) and then press the ENTER keyboard key to launch (open and use) that app (program).

The START Menu Explained

Fig 1.9 - Press the DOWN Arrow keyboard key until you reach the app you want to use, then press ENTER.

With the 'middle scroll button on a mouse' option you scroll it downwards, to move down the apps list, until you see the app you want to use. From there you move the mouse pointer over that app's name and then click the left mouse button to launch (open and use) that app (program).

The START Menu Explained

Fig 1.10 - Use the middle mouse button to scroll through the apps list

If you use an app (program) on a regular basis you might want to consider pinning it to the Taskbar and/or to the START Menu tiles area, thus avoiding unnecessary scrolling and the opening of a yellow folder.

PIN  TO  THE  TILES  AREA

Pinning an app is the same as sticking (pinning) a piece of paper to a cork board. You put a pin in the paper so it stays on the cork board. The same applies to pinning an app. You pin it to the Taskbar and/or START Menu tiles area because you want it somewhere convenient, easy to find and easy to click on when needed. To pin an app to the Taskbar and/or START Menu tiles begin by moving the mouse pointer over its icon/name and then click the right mouse button (right click) whilst over the app's icon/name. Doing so will bring up its context menu (Options menu) whereby you then need to select (left click on) the menu-item called PIN TO START.

The START Menu Explained

Fig 1.11 - Click on the PIN TO START menu-item to pin the app to the START Menu tiles area

In the above example I am pinning the Calculator app to the START Menu tiles area, but I also have the choice of pinning it to the Taskbar as well. It depends on whether or not I want the Taskbar filling up with apps in the future. In my case I do not like too many apps cluttering up the Taskbar, however convenient it may be. Anyway! Once an app has been pinned to the START Menu tiles area it will initially be placed at the bottom of the tiles area, but you can move/reposition it if you want to (see below). Clicking on the app will launch it (execute/run it). If you want to unpin the app simply right click over it, to bring up its context menu, and then select the UNPIN FROM START menu-item (Fig 1.13 below).

The START Menu Explained

Fig 1.12 - The Calculator app has been pinned to the bottom of the START Menu tiles area

The START Menu Explained

Fig 1.13 - Click on the UNPIN FROM START menu-item to unpin the app from the START Menu tiles area

You can also resize an app to make it smaller, larger, wider or medium size. Medium size is the default (standard/normal) size. In the example below I am going to make the Calculator app larger by selecting the LARGER menu-item.

The START Menu Explained

Fig 1.14 - Click on a size menu-item to change the size of the selected app

You can also move (drag) an app around the START Menu tiles area to reposition it - Move the mouse pointer over the app's icon/name and then press (click) the left mouse button and keep it pressed down (clicked), whilst the mouse pointer is over the app, as you then move the mouse pointer upwards; so you are dragging the app (its tile) up towards and over the top of the other tiles (apps).

The START Menu Explained

Fig 1.15 - Drag the app (its tile) to a new position, if need be.

As you drag apps (their tiles) around other apps (tiles) naturally get moved out of the way to make room for the app you are repositioning. When you are happy with its new position release the left mouse button.

The START Menu Explained

Fig 1.16 - Release the left mouse button when you are happy with the app's (tile's) new position

If an app has been installed as a Third-Party piece of software, such as an Internet Security package or Office package, it can be uninstall (removed from the computer and therefore from the START Menu) by selecting the UNINSTALL menu-item from its context menu (not shown here).

The above was just an introduction to the 'START Menu basics'. You will find other examples of the START Menu throughout this website.