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After installing a lot of programs, my start menu on the windows and doc on mac collects to many object for visual control. So, organizing folder and placing (or installing) programs into these start menu/doc locations is a decent solution I’ve used in the past.

Now, I’d like to create a common organization across the various computers I use (work and home), creating categories like:

  • Office (MS Office, Neat Receipts, etc.)
  • Communication (IE, Safari, Skype, etc.)
  • Multimedia (Quicktime, Roxio, etc.)
  • Finances (Quicken, Links to budget files in Excel)
  • Utilities (Disk utilities, winzip/7Zip, etc.)

The above are fine and I’m sure they could be more (but probably no more than 8-12 categories in all). The optimal solution is likely based on the context in which one uses the computer (work or personal or some sub-context). Yet, I’m wondering if there’s some standard or universal thought someone has put to this need that they might share.

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Should be community wiki. –  tnorthcutt Sep 12 '09 at 21:49
    
I am not sure why everyone insists on this being a CW. It's a legitimate question with a very possible single answer. I do however believe the term best can be removed from the title. –  Diago Sep 14 '09 at 8:50

4 Answers 4

Here are the categories I have in my my Windows 7 Start Menu at the moment. Some of them could perhaps be removed (Ease of Access, which I don't have any use for), some could be merged (Maintenance into Administration).

  • Accessories
  • Administration (Renamed from Administrative Tools)
  • Disk Tools
  • Ease of Access
  • Games
  • Graphics
  • Handwriting (Renamed from Tablet PC)
  • Internet
  • Maintenance
  • Media
  • Office
  • Security
  • Startup
  • System Tools (Moved from within Accessories)

These are the only folders I have in the Start Menu (no subfolders) and I try and keep only one shortcut for each application in these folders (no ReadMe/Help or Uninstall shortcuts - they're just clutter to me).

I was quite impressed with the organisation & categories of the Ubuntu (9.04) menus - they seemed well thought out so might be worth looking at.

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Why do you need to organise them into folders and subfolders? Doesn't that only mean more clicks to do the same thing?

On my Macbook, I just have my most commonly used applications in my Dock, and then just use Spotlight to launch the rest of mine.

enter image description here

On Windows, I just left everything in the Start Menu in their default locations and installed Launchy and just used that.

enter image description here

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More Clicks, yes. But if you have dozens of common apps it becomes practically difficult to find those apps. Launchy does look interesting as an alternative approach. Yet, I do think I need some sort of organization of the programs... even if there are extra clicks. –  user10943 Sep 13 '09 at 2:24
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doug4j: And that is why we have search! It is built into the Start Menu, or is available via programs such as Launchy –  David Pearce Sep 13 '09 at 2:57

This is mine:

Start Menu

Of course, this is partially a vestigial habit from older Windows versions and partially my nature to be tidy more than most people.

I never find myself navigating the menu anymore, just typing into the search box.

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I've found that what every way you try to organize your dock, it's all still clumsy. For me, starting to use QuickSilver was a revelation because it wasn't necessary anymore to organize anything. All you do to start a programm is to call up QS (Ctrl-Space on my system), enter the program name with a learning incremental search feature, press enter and the program launches. It's always much faster then to select the program in the Dock or the Applications folder. Of course, that is my personal preference on this. Unfortunately, I've not yet found a program like Quicksilver for Windows that works nearly as good.

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Why must you use QuickSilver? The default Spotlight search is fantastic! Also, Launchy is QuickSilver for Windows. –  David Pearce Sep 13 '09 at 0:11
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Of course just like your answer about QuickSilver, joshhunt, one can ask why use Launchy when the default windows search-box is fantastic. :) –  Eran Sep 13 '09 at 0:23
    
I am not sure if I started to use QS before the release of 10.4, but nevertheless, the first Spotlight version in 10.4 sucked as it was too slow, so I got used to QS and never had a reason to switch. But I also have to say that Spotlight never clicked for me anyway, it's just not helping me in the way I think and use the system. –  SvW Sep 13 '09 at 2:49

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