TechWhirl (TECHWR-L) is a resource for technical writing and technical communications professionals of all experience levels and in all industries to share their experiences and acquire information.
For two decades, technical communicators have turned to TechWhirl to ask and answer questions about the always-changing world of technical communications, such as tools, skills, career paths, methodologies, and emerging industries. The TechWhirl Archives and magazine, created for, by and about technical writers, offer a wealth of knowledge to everyone with an interest in any aspect of technical communications.
Subject:Re: shortcuts to docs from Start menu From:Jeff Hanvey <jewahe -at- yahoo -dot- com> To:Becca Price <becca_price -at- yahoo -dot- com> Date:Tue, 18 Jul 2000 14:10:37 -0700 (PDT)
--- Becca Price <becca_price -at- yahoo -dot- com> wrote:
> Of those of you who document Windows-based software,
> does your installation process put a shortcut to the
> documentation (either on-line help or .pdfs) on the
> Start menu or an application-specific sub-menu from
I have seen software do this, and I really don't
appreciate it. I consider it needless, since I usually
need help when I'm using the program where the "help"
option is available - and that help menu better have
more than "about" as an option, or else I will
probably stop using the software.
Generally, I customize my start menu so that I can
access programs quickly. I hate trying to find a
program file in that endless sea of folders.
Here's what my start menu looks like:
1. The top potion of the Start menu itself only
contains a shortcut to Windows Explorer.
2. The programs list contains the following
subdirectories (alphabetized): Accessories, Drawing,
Games, Hardware, Imaging, Internet, Office, Page
Layout, and Web Design.
3. Most of these directories contain subdirectories as
appropriate. (for example, "Internet" contains
directories for chat (my unused IM programs, mostly),
e-mail, and newsgroups)
4. Shortcuts are distributed into their proper
directory and arranged from the most often used (top)
to the least often used (bottom).
5. All needless or unimportant shortcuts are deleted.
Most often, these include read me's, helps,
uninstallers (of course I make sure that the option is
available in the program's real file; there have been
situations in which this was NOT the case).
6. Any program I use regularly is added to the Quick
Access Bar. This is where I access my browsers, email,
and D-drive. If I find myself using a program
regularly, I'll add it and delete it once I find I no
longer use it as often.
I also hate for programs to insert themselves into the
start-up group without asking. I guess this stems from
having a crappy computer for so long - these programs
run in the background and eat away the RAM. (Real
Player is the worst offender at this - I'd delete it
from the start up group, but as soon as I started the
player, it would be back - damn program defaults).
Of course, I only do this on my home computer. At
work, I tend to leave things as I found them, except
to add three folders to the desktop, "Current work,"
"old work" and "Jeff." Any shortcuts I need are added
to the MS OfficeBar or placed directly on the desktop
so that I rarely have to use the start menu. I rarely
create a shortcut to a specific document, since most
programs have a nice "recent" list or open directly
into the last directory opened. That makes it easy to
access my files within the subdirectories.
Oh - and I have a question for the list: In Windows
NT, besides the individual profile folders, is there
anywhere else an item can be added to the start-up
group? I have a folder that opens each time I log onto
my workstation, and I find it annoying.