Forget the Windows Start Menu: use Toolbox instead
Toolbox is a free program for the Windows operating system that enables you to launch apps, files or Urls from boxes that you create on the desktop.
The Windows start menu is not really the best option when you want to find something fast. It always takes some clicks to reach the destination - be it a program, the control panel or a drive that is connected to your computer.
Even if you are using the built-in search, you are not really getting anywhere without a couple of clicks or keyboard input.
Toolbox was designed as an application launcher to make it easier to access drives, folders and applications on Windows.
It uses an intuitive way to display information on the screen. All information are displayed in so called toolboxes that display links or information right on the desktop.
You can link to drives and display their size, launch applications with one click and open folders with another. It offers one of the fastest ways to access locations in Windows.
The best thing is that you customize the toolboxes anyway you want. Add icons, make the toolbox transparent, let it remain always on top, use background images and much more to make it look the way you want it to.
I'm using it to display all of my drives and their free space in the left corner on my desktop. Clicking on a drive opens the root folder of that drive and displays the contents.
Toolbox is free and does not need to be installed at all. Just unpack it into a folder of your choice and run it from there. You can create two toolboxes that use predefined elements using the Wizard. One creates a toolbox with all of your drives and the other one with all your personal folders. If you do not want to use those you can create a new toolbox, change its size and add items to it. Looks good, feels good, one of the applications that I can recommend to all Windows user.
Note that the customization may take some time as it is really displaying many options in the preferences and toolbox properties. You may need some time to work your way through the application, but once you have created your first box, it should be a lot easier to create the next.
Update: The program has not been updated since 2011 when the author released a public beta version of Toolbox III on the website. Windows users have other options to display links to files, folders or programs now in the operating system. Microsoft has improved the taskbar in Windows 7 allowing users to pin programs or files to it to open them right from that location.
Toolbox may still be interesting for the information that it can display. If you prefer to use a program that is still updated, try Rainmeter instead.
Thanks for the recommendation – I think I’ll take a look :) I’m currently using Launchy and loving it but to be fair it doesn’t allow access to hard drives and such.
Looks great, but I prefer a program called Launchy.
Insanely quick and handy program to launch applications. No need for start-menu or desktop icons anymore.
I recommend to everyone.