The Windows Start Menu

Jul 1, 2008
Updated • Dec 25, 2012
Windows, Windows Vista

It took me a little while to adapt, but I soon grew to find the Vista start menu far more useful and productive then XP's ever was. Granted I've read the comments of a lot of people who disagree, but I personally think the integrated search has again made the Windows start menu my main point of access to all my programs.

Previously I had used a whole combination of toolbars and application launchers so it was a welcome change to remove some of this clutter.

One of the notable alternatives to pop up was the Vista Start Menu, a replacement for both the XP and Vista menus. Developer Dennis Nazarenko created it because he says:

"I have always found the Start Menu in Windows to be inconvenient to use. In the new Windows Vista it's been made more attractive but more inconvenient than even before!"

His replacement is definitely a more useful option for XP but I would never recommend using it in Vista, it would be somewhat of a step backwards.

vista start menu

In fact you can actually get the Vista Start Menu in XP, thanks to the Vista Start Menu Emulator by Folgelsoft. It is a completely accurate version of the Vista start menu for XP, and I think it's very impressive. In fact I on my XP computer I love using this application as it functions almost identically to the real thing and is a dead ringer looks-wise.

The performance is also impressive, no lag or slow down compared to the default menu and it loads very fast on the initial login. The integrated search is almost instant, and better in some ways then Vista, but that's becuase the VSME only searches the shortcuts within the menu itself. Vista indexes the entire system.

So if you want to give the new start menu a try without upgrading then this is how you can do it. Admittedly it looks a bit funny when used with the Luna theme as it's black and transparent, but you can always skin your desktop to match.

Update: The Vista Start Menu Emulator homepage is no longer available. We have uploaded the last public version of the software program to our servers. You can download it here: (Download Removed)


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  1. SQrL said on July 2, 2008 at 5:09 pm

    Why use ANY Start Menu at all. Launchy ( is the ONLY application start tool you need!

  2. Josh said on July 2, 2008 at 11:50 am

    @ Daniel. Agreed! I was just trying to keep my comments about developers down somewhat after my RSS Bandit post, haha, but yes I find it a annoying as well.

    @Thomas… I did indeed, in fact for at least 4 months after using Vista. Then I just realised the start menu did the same thing and I didn’t need to put another third party app on my system. Okay, I know its a little slower and less intuitive but maybe I’m lazy :P

  3. Thomas Williams said on July 2, 2008 at 12:55 am

    G’day Joshua, do you use an application launcher like Launchy? Kind of makes Vista start menu search redundant, IMO.

    Cheers, Thomas

  4. Vikas said on July 2, 2008 at 12:32 am

    This looks like something to try for Win XP. Let’s see how much increases the productivity.

  5. Daniel said on July 1, 2008 at 7:17 pm

    I hate marketing sentences like that so much..

    “I have always found the Start Menu in Windows to be inconvenient to use. In the new Windows Vista it’s been made more attractive but more inconvenient than even before!”

    I mean to me that just shows the developer is desperate to sell his stuff, rather than acknowledging a good start menu by Microsoft and developing on top of that.

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