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Make Xp Start Menu Behave Like Vista and Windows 7 Without Installing

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With working searchbar, scrolled program menu bar, etc...

As always, Our Guru Vishal Gupta (VG, Credits to him) also has a very good tutorial about :


Just check it out his post below or click the direct link to his awesome tutorial HERE.

Again, thx alot Master VG! :)

Hello everybody. After installing Vista, at first sight i have noticed There are 5 main features on Vista start menu that make it really different with Xp one:

1. Search Bar with Quick Search and File/Program Search

2. Scroll Program

3. Of course, The Skin (black) and GUI

4. The Menu/arrow next to Vista Log off/Shut Down Button

5. User Picture on Right

6. User Account Pictures

Most people choosed to install 3rd party apps on Xp such as Vistart and Vista Start Menu Emulator/VSE for emulating the features in Xp. Surely they (especially Vistart (Y), it rocks! ) are very good and useful apps, even free, with Vista functional features such as searchbar and transparency (though still lack of some i.e Right click/context menu extension feature not like original start menu etc). But still great job!

Otherwise even there are many good-looking Vista themes with fake searchbar GUI only to get "pure Vista in poor Xp". But please, still great job too!

However you can still get the functional features (behavior) without installing any 3rd party app (Except WDS/Windows Search, as recommended update/add on for Xp as Vista). Just use built in Xp Start Menu feature and Windows Search add on that originally from Microsoft (again, not only as a separated desktop search application, Windows Search is also a recommended update for old Xp search companion). Window Search even has same search engine with Vista Search (though the GUI is rather different, but functionality and many features are similar). Please also Visit Wikipedia to read more about Window Search in Vista and Xp. It's also integrated with Windows Explorer as replacement for Xp Search Companion (Rover).

If you like Vista ports and features, you can also consider about Windows Search (i realize there are many desktop search apps that might be better i.e. Copernic, but WDS is always in my heart lol :lol: . Seriously, i love it).

1. Search Bar with Quick Search and File/Program Search:

Install WDS (Windows Search). Download latest version from Microsoft (Version 4.0) Here. After installing, a new searchbar (Deskbar) will appear on taskbar. If not, right click the taskbar > Toolbar > Select "Deskbar" or "Windows Search Deskbar". To arrange it, Right click the taskbar > unlock the taskbar, then drag it under start menu as screenshot : From left to right (Start Button - Searchbar (Deskbar) - QuickLaunch bar).

By using Searchbar you can also search any file and program everywhere on hard disk, so fast, also internet, and even launch the programs (nearly similar with Vista feature). Please also read the help file after installing Wndows Search.

2. Scroll Program:

Right click the start menu, choose Properties > Start Menu > Customize > Advanced. Check "scroll program" box.

Dont forget also make sure to enable some useful features (usually by default) i.e "Enable Dragging and Dropping" etc. Since now, your Xp start menu already has scroll feature (vertical) as well as Vista, not "expand to right" (horizontal) anymore. Even it has "auto-scroll" (when mouse/cursor hover).

3. Skin/GUI:

This is related with Visual Styles/Theme and very personal (taste). Of course Vistart GUI is more similar with original one, but if you just want the "basic taste", Just use your favorite Vista Skin for Xp (either MSStyles and Window Blinds), especially black ones i.e. Zune, Royal Noir etc.

One of my favorite ones is VistaXp by Kol (Credits to Kol) as screenshot. You can also get it for free Here.

That's all. The GUI might still be so far from original Vista Start Menu look, or Vistart will still rule on the area. But to me, at least my Xp start menu still looks better and more comfortable than before... , all done just by original Microsoft/built in Windows tools.

4. The Menu/Arrow next to Vista Log off/Shut Down Button:

Hmmm....so far...any suggestion here, please? Add on? :lol: Yes seems only Vistart has this feature so far... (Thx to tosbsas for telling me). However i just think it's not rather critical/important feature...

5. User Picture on Right:

(Back to theme/Skin). You can also use some handsome Vista theme for Xp with user picture on right (like Vista). So many themes like that. One of my favorite is Vista VG RTM Here (Credits to Vishal GuptaDeviantart/MS-MVP). However i just think it's not rather critical/important feature...

6. User Account Pictures:

Vista User Account Pictures are different with Xp.

Just download all Vista User Account Pictures (Credits to Joshu4, Deviantart) HERE

then extract/copy them to "C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Application Data\Microsoft\User Account Pictures" (in Hidden "Application Data" folder). Of course alternatively you can also use "browse" feature. Then you can use one of them to replace standard Xp one as user account picture (unless you use your own picture). This is just optional...

Screenshots (Click to enlarge):

1. Xp Start Menu SeachBar:


2. Xp Start Menu Scroll Program (Vertical):


3. Windows Search "Quick Search" Feature (Like Vista Start Menu "Quick Search" Feature):



(Sorry I know most people may already know about this, but i included it only for integrity of this thread... :D ) :

If you want to re-arrange all folders and shortcuts of programs on Start Menu (i.e. to re-classify them: Create "Design applications" program folder for "AutoCAD" and "PhotoShop" shortcuts or "Tools and Utilities" program folder for "CCleaner" and "TuneUp Utilities" shortcuts etc), you can also find them in (either/both) 2 paths :

(All Without Quotes):

[b]1. All users -> (If the programs installed for everyone/general):[/b]

"%ALLUSERSPROFILE%\Start Menu\Programs"

or typical value (on C:\):

"C:\Documents and Settings\All Users\Start Menu\Programs"

[b]2. User {UserName} -> (If the programs installed for only me/you): [/b]

"%USERPROFILE%\Start Menu\Programs"

or typical value (on C:\):

"C:\Documents and Settings\{username}\Start Menu\Programs"

For example: If {username}="Andy", so the path becomes:

"C:\Documents and Settings\Andy\Start Menu\Programs"

Just create a new folder, rename it as you want, and drag/move (cut) the program shorcuts/folders there. Delete/move the unnecessary ones i.e Shorcut to Changelog file etc. Finally check the start menu, done. Make them simpler but also better and easier to access... :)

Add On for Xp Start Menu (Optional: Y'z Shadow):

If you still want transparency on Xp start menu and shadow like Vistart and (mimic) original Vista one, then you could also use this very well-known tool: Y'Z shadow (OK sorry :D , this is a 3rd party program/add on, but it's also so simple, cool, light, and actually you can also use it without installing it before). It can give transparency and shadow on Start Menu and also other Windows and some useful features. (It's also already built in some skinning programs like Vista Inspirat/Bricopacks)

- Download Y'z Shadow Installer latest version 1.9:

Crystal Xp: http://www.crystalxp.net/galerie/en.id.960...lorer-tools.htm

- Download Y'z Shadow "Portable" 1.9 (Main software files only/Exe, no need to install):

MD5: 704E0EFE4683E34E0B7253C6E4E8393C , 249 Kb


About Y'Z Shadow Portable:

- The main software files/Exe are never altered/tampered since i took them all only from YZ shadow program folder on "%ProgramFiles%\Y'z Shadow" or "C:\Program Files\Y'z Shadow". Only the unnecessary files such as uninstaller (Uninst0.exe) was removed.

- You can also take them all after installing YZ Shadow installer above as just backup from the program folder above (see the path)->Recommended. After that no reinstall needed. (it seems actually the program itself never needs installer, even all dlls and exes are self-registering...

> SOME FREE ADD ONS FOR WINDOWS DESKTOP SEARCH (WDS) / WINDOWS SEARCH (GET VISTA / WINDOWS 7 SEARCH ENGINE ON XP): http://www.microsoft.com/windows/products/...owssearch4.mspx

Also With search bar, e.g. on XP start menu too and so on...

- Visual Desktop Search 1.0 (VDS 1.0) - Freeware, by Michael J. Lowe (thanks, all credits to him): Seems originally inspired by Longhorn/Vista desktop search and WinFS. A desktop search user interface, called Visual Desktop Search (VDS), has been designed and implemented to enhance the capabilities of Microsoft Windows Desktop Search (WDS, now just called "Windows Search"). Visual Desktop provides facilities allowing you to search for information stored on your computer, such as emails in Microsoft Office Outlook or Microsoft Outlook Express, as well as documents, music files and photos. Using file properties and attributes (metadata) as search parameter beside names and word contents in advanced and informative UI and control features, etc and so on...


Download: http://www.kalio.info/Visual_Desktop_Search/

4Shared mirror: http://www.4shared.com/file/196273057/b14f...h_10__Wind.html

- Vista Start Menu Pro - much better than Vistart IMHO (By Dennis Nazarenko, available as free version and pro/payware): Vista Start Menu is the convenient alternative to the plain Start menu you find in Windows XP and Windows Vista. The program uses your cognitive abilities (visual memory, reflexes,etc.); however, while it is easily understandable for beginners, it is also highly efficient for experienced users. Replaces standard Windows Start Menu (works well on XP, Vista, and Windows 7) with better start menu with better features. Also supports Windows Search and Search companion in XP as well as Vista / 7 search, and brings Vista / 7 search bar to XP start menu with full Windows search capabilities to search programs and files etc. Overall, also seems this Vista Start Menu application is even much better than Vistart and the original Vista start menu itself IMHO!


Download: http://www.vistastartmenu.com/

Tips: To get Vista / Windows 7 icons on Vista Start Menu you have to patch Shell32.dll/use any XP shell transformation pack like VTP, Bricopack Vista Inspirate, Vistamizer, etc).

- MSN/Windows Live Toolbar: (Old) MSN Toolbar (Version 2.5+), Also provides toolbar with searchbar for Windows Desktop Search on both Internet Explorer and Windows Explorer in Windows 2000 and XP (with "stupid" MSN logo though lol. However some people still said it's nicer than the newer version). It's not supported anymore by Microsoft though, nor optimized/designed for newer version of Windows Search (4.0). Newer Windows Live and MSN Toolbar (now Bing?) for Internet Explorer also has both live search and Windows (Desktop) Search features, and been optimized.

Download and more info: http://toolbar.msn.com/ , http://download.live.com/toolbar , and http://www.discoverbing.com/toolbar/ (or just google etc...)

Hopefully still can be useful, or at least just as a little info here. Cya! :D


FYI In a fresh install of new Vista SP1 from Vista OS DVD (not SP1 from Windows Update/Automatic Update/SP1 installer/hotfix for Vista RTM), the start menu searchbar (not Windows Search service, nor searchbar in explorer) has been disabled by default. Seems because of Google Antitrust. Thx to adrynalyne for the confirmation.


Another Related Thread :

Get/Install Vista Explorer Preview Pane (Vista File Viewer) and Vista Desktop Search for Windows Xp

MSFN link: http://www.msfn.org/board/windows-vista-an...xp-t121713.html

List: Most Vista Applications and Features for Xp So Far (included Vista Apps Ported to Xp Etc)

-> Recommended for All Xp / 2003 Users



Edited by AMIRZ

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