I know many developers still swear by Windows XP, but I actually like many of the improvements in Windows Vista. Yes, Vista still has some rough edges, but overall it’s a pleasant experience. That said, one of the best features of Vista is the new Start menu. Rather than clicking through a bunch of cascading menus to find the program you want, you press the Windows key and start typing the first few letters of the desired application. Unfortunately, by default, Vista also searches documents, emails, and myriad other places as well, which makes this feature really slow. To make it useable, you can have Vista only search your programs.

  1. Right-click the taskbar and select Properties.
  2. Go to the Start Menu tab.
  3. Select “Start Menu” (not “Classic Start Menu”) and click Customize…
  4. Near the bottom, unselect “Search communications”, “Search favorites and history”, and under “Search files”, select “Don’t search for files”. Make sure “Search programs” is selected.
  5. Click OK twice.

Vista Instant Search is now fast enough to be usable.