Switcher Tip: Mimic The Windows Start Menu in OS X

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By: switchtoamac at: 10:12 AM on July 21, 2006 | Comments (9)
There are several ways to launch programs in Windows.  Most Windows users are accustomed to launching programs via the Windows Start menu.  Specifically:

Start > All Programs or Start > Programs

The easiest way to launch programs in OS X is via the Dock.  The Dock provides users with a very easy way to access and launch your most commonly used applications.  You can also use the Dock to get quick access to files, folders, and just about whatever you want to access with a simple click.

People new to Mac OS X generally find it difficult to launch programs that are not located in the Dock.  If an application icon isn't in the Dock, the most common and most time consuming way to launch an application is to navigate to the Macintosh HD and then to the Applications folder:

Macintosh HD > Applications

A cool tip for switchers is that you can mimic the behavior of the Windows Start Menu in OS X by simply adding a shortcut to the Applications folder on the Dock.  The upside to this is that you will be able to launch applications from the Dock in a manner that will simulate the Windows Start menu.  Please refer to our Mimic the Windows Start Menu guide or refer to the steps below:

  • Open Macintosh HD
  • Drag the Applications folder to the Dock and place it next to the Trash icon
  • This will place a shortcut to the Applications folder in the Dock (you are not actually moving the Applications folder to the Dock)
  • Click on the Applications folder to launch applications.

You will now have a simulated Windows Start menu that will provide you with a very easy way launch Applications.  Cool!

9 Reader Comments


Another way to fast-access Applications is to choose it under Finder Preferences General: New Finder Folder opens...

There is NO loading time. All you have to do is click on the desktop, and Open New, which can be done either in the Menu Bar or from the keyboard: Command-N.

Welcome to Mac World.


Or you could drag the applications folder into the dock…

As a person who is new to Mac OS X, this tip rocks! This is really cool. Thanks.

Another keyboard shortcut is Command (i.e. "Apple symbol") + A to bring up the Applications folder.

Quicksilver! Get it, use it, you'll love it!


Once you start using it you'll wonder how you used a computer without it.

Or Butler:


Also Versiontracker.com is great resource for finding applications.

Actually, that's Command + Shift + A

Thanks for this tip. Didn't know this was possible

ahhh, very clever... thanks, I got a new iMac recently; it's nice, and I've always loved the dock, but being a PC guy I was missing the taskbar. ^_^ awesome idea

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