Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Start 4 Seven

Start 4 Seven is a simple solution for users looking for a way to bring back the classic XP start menu into Windows 7 environment.
The concept behind Start 4 Seven was to create a non-intrusive solution that will not change the way the current Windows 7 start menu works, but will only add the ability to use the classic XP start button in conjunction with the new one.
Another important issue was to create an automatic solution without manual settings.
So the trick is to scan the relevant programs locations (Program Files, Program Data, Profile folders, etc.) of the Current User and the Common User, this occurs when the user clicks on the Green start button , and based on the collected information the software creates the menu on the fly at run-time.
Start 4 Seven is using a small form warped around a single button (the good old green Start button) that launches the menu.
When Start 4 Seven starts, it first hides itself from the task bar so it will act as a desktop widget and not as standard application.
Next thing is to check if there are any relevant registry settings, the settings are saved at HKCU\Software\LeeLu\xpsm47.
If the key doesn't exist, the program will create it and will write two values in it:
Position – this value will tell Start 4 Seven where to position itself on the desktop (center, top left, top right, bottom left, bottom right), the default is 0 which means Center.
OnTop – this value will tell Start 4 Seven if it should act as "stay on top" of other windows or not, the default is 1 which means true.
If the registry keys exist, the program will set itself according to these parameters.
The last thing the program check on startup is the measures of the desktop and the size of the taskbar so it will position itself at the correct place.
That's all, now when the user clicks the green start button, the program will populate the menu and will present it.
To change any of the settings or to exit the program, the user have to right click the green start button, this will display a popup menu with the different options.
The program is also compressed with UPX to achieve a small file size.
Start 4 Seven is a portable application, you can copy the executable file to any Windows 7 PC or USB drive and execute it from there without any installation.

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