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To those who want to give their Vista Start Menu a bit more power, there is a very useful add-on called “Start++“.  It extends Vista’s start menu with customizable commands which gives you the ability to perform lots of actions in an instant. You can perform various kinds of searches (Google, Yahoo, Live, IMDB and Wikipedia), listen to music, view pictures and much more.

For example:

Type in “g makeuseof” and it will show the Google results in your startup Menu bar for “makeuseof”.

vista start menu search bar

Or type “playartist Audioslave” and it will perform a search for music for the artist Audioslave, find it, compile the results into a .M3U file and automatically play it in Windows Media player. Right now it only supports WMP but they are planning to change that soon and you’ll be able to play it in your favorite media player.

Wikipedia look-up is also nice. You can look up any thing that you need on Wikipedia without opening your browser. For example: I wrote “w counterstrike” and it gave me an overview of what Counter-Strike is in my start menu. Here, I’ve reduced the screenshot size to give you an idea.


start++ vista

Basic Commands that you can run with Start++ are

  • Run a Wikipedia search by typing “w search term
  • Launch an application by typing “sudo cmd
  • Play music by a specific artist with “play artist name
  • Check out the weather by “weather zip code
  • Search Imdb “Imdb movie name
  • Look for any picture in your hard disk by typing in “Pic name

It doesn’t end there.  You can add your own shortcuts by using its configuration UI and share them with your friends.

vista start menu tip

You can also extend the search functionality of Start++ by installing the plugins that are already available for download. (Link below)

Download Start ++
Download Plugins

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  1. Vertx
    February 13, 2009 at 11:24 pm

    pass on this one, it's kind of a weak search toolbar built in to the computer, I would assume that you need to be connected to the internet, and if that's the case, um firefox is just one click the same as clicking on your startmenu...

    needs A LOT of work, clever idea just implemented poorly.

  2. Miguel Wickert
    December 14, 2008 at 1:56 am

    Not to shabby... what else do we know about its developers? Not a bad idea- I just don't know if I'll ever use it enough so why download it? Thanks for sharing.


  3. gt57
    December 13, 2008 at 5:39 pm

    I am a big fan of Start++. I like the idea of getting a lot done just by pressing the Start button and entering commands.

  4. prisonnet
    December 8, 2008 at 3:14 pm

    I'm not going to lie - this looks pretty ugly. Kind of like some spamware took over your start menu.

  5. T.J. Mininday
    December 7, 2008 at 7:36 pm

    Wow, this looks sweet. I'm not a big fan of the Start Menu search. I know it doesn't it job, but I guess I just still am used to the ole' Start>Run concept.

  6. Umar
    December 7, 2008 at 4:59 pm

    even tho I always prefer a browser for all this but this is a great tool I'll give a try.