When it was first introduced in 1995, the Windows Start menu replaced the clunky Program Manager.
The Start menu could contain numerous sub-folders and items could be added to it with a simple drag-and-drop. The Program Manager was a good bit more cumbersome, unable to support nesting groups of files within other groups.
The changes since 1995 have mostly been cosmetic, but we were inspired after reading Steven Sinofsky’s history of the Start menu to put together a quick walk down memory lane to see how that iconic part of the Windows operating systems has matured
See the Start menu evolve
August 24, 1995: Windows 95 was the first version to implement the Start menu, a welcome change from the Program Manager.
June 25, 1998: Windows 98 didn’t bring many changes
September 14, 2000: Neither did Windows ME, still using an ugly gray and blue color scheme
August 24, 2001: Windows XP laid the foundation for how the Start menu appears today
November 30, 2006: Windows Vista put some transparency into the mix
October 22, 2009: Here’s the Start menu for Windows 7 as it appears on millions of computers today
And here’s the Start menu on the Windows tablet. While the word “Start” appears in the top left, this entire screen serves as a Start menu all its own.