MicroSeconds – EasyDesktop 7.0 review

elegant menu system for Windows
Photo of MicroSeconds – EasyDesktop 7.0
$29.95 (approx. £21)

Slightly more (ahem) mature readers may remember the vast number of DOS shell programs that used to be available. One of these was EasyDOS, very similar to Quikmenu. EasyDOS is still going strong in the days of Windows ubiquity, and is now known as EasyDesktop.

As any power user will know, the installation of a large number of programs can quickly make the Start menu unwieldy, while a desktop covered with icons is similarly unappealing. EasyDesktop, which can be configured to launch automatically or via a hot-key such as the Pause button, provides faster, more organised access to your programs.

An EasyDesktop menu, of which you can have as many as you like, contains a grid of rectangles, each of which can be used to launch a program. You have the option of editing each button manually or simply dragging and dropping shortcuts or application icons into the EasyDesktop workspace. Buttons can be colour-coded to your preference and it’s possible to load a background image too.

As well as launching programs, you can configure a particular button to load a specific file or URL as appropriate, so that clicking on a button will immediately show you your accounts for this year or take you to your favourite Web search engine. It’s a simple enough concept but it makes life much easier for anyone with more than a handful of installed applications.

Little touches make this program stand out. For example, you can add ‘bubble text’ to buttons, so that rolling your mouse pointer over an entry in the ‘to do’ list or address book will display relevant notes at the bottom of the screen. Shortcuts at the top of the menu provide access to a file search, various control panel functions, your e-mail client and Web browser, plus a display of the amount of disk space remaining and so on.

Company: MicroSeconds

Contact: 00 1 760 634 6796


Verdict
If you're not keen on the conventional Windows desktop and all that it entails, then EasyDesktop might be of interest. It certainly provides better access to large numbers of programs than the Start menu, although its simplistic design won't appeal to everyone. The only problem we found is that there's a 'fast shutdown' icon that doesn't require confirmation before exiting Windows. A quick 'Yes/no' query wouldn't go amiss here, to avoid accidental shutdowns. That problem aside, though, EasyDesktop 7.0 is a useful tool that can make Windows easier to use if you have a lot of applications.