Holy cow, I wrote a book!
One of the features new in the Windows XP Start menu is that
"newly-installed" programs are highlighted.
Before discussing the rules, a quick backgrounder on why the feature
exists at all.
Research revealed that one of the tasks people had trouble with was
installing a new program and running it.
The step that the "new programs" feature tries to assist with is
the "running it" part.
In our tests, we found that people who
managed to muddle through a program's setup
got stuck at the "Okay, why don't you play the game now that you've
installed it?" step because they couldn't figure out how to get
to that program.
That's why there's a balloon that pops up saying
"Psst. That program you just installed? It's over here."
And then there's a "yellow brick road" leading you through the
Start menu to the program launch point itself.
What are the rules that control whether a program counts as
The basic idea is simple:
The Start menu looks for shortcuts that were recently
created and point to files that were recently created.
If there are multiple shortcuts to the same program, only
one of them is chosen. (No point highlighting two shortcuts
to the same thing.)
Once you've run a program, it is no longer marked as "new".
But then there are a bunch of rules,
based on feedback from our research,
that "tweak" the results by removing candidates from the list:
Wow, that's a lot of tweaks.
But each one was to address a real-world scenario that was found
during research and testing.
A typographical note:
The correct capitalization is "Start menu" with a capital S and
a small m.
(I got it wrong for the first several years as well until somebody
Not that anybody pays any attention to
what I say about how things should be called.
[Raymond is currently away; this message was pre-recorded.]