Your Top 11

Something a bit different today – some reader participation!

If you aren’t still stuck in the middle ages of Windows 2000 then you’ll be familiar with the ‘Start Panel’ – the new-style Start Menu introduced in Windows XP that, amongst other things, keeps a prominent list of which programs you use the most often.

It’s probably just me, but I find these lists to be a fascinating insight into user habits. I was amused to once find that the top three of a senior professor I know to be Internet Explorer, Word, and Solitaire (in that order, so he was at least working slightly more often than playing). So, here is today’s exercise: below are the Top 11 programs I use, as indicated by my Start Panel recently used programs list. Your task is simple: leave a comment listing your top 11 as it stands right now.

Don’t worry if there aren’t 11 by the way; the exact number differs between different versions of Windows, but on both my workstations there seem to be 11 when I include the pinned items for Email and Web browser.

Top 11 - Work My Top 11

  1. Flock
  2. Microsoft Office Outlook
  3. Remote Desktop Connection
  4. Notepad++
  5. Microsoft Office Excel
  6. Windows System Image Manager
  7. Microsoft Office SharePoint Designer
  8. VNC Viewer
  9. Microsoft Virtual PC
  10. Adobe Photoshop CS3
  11. WinDbg

So what can we take away from this? Possibly that I work too hard (tragically, the lists on my home and work computers are very similar). Also, I’ve been doing a lot of SharePoint work recently, and have been getting new client images built, hence the appearance of Windows System Image Manager. Not all that exciting, but hopefully yours will be a bit more interesting!

About The Angry Technician

The Angry Technician is an experienced IT professional in the UK education sector. Normally found in various states of annoyance on his blog. All views are those of his imaginary pet dog, Howard.

20 responses to “Your Top 11”

  1. Carl says :

    Internet Explorer
    Word 2003
    Impero Console (Classroom management Software)
    SIMS .net
    Remote Desktop
    PowerPoint 2007
    Excel 2003

  2. Ray says :

    Internet Explorer
    Windows Live Writer
    Paint (This is most often for cropping screen shot and save)
    Movie Maker
    Live Photo Gallery
    Calculator (because there’s never one around on my desk anymore)

  3. Ellira says :


    MSN Messenger
    Adobe Acrobat
    *Game I’m not willing to admit to playing*

    This is unsurprising, as I do most of my work on my other laptop. And also because most of my work at home involves Googling stuff I don’t know …

    I don’t actually use the personalised start menu, though. I much prefer to just look at a full list of programs if I’m looking, and the stuff I use frequently (Calculator, Notepad, Firefox, Windows Media Player, Paint) are in that spot usually reserved for Microsoft Update, and programs that like to push themselves on you.

  4. bofhuk says :

    My Top11 at the moment are:
    Internet Exploder 7
    Firefox 3
    Command Prompt
    Paint Shop Pro 8
    Remote Desktop Connection
    Microsoft Word 2003
    Microsoft Excel 2003
    Acronis Snap Deploy 3 Management Console

  5. powdarrmonkey says :

    * pinned item:

    *Internet Explorer
    *Outlook 2007
    *Offer Remote Assistance
    *Google Chrome
    SQL Server Configuration Manager
    Command Prompt
    Remote Desktop Connection
    Word 2007
    Visual C# 2008

  6. xm-x1 says :


    Outlook Express
    Media Player
    Way of the Exploding Fist PC

    Windows Media Player

    Pretty obvious which machine is the internet machine there lol. I’m surprised though that Unreal Anthology doesn’t show up on the Desktop but Ballistics does…I’m pretty sure I haven’t played Ballistics since April???

  7. tmcd35 says :

    I actually have two problems with this task 1) my main PC is a MAC, and 2) When I do boot Windows I have this feature turned off – I use a standard Win2000esque start menu in XP.

    Still I only use my XP VM at work so I can pretty much guess what would be on the list if I did have one…

    Internet Explorer 8
    Excel 2003 or OO.o Calc
    Remote Desktop Connection
    Custom MMC console
    Word 2003 or OO.o Writer
    Yosemite Backup
    Publisher 2003
    Wisesoft Bulk AD

  8. CAM says :

    On my home computer it is quite messed up. Partly down to my reluctance to use the Start Menu and start most things by shortcuts and the Run command.

    1. Firefox
    2. Outlook Express (it lies, I use Webmail)
    3. Irfanview
    4. Second Life (rarely used)
    5. World of Warcraft
    6. Ventrilo
    7. Live (Music demo, used this once)
    8. VLC
    9. Visual Studio 2008 Command Prompt (never used this to my knowledge)
    10. Wordpad (OK…it took me a while to install OpenOffice)
    11. Sound Recorder (again rarely used)

    Conclusion, on some systems the history is utterly useless.

    • AngryTechnician says :

      I’ve noticed that the Visual Studio 2008 Command Prompt can make an appearance often due to starting cmd using the Run command. I don’t know why it favours the VS shortcut over the regular cmd shortcut.

  9. andyt31 says :

    Remote Desktop Connection
    Hyper-V manager
    Mozilla Firefox

    Vodafone mobile connect
    Command Prompt
    Password Safe
    Microsoft Office Excel 2007
    Microsoft Office Word 2007
    Winape (Amstrad CPC emulator!)

  10. Giles says :

    GhostCast Server

  11. Notalot says :

    SQL server Config
    MS VPC
    Remote Desktop
    Exchange System Manager

  12. Alan says :

    Internet Explroer
    Microsoft Outlook
    Remote Desktop Connection
    Microsoft Word
    SQL Configuration Manager
    Microsoft Excel
    Command Prompt
    Windows Live Writer
    Microsoft Virtual PC

  13. TheCrust says :


    (I turn off history and personalisation and run a redirected start menu rather than it’s because I never do any work. Honest.)

  14. hazymat says :

    1. Google Chrome
    2. Internet Explorer
    3. Microsoft Outlook
    4. Opera
    5. Firefox
    6. Remote Desktop Connection
    7. Ultr@VNC Viewer
    8. Notepad++
    9. IrfanView 4.10
    10. Command Prompt
    11. Adobe Photoshop Lightroom
    12. Skype

    (God knows why 12, maybe because I pin loads of icons to the start menu)

  15. TheBigRedButton says :

    Windows 7 here – so i dont have the customary internet and email pinned to the start menu, but here is my top 10 anyway

    Stepmania 4 Alpha 4
    Macromedia Dreamweaver 8
    Mirror’s Edge
    Internet Explorer (64-bit)
    Internet Explorer
    Call Of Duty 4 MP

    Pinned to my taskbar – Minefield (Nightly Firefox Build – currently on 3.6a1pre), explorer, winamp, wl messenger, steam and the asus xonar audio center

  16. Mat says :

    Snipping tool
    windows media player
    microsoft word
    microsoft powerpoint
    command prompt
    Microsoft Excel

  17. ScottishTech says :

    We don’t have the application history stuff by GPO because we rolled XP out with Classic Start Menu. So perhaps when we go to 7 in the Summer (licence purchasing and R&D willing), then I can provide an accurate answer..

    Off the top of my head, it’d likely be (in no particular order)

    CMD prompt
    Altiris Deployment console
    Firefox Portable
    Thunderbird Portable
    Internet Explorer (for looking up our HD calls, pretty much exclusively)

  18. jimbobmcgee says :

    1. SumatraPDF
    2. Microsoft Excel 2010
    3. PuTTY
    4. SQL Server Management Studio
    5. VMware vSphere Client
    6. Microsoft Word 2010
    7. Microsoft Visio 2007
    8. Snipping Tool
    9. Internet Explorer
    10. Angry IP Scanner

    I’d add to that Firefox and Notepad++; I load them at startup (or soon after) and they run I next shutdown (which is invariably after I get fed up with push “four hours/postpone”, somewhere around the second Friday of every month…

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