I know on my computer there are a ton of programs. When the programs are installed, they put icons on the desktop, in the start menu under a folder, sometimes on the taskbar, sometimes at the top of the start menu.. Sometimes it can't be located! So instead of actually trying to browse the start menu, clicking various folders such as accessories, it is easier to actually Search (click on the image below for a larger view of the start menu). Hit the start button, and type in the name of the program, "Calculator" for example and it will find the calculator program for you. Click on it and the program starts. How simple is that?
Want to have the program a little handier, in Windows 7, you can "pin" the program to the top of the start menu or "pin" the program to the taskbar, on the bottom left next to the start button. Search or find your program in the start menu, right click on the name and select "Pin to Taskbar" or "Pin to Start Menu". You can always unpin items by reversing the process. Right-click on the taskbar item and select "Unpin this program from the taskbar". Similarly you can clean up the top of your start menu by right-clicking on the item and selecting "Unpin from Start Menu". It will still be in the "All Programs Start Menu" directory.
With Vista, it is a little different. Instead of "Pin to Taskbar", you have the "Quick Launch" menu (the little icons by the start button are the Quick Launch menu). It works much the same way as Windows 7. Right click and select “Add to Quick Launch” (if it is not there you can hold
down the Shift key while right-clicking on it to make the option show
up.) You can also select "Pin to Start Menu" and it will be shown at the top of the start menu.