Computer Tip: How to put back the Start menu in Windows 8

One of the problems with Windows 8’s not so great reception by critics is the loss of the Start menu. Many have felt that is a major problem.

I have mentioned previously that the best solution would have been for non-touch screens and devices to have the option of using either the current “modern” desktop or the old Windows 7 style desktop.

When Windows XP was released, users were given the familiar Start menu but had the option to switch to the Windows 2000 style menu. Myself, it took me a couple of years to switch from the Windows 2000 style menu to the Windows XP style menu.

Going back to the “problem”, since there is no choice as Microsoft forced the modern desktop on us [note: the Windows 7 Start menu was available in an earlier developer “preview” but was removed in subsequent editions], enterprising companies and individuals have come out with replacement Start menus for Windows 8.

Basically, when you get into Windows 8 [after logging in], when installed, you will switch right away to the desktop. On the bottom left corner, you will see a variation of the old Start menu button and clicking it gives you a variation of the old Start menu. “Extras” may be added.

One application, commercial but just $5, is something called Start8 from Stardock [ http://www.stardock.com/products/start8/ ]. It is very closely resembles the Windows 7 menu except it uses the square-ish modern edging.

Another application, but free or open source, is Classic Shell [ http://www.classicshell.net ] It has a number of numerous features such as  Start menus that resemble Windows 7 or Windows XP as well as various tweaks for Internet Explorer, Windows Explorer, etc.

Note: You may wish to wait a bit or make sure your menu replacement before installing the first [and future] service packs for Windows 8 as it could break the application.

Note: I’m only mentioning two. There are others. I would, however, not recommend something called Vista Start Menu at all because I’m not sure if it works with Windows 8, and when I installed it, it installed some applications without warning. After removing the software one application still lingered. Unsure if what installed was spyware or anything but I don’t trust anything that doesn’t give me the option of not installing it.

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About ebraiter
computer guy

6 Responses to Computer Tip: How to put back the Start menu in Windows 8

  1. wanderjahre says:

    Reblogged this on Wanderjahre's Blog.

  2. Hi Eddie.
    I think this was a major blunder by Microsoft . People have been used to this for how long now, 20 years now? So why remove it? Well, someone at Microsoft had the brilliant idea that people will just adapt to all these new changes in a flick of the screen. Maybe if you’re a techie geek you will, but most people like those old school comforts, and that’s one of them. I see this like removing an arm from a body, then be asked to “be good at typing”. I don’t think anyone should be asked to buy any thirdparty tools, or even bother looking for any to get the start button back . Windows8 is already a pay product so Microsoft should have put a fix ASAP to get the Start button back for those people who like to have it, and issue an apology for those who had to waste their time look where the heck it went! Just my 2 cents.

  3. ebraiter says:

    Doubt on Microsoft fixing the problem. $5 ain’t that bad. But yes, it is a blunder. nOt their first or last – but the same can be said for others. Like when IBM decided to use [I think] Java in a version of their Notes desktop. Major slow. Or [as far as I’m concern] Google coming out with Chrome OS. Another Linux distro.

  4. Chrome OS is just another way to bundle Google apps so that people use more of Google, Gmail, Gtalk, etc. whatever Google makes. So now _they_ are boxing their users into using their apps, which is again, a version of their “candy coated prison”. Am I part of that prison, sadly yes.

  5. ebraiter says:

    Thoughts:
    No license key? Plenty of tools to recover the key.
    No OS? If media isn’t included, OS should include it. A friend may have the media [OK, no drivers for the specific hardware].
    Not surprised, he had bought an Acer computer. Pure crap.
    Switch from a SATA drive to a SSD? Most SSD manufacturers include a utility.
    “Metro” interface? Microsoft killed the name. Try “Modern”.
    “Broken continuity”? When Office 2007 came out, how could they change the user interface for the OS. This would require major changes. Surprised he didn’t complain that Outlook 2007 was a hybrid [no ribbon bar for example].
    Yes, it was a big goof when they included the Modern interface as the interface. Should of given the non-phone users the option to choose if they wanted the Modern desktop or the old Start menu.
    He complained about the “Charms” bar name and others. Granted, not the greatest name – but this is very minor complaining. [The Chevrolet Impala is a horrible name. I think it reminds me of “impale” – but what do I know. People still bought it.]
    The search feature is a bit of a pain in the butt with Windows 8 as well as accessing the Control Panel.
    Windows Update seems to have disappeared [or hard to find]. So I added it to the desktop.
    Can’t figure which is clickable or decoration? [Around 22 minutes] I suspect those he showed are all clickable. I have seen a greyish button – I guess that’s not clickable.
    What he failed to mention is that there are enough positives such as a [quasi] monthly mini service packs [only downside is that the mini service packs are not cumulative.
    With the exception of the ribbon bar, a good chunk of the interface [not the Modern interface but the regular stuff] looks a lot like Windows 7.
    Wants Windows 7? Purchase Windows 8 Pro and downgrade.
    The point in my blog post is how to bring back some sort of a Start menu. I mentioned 2. Both seem to do the trick [with maybe minor glitches that are livable].
    Anyways you can tell that some aren’t thrilled with this review when about 23% disliked it.
    Not saying I’m going to rush to Windows 8 [it is on my netbook] for my next system [in about a year]. With Windows 7 still being supported for just under 7 years, plenty of time to decide or wait until “Windows 9”.

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