Follow Us

We use cookies to provide you with a better experience. If you continue to use this site, we'll assume you're happy with this. Alternatively, click here to find out how to manage these cookies

hide cookie message

Windows 8: How to solve the Start Button dilemma

How to get what Microsoft took away

Article comments

The top complaint about Windows 8 is that Microsoft got rid of the Start Menu and even the Start Button, and innovators have stepped in to provide a wealth of ways to restore it.

The solutions range from plug-ins to full applications both free and for pay and can prove useful for those who personally prefer the Start Menu as well as for IT pros trying to make Windows 8 less painful for their end users to learn.

Alternatively, it's easy enough to create a custom Start Menu workaround. Create shortcuts to all or frequently sought applications and place them in a folder, then pin that folder to the Windows 8 start screen or desktop. One click and you're inside the folder. This lacks search and other conveniences of an actual Start Menu, but it may serve the purpose adequately.

Third-party apps have some advantages. Besides being more familiar, a fully functioning Start Menu on end-user machines in a professional support environment can help cut down on help desk calls from users who can't figure out where to find Control Panel in Windows 8 or how to turn off the machine, for example.

Instead, they just have to know how to click or tap from the Windows 8 Start Screen to call up the Windows 8 desktop where they can find the third-party Start Button. Some of these Start Button/Start Menu apps can boot up Windows 8 machines directly to the desktop rather than the Start Screen, making the process even simpler.

Here is a sampling of some of the Windows 8 apps, some free, some free for trial, some for pay.

Classic Shell is a free collection of enhancements for Windows that includes a Windows 8 Start Button and a customizable Start Menu. It also creates a toolbar and status bar for Windows Explorer and a caption and status bar for Internet Explorer.

Classic Start 8 is a free app that adds a traditional-style Start Button that leads to the search box as well as Control Panel, All Documents and Documents.

Pokki doesn't try to look exactly like the classic Windows Start Menu but does bring back its functionality. Its search feature not only calls up results from applications on the computer but also from the Web and the Pokki application store. Pokki is a free download.

Start8 ($4.99 from Stardock) brings back the Start Menu and enables booting directly to the Windows 8 desktop rather than the Windows 8 start screen. It lists the Windows 8 start screen as an item on the Start Menu so it's just a click away. So is shutdown, something that takes four steps with the Windows 8 interface.

StartFinity installs a Start Button and a Start Menu. A free version suitable for trialing doesn't allow customizing the menu and has a command, WinAbility, that leads to WinAbility's store. It's not for commercial use. One commercial-use license costs $4.95; 10 cost $29.95.

StartIsBack creates a full-featured Start Button and Menu that behaves just like the ones in Windows 7, the company says. It requires no privileges. Free 30-day trial; $3 to buy.

Start Menu 8 restores the Start Button and Start Menu, and offers the option to skip Windows 8 start page, booting instead to the Windows 8 desktop directly. It's free.


More from Techworld

More relevant IT news


wl said: dmb Will that install the start button in windows 8

Mike_Acker said: install Linux

Randy Appointment said: The best tool to bring back the start menu is startisbackSource httpbitly17p9BEi

toepoke said: Another alternative but without having to install anything httptoepoketumblrcompost

Mario said: Another idea with a twisthttpfastkeysvzecom

Send to a friend

Email this article to a friend or colleague:

PLEASE NOTE: Your name is used only to let the recipient know who sent the story, and in case of transmission error. Both your name and the recipient's name and address will not be used for any other purpose.

Techworld White Papers

Choose – and Choose Wisely – the Right MSP for Your SMB

End users need a technology partner that provides transparency, enables productivity, delivers...

Download Whitepaper

10 Effective Habits of Indispensable IT Departments

It’s no secret that responsibilities are growing while budgets continue to shrink. Download this...

Download Whitepaper

Gartner Magic Quadrant for Enterprise Information Archiving

Enterprise information archiving is contributing to organisational needs for e-discovery and...

Download Whitepaper

Advancing the state of virtualised backups

Dell Software’s vRanger is a veteran of the virtualisation specific backup market. It was the...

Download Whitepaper

Techworld UK - Technology - Business

Innovation, productivity, agility and profit

Watch this on demand webinar which explores IT innovation, managed print services and business agility.

Techworld Mobile Site

Access Techworld's content on the move

Get the latest news, product reviews and downloads on your mobile device with Techworld's mobile site.

Find out more...

From Wow to How : Making mobile and cloud work for you

On demand Biztech Briefing - Learn how to effectively deliver mobile work styles and cloud services together.

Watch now...

Site Map

* *