Windows 8: Get back your start menu

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If you are new to Windows 8, be prepared for a surprise! Windows 8 is different. In fact, it was redesigned from the ground up as an operating system that’s equally at home on a desktop PC, laptop and tablet. It’s the most significant upgrade to Microsoft’s operating system since Windows 95. Just in case you haven’t upgraded yet, make sure to check out my previous articles on how you can install Windows 8 on a virtual machine without removing your current Operating System.

Start Menu in Windows 8

Probably, one of the most-missed features will be the start menu in Windows 8 – that shortcut that we all use to access our programs and files. We all thought that button would be ever-present. Microsoft just proved us wrong! That will be years of habit that go up in smoke with the removal of the start menu.

Get back the Start Menu in Windows 8

The good news is that some smart developers have already found a work-around to bring back the start menu to Windows 8. There are currently a few third-party applications out there that can help you find your way in Windows 8. While I have listed the applications in no specific order, read up to the bottom to find out which one I recommend you to install. :)

1. Pokki Start Menu

Pokki Start Menu is probably one of the best-looking Start Menu out there. Although it does not look similar to previous Windows Start Menu, this nifty tool allows you to access your files and applications easily.

Pokki Windows 8 Start Menu

2. Vistart

Vistart is yet another start menu replacement for Windows 8. One thing I didn’t like about it during the installation process is that it comes bundled with adware applications such as Sweetim. Oh well, I guess the developers deserves to make a few quick bucks for their effort. :) (They get a commission if you choose to install those adwares. )

Windows 8 Start Menu

3. Classic Shell

Classic Shell comes with a lot of options to play with.  You can switch to Windows Xp , Vista or Seven Start Menu easily. Best of all it is free and does not contain third party app unlike Vistart.

Windows 8 Start Menu Classic shell

4. Win8StartButton

This app shrinks the Metro interface to the same size as a Start Menu. You might want to install this one if you want both a Start Menu and the Metro interface at the same time. Unfortunately, it seems that this tool is available only in German language.

Win8StartButton

5. Start Menu Modifier

This one does not really add anything to the desktop. It just breaks the ’tiles’ in the Metro UI horizontally.

Start Menu Modifier

6. Revel BringBack

While this one adds a really sexy Start Menu with a Windows 8 logo, it seems a little buggy as it did not remove the start menu image even after uninstalling it.

Revel BringBack Start Menu

7. Spesoft Windows 8 Start Menu

This one looks pretty much the same as the Classic Shell except that it lacks some features like the restart/switch user button, and it seems to be a bit slow.

spesoft windows 8

8. Power8

It is similar to Classic Shell except that its start button is smaller and users might find it difficult to click on.

Windows 8 Start Menu

9. Start Menu X

Start Menu is another replacement for the system menu that comes in two flavors: Free and Pro ($19.99). It is the only app that has the ability to resize itself.

Start Menu X

10. IOBit StartMenu8

Once installed, it will not only bring you back your Start Menu in Windows 8 but also allows you to skip the Metro Screen and boot up directly to your desktop.

StartMenu8

I have tried all the 10 tools mentioned above and I personally think Classic Shell is the best of them. It’s highly customizable and best of all it’s free. Now do you think people will get accustomed to the Windows 8 without the Start Menu ? Share your opinions with us in the comment section below. :)

  • Miangi

    Thanks ! It works perfectly. I was totally lost after installing Windows 8.

    I think people will complain for next few years for this big change! And companies will think twice before moving to Windows 8 since they’ll probably have to give them training how to use it. What do you think ?

  • David Tyler4

    I was having problems finding my programs in Windows 8. Looks solved my issues whilst I found my way around Windows 8 Thankyou

    • Hayder

      Awesome ! Which one you are using David?

  • buythiscomputer

    What is the easiest / lightest / fastest to use ?

    Thanks.

    • Hayder

      I would recommend you pokki Start Menu and Classic Shell. They are the best two Windows 8 Start menu free alternative out there.

  • Nate

    How to bring back the start menu once I used start menu modifier ?

    • Hayder

      Once you install it, you should see it similar to the screenshot.

  • Mike

    I like your overview. I’d like to recommend Win 8 start button. It’s light and comes with decent features and it’s free.

    • george

      Yeah it doesn’t look bad but I would stick with Classic Shell for now :) Pokki Start Menu is not bad also.

  • Mantrajee

    Hi Hyder,
    I’m using Classic Shell too! It seems to be the best one there :) Thanks!

  • Wendy

    Installed Classic Shell – works great – as was used to XP.
    Took a few days to get used to WINDOWS 8 but now my new PC does what I want it to along with many new bells and whistles at my disposal too ! Good to see an online help site like yours – PERFECT. Sincere thanks.

  • Samar

    Classic shell is the best Windows 8 start menu replacement in my opinion. I have been using this for quite some time now and never had issues with it.

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