If you’ve just upgraded to Windows 8 you may be disappointed to see that the Windows Start Menu seems to have disappeared! Luckily there is a way to get the Start Menu back but you’ll need some third party programs to make it work.
Windows 8 currently uses the Live Tiles screen for the instead of the traditional Start screen. The positive benefit of this is that it does give you some quick updates to your latest emails, news events, appointments and other information.
If you’re like me you may never actually use the Live Tiles and if that’s the case it ends up being more of a nuisance than anything else. Having a Start Menu is the easiest and quickest way to find any application you want and launch it instantly. The Windows Live button is more or less useless in most circumstances.
Getting the Start Menu Back
There are a number of Start Menu applications that will replicate the Start Menu used in previous Windows versions. We’ll briefly go through some of the most popular and you can try them out to see how they work for you.
Classic Shell – The Classic Shell is an open source program that aims to replicate the classic Start menu. Once installed you’ll be able to install a Start menu with all the bells and whistles or just the basics. You can also have it display in a single-paned menu or use the dual-paned menu used in more modern Windows versions.
Once installed, the Classic Shell menu will show shortcuts to all of your programs and settings. The Run command is also available from this menu. A Shut Down icon is also available so you can easily restart or shut down your computer.
8Startbutton – This program gives you access to three menus at the click of a button. You’ll have the classic start menu just like previous versions of Windows, as well as a number of Start Tiles, giving you access to different settings with the click of a button, and a menu showing your recent docs so you can easily start working where you left off.
The Start Tiles include 8 to 10 icons that include exploring your Computer, Network Setting, Control Panel, your Photos, Downloads, Documents, Music and Videos. It just provides a visual, larger version of what you can find in the Start menu.
Having quick access to the My Recent Documents menu is also pretty handy as it allows you to quickly get back into recent documents that you may want to continue reading or working on.
If you ‘right click’ on the 8Startbutton menu you’ll be given the shutdown options, including restart, sign out or shutdown. From here you also have access to the Task Manager so you can see what programs are running.
Pokki for Windows 8 – Provides a modern looking start menu that lets you open programs and files on your computer. It comes an icon area that lets you organize your favorite apps and programs into one place just like a smartphone. A shut down menu is also included so you can easily hibernate, restart or shut down your computer.
The Pokki Start menu has a sleek design that can include all of your favorite programs. When you make a search all of the Windows Store apps will also be included in the search results. Pokki for Windows 8 is available as a free download.
There are many more programs that emulate the Start menu on Windows 8. If you find one that you like better or just want to let me know your results with the above mentioned software then let me know in the comments below.