Windows 8 comes with a wide range of improvements and changes, but the lack of a traditional “Start Menu” is the feature the average user misses the most.
As you probably know if you got the chance to give Windows 8 a spin, the new Windows iteration comes with a so-called “Start Screen” that provides access to all previously-called Metro apps, but also takes the place of the standard “Start Menu”.
Sadly, Windows 8 doesn't give users the option to get back the “Start Menu”, so it's basically impossible to see a “Start” button or a “Start Orb” every time you log on into Windows.
Still, the easiest solution to create a “Start Menu” is to rely on third-party software
and although Windows 8 isn't yet released, software companies moved pretty fast to create such applications.
If you find it very difficult to get used to the new Start Screen, try right-clicking in the bottom left corner of the screen
, the same place that provides access to this screen. The displayed menu lets you launch programs and features
, power options, device manager, Task Manager, file explorer and several other utilities. It's not a “Start Menu” per se, but at least it lets you launch the most popular Windows utilities in a second.
As for third-party apps
, the best and the most affordable (because it's free) solution is called Start8
and was developed by Stardock
This little app, still in beta stage, creates a standard Windows Start Orb on your Taskbar and lets you access programs just like you do it in Windows 7. Right-clicking the Orb pops out some other options
to launch “Run”, initiate a shutdown, pick a different Start Button image or disable the Windows 8 desktop hotspots.
Here is the full feature list, as it's provided by the developer:
- Windows 7 style Start menu with Windows 8 enhancements
- Users can search for Windows 8-style (Metro) apps with it
- Users can pin desktop and Metro apps
- Full support for Jump Lists
- Unified Search
- Users can boot directly to the Windows 8 desktop
- Fast access to shut down, devices, music, documents, videos
- Automatically matches color to the color of the taskbar
- Start button is now skinnable
- Optionally disable the desktop "hot spots"
- Supports WindowFX 5.1 startmenu animations "currently in beta"
- The Windows 8 Start screen becomes accessible from the Start menu
- Start menu size fully configurable
- Adds option for WinKey to show fullscreen Metro desktop
Obviously, Start8 is also available on Softpedia and you can download it with a single click here