6 Start Menu Replacements for Windows 8

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Want a Start menu on your Windows 8 desktop? While Microsoft no longer includes the Start button, opting instead for a click in a hidden corner and a new Start screen, there are quite a few Start menu replacements you can choose from.

You can try living without the Start button and customizing your Start screen – it’s very possible to get by without the Start button and some people seem to prefer the new interface – but you have a choice.
Many of these tools also allow you to boot directly to the desktop and hide the charms and app switcher that appear when you move your cursor to the corners of the screen, giving you a more traditional desktop experience.



Classic Shell

Classic Shell is a free, open-source Start menu replacement. It includes skins that can mimic the Windows 7/Vista, Windows XP, or Windows 2000/98 start menus and is extremely configurable. If you’re using Ninite to set up your new computer with the software you like, you’ll find that Ninite can now install Classic Start.
For a more in-depth look at Classic Shell, read How To Log Into The Desktop, Add a Start Menu, and Disable Hot Corners in Windows 8.


Stardock’s Start8 offers a Windows 8-style Start menu in addition to a Windows 7-style Start menu. Unlike Classic Shell, Start8 isn’t free – while there’s a 30-day free trial, you’ll have to pay $5 if you want to use Start8 long-term.
Start8′s Windows 7-style Start menu is a more accurate reproduction of Windows 7’s Start menu than Classic Shell’s.

Start8′s Windows 8-style Start menu isn’t too shabby, either – it feels similar to the new Start screen, but you can use it without going full-screen.

IOBit StartMenu8

Try IObit StartMenu8 if you’re disappointed by Classic Shell and don’t want to shell out $5 for Start8. IObit StartMenu8 is completely free and works more similarly to the Windows 7 Start menu than Classic Shell does.

Right-click the StartMenu8 icon and you’ll find many of the more useful options for using your computer as a traditional desktop, including the ability to skip the Start screen at login, hide the charms sidebar, and disable the other hot corners.

Make Your Own Start Menu

Using the Windows taskbar’s support for “toolbars” that can display the contents of a folder, you can create your own Start menu replacement without installing any third-party software.
For instructions, check out How to Get the Classic Start Menu Back in Windows 8.


Pokki is primarily an “app store” for Windows, but it also offers a Start menu for Windows 8. Unlike the other Start menus here, Pokki doesn’t try to copy Microsoft’s Start menus exactly. It has a different design, which you may or may not prefer. There are separate categories for your applications and settings and you can also pin your most-used programs to the Favorites section.


There’s also ViStart, which was one of the most talked-about Start menus when the first preview releases of Windows 8 were released with no traditional Start menu. Unfortunately, ViStart’s installer is now full of useless toolbars and other junkware – we can’t recommend ViStart when the other Start menus here work so well.

The third-party Start menu ecosystem is flourishing. Samsung and Toshiba are even writing their own Start menus – Samsung Quick Starter and Toshiba Desktop Assist – and including them with their Windows 8 computers. It’s very possible other PC manufacturers will follow.



How To Log Into The Desktop, Add a Start Menu, and Disable Hot Corners in Windows 8

From the

If you don’t have a touchscreen computer and spend all your time on the desktop, Windows 8’s new interface can seem intrusive. Microsoft won’t allow you to disable the new interface, but Classic Shell provides the options Microsoft didn’t.
In addition to providing a Start button, Classic Shell can take you straight to the desktop when you log in and disable the hot corners that activate the charms and metro app switcher.
There are other programs that do this, but Classic Shell is free and open-source. Many of the alternatives, such as Start8 and RetroUI, are commercial apps that cost money. We’ve covered Classic Shell in the past, but it’s come a long way since then.


You can download Classic Shell from Sourceforge. It isn’t just a Start menu – it also adds some other features that have been removed from Windows 8. The Classic Shell installer also includes Classic Explorer, which adds a toolbar to Windows Explorer, and Classic IE9, which adds a few features to Internet Explorer 9.
To avoid cluttering File Explorer and Internet Explorer, you can disable both of these options during the installation process.

Start Button

After installing Classic Shell, you’ll see a Start button in the familiar place. Pressing the Windows key will activate the Classic Shell start menu, just as you’d expect.

Classic Shell uses the Windows Classic layout – which imitates Windows 2000 and Windows 98 – by default. There are also Windows 7 and Windows XP styles you can choose.

Whichever interface you’re using, the search box will search through your installed programs, so you can quickly launch programs by searching, just as you could on Windows 7 and Windows Vista. Unlike the new Start screen, searching in Classic Shell will display applications and control panel applets in the same list – you don’t have to select another area to search if you’re looking for Control Panel settings.

Disabling the Modern Interface

Classic Shell will automatically log you directly into your desktop and disable the bottom left Start screen hot corner when you install it. This still leaves the app switcher (which only works for Modern apps) in the top left corner and the charms bar at the right side of your screen. if you’d rather not see these while using our desktop, you can disable them from Classic Shell’s settings.
To tweak these settings, select the All Settings option at the bottom of the Classic Start Menu settings window and click the Windows 8 Settings tab. From here, you can tell Classic Shell to disable all active corners.
You can still access the charms bar and app switcher using Windows 8’s hotkeys, if you like. Press Winkey+C to access the charms and WinKey+Tab to access the switcher.

Note that the “Skip Metro screen” option isn’t perfect – when you log in, there’s a slight delay while the Start screen Is still visible before Classic Shell opens your desktop. Microsoft went out of their way to make logging directly into the desktop hard.
However, if you lock your computer instead of logging out, you’ll see the desktop when you log in — so you’ll only have to see the Start screen for a second if you shut down or log out of your computer.


Classic Shell is a tweaker’s dream. It’s filled with options for controlling everything about the Start menu and Start button, including support for custom Start button images and skins.
For example, you can select a Metro-style skin on the Skins tab and a Metro-style Start button image on the Start Button tab to make Classic Shell feel more at home in Windows 8. The other tabs are packed with options for controlling every inch of your Start menu.

To open the settings screen in the future, you can right-click the Classic Shell Start button and select the settings option.

There are quite a few good improvements in Windows 8: faster startup times, a much-improved file-copying experience, a great new task manager, and more. Classic Shell allows users that prefer the desktop to avoid a lot of the new interface formerly known as Metro, but still use Windows 8.



Start Menu being added by Samsung & Others

Several vendors announced tweaks in the Win8 Customer Preview to add the Start menu button back to Windows 8. Stardock and Samsung are some of the firms announcing they are adding the Start menu to their Win8 installations or products. Below is info on both of them. It was just a mater of time. I would not be surprised to see a free hack in the future. The Stardock product includes an option to boot directly to the desktop. Nice touch and at $5- the price is fair. Stay tuned.

You can get it here:

Samsung brings back the ‘Start’ menu in Windows 8 with free app

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By pavan.kumar ,Thursday, October 18th, 2012 Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Samsung brings back the Start menu in Windows 8 with free appIf you don’t want to miss the ‘Start’ menu button on the upcoming Windows 8 operating system, you can opt for any of the computers that have been recently unveiled by Samsung. Samsung is offering a free app that mimics the classic ‘Start’ menu for its Windows 8 laptops and tablets.

The pseudo-Start menu — dubbed Quick Starter (previously known as S Launcher) — from Samsung will be available as a downloadable app on the Series 5 and Series 7 Samsung slates. The app was earlier due to ship with new Windows 8-based Samsung machines. However, it will be now available as a free download when the new range of Samsung computers hit store shelves.

According to a Samsung representative, “The Quick Starter app provides a taskbar that can open different applications and a ‘Start’ menu that will have the same look and feel of the Windows 7 ‘Start’ menu. Quick Starter is a feature new to Windows 8 and is designed to provide users with a ‘choice of interface’ and ‘a familiar navigation scheme’.”
The newly introduced range of Windows 8-powered Samsung PCs and tablets are now available for pre-order at Samsung’s official website and will be available in retail stores after October 26. The new Quick Starter app is not yet available for download, but once the new Windows 8-based Samsung devices get into the hands of consumers it will start popping up.