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5 Start Menu Replacements in Your Windows 8 PC

Author: Brook Perry
by Brook Perry
Posted: Apr 02, 2014

Since its launch in late 2013, Windows 8 has received many positive and negative feedbacks. This new version of Windows has been received well among the touch device users but those with a traditional desktop PC have not been so impressed with the new tiled Metro interface. But the removal of Start button and introduction of Start Screen disappointed many, especially the non-touch computing device users. There is much controversy that non-touch device users want to replace the Start Screen by the Start Menu to get back the older Windows user interface.

Taking cue from this, many tools have been launched that can be used as start menu replacements to restore the Start button. If you're also looking for free Windows 8 Start Menu replacement, then check the following options. Following Windows 8 Start Menu replacements are available for download at free of cost.

1. Classic Shell

Classic Shell is one of the most used start menu replacement tools that deliver excellent performance at restoring the Start Button and the subsequent Start Menu on your Windows 8 PC. It not just brings back the start button but also creates an environment much similar to the previous editions of Windows. For example, it restores the Search and Run boxes, the Recent Items menu and the very familiar Windows shutdown menu and many more.

Classic Shell causes the complete skipping of the Start Screen and hence you will boot up directly to the desktop. And it is a highly configurable tool that allows you to keep any of its features on or off as per your requirement.

Classic Shell also provides you some very useful extras such as a menu of Windows 8 apps. Using this app you can launch your apps directly from the desktop. Other extras include the option of switching to the Start screen with just a click, enhanced status bars and toolbars for Internet Explorer (IE).

2. StartW8

Another interesting tool in this regard is StartW8. It doesn’t restore the actual Start button but provides you a Windows 8-style button. However, in terms of functionality the button is just like the Start Button. Click on it and you will get the Search box, Shutdown menu, recently launched programs, All Programs menu, My Computer, Control Panel and others.

Just like Classic Shell, even StartW8 brings to you some very useful but optional extras like the feature through which you can automatically switch to the desktop after signing in. This feature enables you to ignore the hot button corner at the lower level.

The limitation of StartW8 is that it doesn't allow you to launch your Windows 8 apps or disable the other hot corners. Overall, it provides you a good looking user interface and brings back to you most of the features available under the original Windows Start Button.

3. Start Menu 8

Just as in the name, Start Menu 8 brings back the Start Menu to Windows 8, and it does the same in a commendable way.

On using the tool, you get back a menu very similar to the earlier Windows versions. In terms of looks and behavior the menu is quite satisfactory. In fact you get six options to choose the look of your Start button. This tool is also effective at bypassing the Start screen and booting up directly to the desktop. It also provides the way where just through a click you can even turn off Windows 8's "hot corners."

It has certain limitations as compared to its competitors, like there is no menu to launch Windows 8 apps. Yet it is a solid tool that delivers the basic functionalities of the menu in a commendable way.

4. Power8

Power8 doesn't bring to you the regular Start button by default; its button is much smaller. Even the Start menu looks different to an extent. The major difference is that the power options get displayed one above the other unlike the original menu where they remain hidden in a menu.

This difference makes the access faster but makes heavy use of screen real estate. Similarly even the "All Programs" menu reproduces a look which is more close to the Windows "XP & 98" look rather than that of Windows 7.

So, in terms of look, Power8 may not look as appealing as compared to many of its competitors. Also, it has the limitation that it offers no option to launch your installed apps. But overall, Power8 is good at its basics functionalities.

5. Pokki

All the aforementioned Start Menu replacements try to reproduce what Windows 7 had and Windows 8 is missing but Pokki is a tool that aims at creating something more powerful.

It enables you to integrate the following in your Windows 8:

  • A cascading Start menu
  • A shutdown button fitted with all the old options
  • A button to switch to the Start Screen
  • A big smartphone-like to place your favorite apps
  • A quicker Search box
  • A framework to download and install apps like Twitter, Facebook, YouTube, Angry Birds, and more.

So in every way Pokki is an interesting app which is worth giving a try.

So, if you are a non-touch computing device user and like many others not much happy with the new Start Screen then you can stop bothering about it. Just download any of the aforementioned Start Menu replacements in your Windows 8 PC and get your Start Menu and Start Button to enjoy the earlier Windows interface.

About the Author: Brooke M. Perry is an ardent technician associated with Qresolve online computer support with wide experience of fixing issues with PCs, laptops, tablets and smartphone.

About the Author

Brooke M. Perry is an ardent technician associated with Qresolve computer security, with wide experience of fixing issues with PCs, laptops, tablets and smartphones.

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Author: Brook Perry

Brook Perry

Member since: Oct 25, 2013
Published articles: 71

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