Windows 8 comes with several improvements compared to Windows 7, but it also has some features lacking, which were very appreciated by many people. One of the most important ones is the Start Menu. Fear not, you don’t need to revert to Windows 7, you can have the Start Menu back and still enjoy everything Windows 8 has to offer. Here are 2 easy to use apps that you can use to restore the Start Menu in Windows 8:
IObit Start Menu 8 (Free)
Start Menu 8 from IObit is extremely easy to use, it offers Windows 7 and Windows 8 themes for your Start Menu, plus it’s 100% free.
1. Download and install Start Menu 8. At the end of the setup, the installer offers a third-party application, which will also get installed unless you deselect it.
2. Run Start Menu 8. The Style tab offers a Windows 7 and a Windows 8 Metro theme for the Start menu. Choose whichever you like.
3. The General Settings tab includes options such as setting the program to autostart with Windows, disabling some Metro features and several customizable shortcuts.
4. The Start Button tab is pretty straightforward. Here you can choose your Start Button icon. It’s a decent collection of icons, which also contains the classic Windows 7 and Windows 8 Start Button icons.
5. From the Menu tab you get to customize your menu. You can choose exactly which items you want to display and many of them can be shown either as a link or as a menu.
6. The User Interface tab allows you to change the visual appearance of your Start Menu. Here you can set another Account Picture, change the font color and size, the number of programs to be displayed, power button action and a few other options.
And here’s how my Start Menu 8 Start Menu looks like:
Stardock Start8 ($4.99)
1. Download and install Start8. The installer offers another application, deselect it if you don’t want that installed too.
2. The program will run automatically after the installation is complete. Choose “Try Start8” to activate the free 30-day trial. You’ll need to confirm the choice with e-mail verification and then click Next.
3. While the options may differ a bit here and there, the UI is very similar to IObit Start Menu 8. Start8’s Style tab also has a Windows 7 and a Windows 8 theme, although there are a few different versions for the Windows 7 theme (default theme, default theme with black edges, rounded windows 7 and shadow).
From the same tab you can choose how the Start button looks like (a bit low on options compared to Start Menu 8). You can choose the default icon, the Start8 logo or select one of your own images.
4. The Configure tab lets you customize the functionality of your Start Menu. Here you can choose which applications you want to appear on the left side and the shortcuts that should be displayed on the right side (these also have options to be shown as links or as menus). Also, you can set the default action for the Power button.
5. The Control tab offers several accessibility options. For example, you can set the Start Menu to appear when you click on the Start Button or by pressing the Windows Key (or both, for that matter). You can also choose how to access the Start Menu while in a full screen Metro app.
6. From the Desktop tab, you can set the Start Button to appear on secondary taskbars, customize the Search function and disable some Windows 8 features in Desktop mode, such as hot corners, the Charms bar and skip the Start Screen after user login, among other options.
And here’s how my Start8 Start Menu looks like: