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How to get the start menu back in windows 8

One of the great features that never changed in Microsoft windows is Start button and the start menu. Users preferred it to access their programs more than any other method. Over the years Microsoft introduced many extra features to the classic start menu but they never got rid of it even in windows 7. Microsoft has got rid of the classic start menu in windows 8 to make it more touch friendly. It’s a revolutionary decision taken by Microsoft.
Although they believe that the future of the personal computer is based on touch screen devices majority of current pc owners don’t own touch screens. If you have installed the preview version of windows 8 you might have found that it’s a bit odd not to have a start menu. We can bring the good old start menu back to windows 8 so most of the non-touch users will feel comfortable to use windows 8.
In the first release of windows 8, Developer Preview had a hidden start menu that could be activated by editing just a single registry entry. However Microsoft has completely removed start menu from the later versions. So that there’s an 85% possibility that we will never be able to enjoy the good old start menu in Microsoft windows ever again. So we have left only two main methods out of three methods that we previously had to get the start menu back in windows 8.


1) Using already available windows tools to get a start menu

  • Creating a new toolbar

2) Installing 3rd party software to bring back the old start menu

  • ViStart
  • Classic Shell
Using already available windows tools to get a start menu

Creating a new toolbar

You can have a classic start menu like feature by following few steps. This way you don’t have to install any 3rd party software. Also it’s very easy to undo the start menu when you are more comfortable to use the metro GUI.

Step 1
Please right click on your task bar and select Toolbars and then select New toolbar

Step 2
Then type C:\ProgramData on the address bar, press enter and then double click on Microsoft folder

Step 3
Select Windows > Start Menu > and then select Programs and click on Select Folder button

Step 4
Now you are almost done. But to bring it to the bottom right corner where the classic start menu was you have to unlock the task bar.

Step 5
Right click on your task bar and select Lock the taskbar in order to uncheck it. Now drag your new tool bar to the bottom right corner of your task bar so that you can replace it where the classic start button was.

Step 6
Now you are done! The classic start button is back. If you want to remove it please right click on your task bar and select Toolbars and click on Programs so that it will be removed.

Installing 3rd party software to bring back the old start menu

Maybe you find the previous method less attractive as it doesn’t look nice although it has all the features that the classic start menu had except commands like power off and search bar. The best way to get a start bar resembles to windows 7 start bar with a start button icon is to install a trusted 3rd party software which supports windows 8.

ViStart

ViStart is great 3rd party software used by windows users to customize their start menus from a long time. It offers a great modern start menu just like windows 7 original stat menu. Also it officially supports windows 8. If you install this software it will give the authentic windows start menu look and feel.

Step 1
Please visit www.lee-soft.com to download ViStart
Step 2
Save it to your PC or just run it. Then your pc will ask administrative support in order to install this 3rd party software. Please allow it.
Step 3
Please follow the on screen instructions and agree to the agreement. Note that this installer has two other agreements so it will install other two, 3rd party software to your pc. Please agree to only ViStart if you don’t want to install additional software.
Step 4
You are done! Now you have a fully functional start menu with the windows icon.

classic shell

Classic shell is other good 3rd party software which offers a lot of classic windows options to windows 8. If you like the classic start menu which was originally introduced in windows 98 this is the best 3rd party software that you can use to bring back the start menu in your windows 8 pc. You can select other options such as going to the classic desktop window straight after logging in.

Step 1
Please visit http://classicshell.sourceforge.net/ to download Classic Shell and follow the on screen instructions.

Step 2
Make sure only to select Classic Start Menu and Updates.

Step 3
When you finish the installation process the setting window will appear. There you can select the style of the start menu that you want and other settings.

Step 4
Now you are done! If you want to exit this program please right click on the start button and select exit.

Feedback

Hope you found this tutorial useful to install a classic start menu in windows 8. We would love to bring more solutions like this to you on how to customize windows 8 so you can feel more comfortable using it without any touch screen devices. Please feel free to share your views on this tutorial so that we can come up with better solutions in the future.


- has written 43 posts on Smashing Tips

Mohamed Rias is the founder of Smashing Tips and co-founder of Omzen network. His interests are web designing, photography, wordpress , blogger, etc. He also does freelance writing for various blogs.

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