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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.

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Start8

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.

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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.

Note: some readers have written in complaining about ads included in IOBit products, so we have removed the link.

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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.

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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

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.

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ViStart

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.

Chris Hoffman is a technology writer and all-around computer geek. He's as at home using the Linux terminal as he is digging into the Windows registry. Connect with him on Google+.

  • Published 10/29/12

Comments (69)

  1. Pedro

    IMHO, the Windows 8 interface is really thought out, and we should try to learn how to use it efficiently, instead of inventing ways to go back to the way things were.

    There’s a saying that goes “When the grass changes color, the donkey starves to death”. Lets not be adverse to changes :)

  2. Alan

    @Pedro
    There’s also a saying that goes: “The man who farts in a crowded room is not very popular” which has the same relevance as your hungary donkey!

  3. LadyFitzgerald

    I’m not all adverse to changes, as long as the changes are an improvement. Win 8 is not an improvement. The lack of a Start Menu is the least of its problems.

  4. lonk

    Lets just all steer away from this ridiculous “new” Win 8… I was one of the first to test this new OS, and it was working great up until they decided to just remove the start button. Everyone I talked to about this change hates it. It may be practical for tablets and touchscreens but on my desktop it has no relevance…
    Microsoft made their biggest mistake ever in my opinion, and I really hope it will cost them billions of dollars to discover and go back to what people actually want from an OS.

  5. TsarNikky

    A sad commentary when third-party developers are needed to provide the functionality that MS chose to not include with Windows-8, but which a huge number of users want. Question: What ever happened to giving users the choice of appearance? Answer: Corporate arrogance, i.e., “we know what’s best.”

  6. Tom

    This is a perfect example of why I use Linux.

  7. Ken

    Microsoft has always had a nasty habit of hiding the most useful commands – Notice how ‘Printers’ and the ‘Run’ command are hidden by default from the Windows 7 AND XP’s initial Start button. Notice how the MOST useful icon, ‘My Computer’, is HIDDEN from a default installation, and takes some gymnastics to get it onto the desktop. Now they have hidden the most fundamental thing! I just can’t understand it – it’s like someone over at Redmond sat down and said, ‘What is the MOST disturbing thing we can possibly do to our new version of Windows? Oh, I know, let’s remove the Start button! completely’

    Have you seen Windows Server 2012? The ONLY icon that remains on the Desktop after installing is the Recycle bin! I rest my case.

  8. cityboy3

    I don’t think this is a issue if you want Win to work and look like Win than STAY WITH WIN7 all I hear and read is how to look and fell like win7.Is it just me? Just saying!

  9. cityboy3

    Win 8 to Win7 is what I meant! Sorry

  10. Kevin

    Classic Shell is a power user’s dream come true.

  11. rKiller

    Start8 is the best (from a geek to another geek(s))

  12. wonderingwonder

    all i ever hear is a bunch of whiney cry babies. wha wha Honey, i dont want this new car because the radio isnt in the same place that my last cars was. Honey, this car sucks, i want to go back to my old one because it doesnt have a cd/tape player n e more.,
    Move on people. Y whine about not having a start menu when theres so many other ways to “explore” around the OS.

  13. KMFDMKid2000

    @Tom Linux fares no better. Is your memory too short to remember the whole Unity fiasco when it was first introduced with Ubuntu? Same deal here. Sure, Linux is more customizable, but that doesn’t mean Windows isn’t, as evidenced with this wonderful article.

    Could be worse, you could be completely locked down and caged in with OS X…

  14. BigT

    I think the problem is not that the W8 interface is terrible it is that MS seems to have fogotten that it is a Graphical USER Interface. Which means keep the user in mind. While I can applaud the idea of moving forward and new one must always keep in mind, some users might prefer the previous. WHen making drastic changes to a UI always give the user an option to go back to the previous.

    That’s a basic rule in Interface design. Microsoft followed it when they went from Win 3.1 to Win 95, they followed it when they went from 95 to XP and from XP to Vista/7. There was always a way to make the new one graphically resemble the previous.

    The fact that these fixes exist means that the older style of layout doesn’t hinder the functionality of the OS. So it more looks like Microsoft dictating that you will use their OS exactly the way they tell you to and like it. Linux isn’t much better but there’s reasons linux gets away with it. Linux has many, many, many options out there and secondly, you do not shell out cash for Linux.

  15. cityboy3

    Did anyone mention right click on taskbar and select desktop? it works for me and you don’t have to download anything start8 is in beta so I don’t know about that till its gets better

  16. Jeff Burns

    I run a small business focusing on supporting home users. What I see is that Windows 8 is just further evidence that Microsoft has totally abandoned the individual user. Let me remind you that this is the same society that struggled with how to set the clocks on their VCR’s. This is the same society that thought DOS was way too complicated to use. Now that home-computer ownership is virtually mandatory, the MS business model will force home users into living with an operating system where most of the features are entirely hidden, requiring users to actually discover and memorize where and how to find them. Now, isn’t that special?

    The level of technical sophistication of these computers has done nothing but grow with each new generation. The industry spent years promoting the idea that operating systems were “intuitive”. They ran advertisements showing grade-school kids performing fancy photo processing. The underlying message was, “You’re the only one who can’t figure out how to do this.” At least when Windows 8 presents a user with a blank screen, they can’t claim to be intuitive.

    New customers virtually always start the conversation with me by apologizing for not knowing how to make their computers work. The industry we work in has made them feel stupid, and that makes ME angry. It isn’t about being stupid. It’s not their fault that we have presented them with a product interface that is feature-bloated and anything but intuitive. Remember the old Dilbert cartoon? “It has come to my attention that the correct answer is always the last thing you try.” The answer to the problem is always easy, once you know the answer. Up until then, it might as well be a brick wall. Windows has always had its share of brick walls. Windows 8 reaches a new high (low?) in that regard. My customers are very aware that they are paying me not only for knowledge, but for patience. Window 8 will require more of that than ever before. Way to go, Microsoft.

  17. Joe

    It is a good thing that Microsoft does not manufacture cars. They would want to put the gas pedal on the left side of the brake pedal and call it an improvement. Windows 8 should be called Windows Ain’t.
    I have been trying the free version off an on for a couple of months and I don’t really like it.

    They need to to give you an option when installing it.
    Option # 1 – Install Windows 8 without the start bar.
    Option # 2 – Install Windows 8 with the start bar.

    And what happened to all of the simple card games, chess, and Mahjong Titans that Vista and Windows 7 have. I could care less about Xbox.

    Windows 8 should be called Windows Ain’t.

  18. Doh

    Do all you guys would rather navigate through multiple levels of menus to run a program?

    Funny, all I have to do is press windows button, type first letter of program or file I want, press enter and that’s it! I’ll beat you every time! Menus are deprecated.

    This whole fiasco hit Linux a while back as well. The community answered back with MATE and CINNAMON. We already see the windows community fighting back as well with these start menus.

    As far as I’m concerned, adding menus is going back in evolution. The way it is now, everything is at your fingertips with a couple key clicks. I just wish the new start screen wasn’t fullscreen. Looks like some of these third party apps will fix that. Yay.

  19. lonk

    @Doh, Not everyone remembers the name of every program they have. With the start menu one is able to simply search visual to the program you want. Microsoft just figures that everybody just knows the name of a program and never never forgets it. The world doesn’t work this way…. If I were to take the step to Win 8, I must have a paper list or something with all the names of all my programs… Simply put, it is not about the things you can simply remember because you use them all the time, it is about those things you hardly use but sometimes are very important…

  20. toolman1

    The orb is invisible. Point to the lower left corner and metro icon appears and click or right click. click your selection. on metro screen only start typing and programs appear. windows 8 is fun. many of you worry to much. also you could use the windows key.

  21. HWND

    @Alan

    So you have a Hungarian Donkey? One of my favorite sayings: “If it ain’t broke; then don’t FIX it!!”.

  22. Tangmeister

    Trying to remain rational about it, I still can’t help but cringe at the ViStart section- yes, it’s slow and now filled with crapware, but I feel a tinge of sadness. Lee’s software had a significant impact for a lot of skinners out there back in the Vista days, and it’s too bad that it’s falling by the wayside. But competition drives innovation.

  23. cityboy3

    Dam didn’t know a start button would make up your mine about owning a OS! So it takes me 3 more seconds to go where I want……DAM sounds like it to long!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  24. Larry

    Many people are just missing that sweet little start button in Windows 8 why?
    Does anyone miss Windows 3.1 these days?
    Has anyone noticed, that most new vehicles don’t start with a key any more either, they just have a start button. Come on everyone, stop crying about a start button and learn something new!
    It is not the end off the world, it is just progress, so just change with it and go with the flow.
    Why do some people hate advancements and progress and just want or keep everything as is?
    If advancements in the tech world does not happen, we would not have all the tech toys like the
    i-pod, i-phone and i-pads which we have today, along with so many tablets.
    I say, forget about that stupid button, and put your brain to work, and learn something new!
    Because, once you learn Windows 8 and everything it has to offer, you will just forget about that silly start button anyway.

  25. Zander

    Honestly, there are people that will like the new layout… but in what universe would it be considered a good idea to remove a useful feature like the start menu that have been part of the OS for so long.

  26. Jeff Burns

    Larry,
    This isn’t about “that silly start button” and for many of us, our computers aren’t “toys”. This is about forcing an inappropriate design on your computer customers so you can get a foothold in the tablet market after you failed at your attampts in the smartphone market. Windows 8 is about working with small screens which don’t have room for menu bars, start buttons, gadgets, task bars and such. The Windows 8 design brings no inherent advantage to computer users. What it does bring for all current users is a list of one hundred eleven (111) keyboard combinations we need to memorize if we want to to perform everyday functions which used to be easy with our Windows GUI interface (thanks for mentioning that BigT). Progress? Really?

    As far as wagging your finger at people who are complaining goes, reactions like yours just enable companies like MS to get away with bringing bad products to the market. Just because something involves change, doesn’t mean it’s “progress”. Indiscriminate acceptance of all things new does not make our world a better place.

    Or, maybe you didn’t really want me to put my brain to work after all?

  27. StevOS/2

    I don’t see what all the fuss is about. Windows 8 is rock solid, performs better than Windows 7 and feels zippy throughout! I hated it when I first tried out the //BUILD version, but its got better and better over time, not to mention the recent 100MB update. Get it!

  28. dolfan1

    These articles are for people interested in features for Windows 8, because they like it, have it or are planning on getting it. If you don’t like Microsoft or Windows 8, FINE! If you love Linux or Ubunto, FINE! If you love iOS and Apple, FINE! But why do so many of you feel the need to click on an article that has no interest to you, just so you can bitch about Win8 and Microsoft? Some people need to GROW up and get a life!

  29. ATUL KHACHANE

    @Tom @KMFDMKid2000

    correct…

  30. Keith

    It would be so nice if there were comments about the various programs mentioned re. Win8, here and at just about every other HTG article.

    Everywhere I see you useless people with your bitchings and whinings, whichever side you’re on. Most of you have nothing but idiotic comments or otherwise TIRESOME rants—- all of which have been done before.

    Let’s have some people talk about Start8 and Classic Shell– AFTER they’ve installed one of them or tried more than one, and then post about the outcome and if they’d go on using the program, etc.

    As it is, most of you are a bunch of cranky kindergarten brats, and you’re not even SMART brats. Try the software, post something about how you like the software or why you don’t, then maybe you can work your way beyond stupid.

  31. Justin

    Actually more amused by how ignorant the comments are on this “start menu problem” . I wonder if these people even tried win 8 before denouncing it as lacking important features. I’ve found the start screen to be even more functional than the old menu. And just because there’s no button for it, doesn’t mean you can’t click the same corner as you used to To pull up essentially the same menu as you had before except bigger and even easier to navigate, as simply typing what you want brings you right to it. You people are all pretty dumb if you can’t figure it out.

  32. john3347

    I want a menu style listing of all applications that I have installed on my computer. I cannot remember the inappropriate geek names of some of my applications if I even wanted to type the name instead of simply clicking on the inappropriate geek style name that I cannot remember but can easily recognize from a list. Windows 8 is not an intuitive OS.

    One OS is not going to be optimized for everything from a cell phone to a corporate desktop client. If it were possible, Microsoft would not be the developer that first produces the OS. Somebody would first have to give them something to copy.

  33. Redd

    Thanks, if I’m ever forced to upgrade to Windows 8 (*shudders*), I’ll probably use StartMenu8, assuming that a better freeware SM implementation doesn’t appear before then. I’m too much of a cheapass to buy Start8, and Classic Shell can politely blow me, with its archaic and awkward Win95 interface that doesn’t even include a recent programs list and bizarrely places the Programs menu (ie: the SM item you’ll be using THE MOST) at the top of the menu (ie: the farthest away possible from where the mouse is when you click the Start button, as if it was the least used item… whoever came up with that placement must be brain damaged).

  34. OldFogy

    In the non geek community people don’t give a flying fig about what OS it is, all that interests them is getting done whatever it is the switched the device on for.

    I meet many computer users who are completely lost if the icon is not visible on the desktop.

    When shown how to copy from app A and paste into app B they can continue doing this, just don’t introduce app C.

    If this makes them productive enough to get things done, then the OS has achieved its function.

    The start button makes the OS more functional for a large number of people.

    The question to which I would like an answer is “How does the inclusion of the Start button adversely affect Windows 8?”.

  35. Juan

    LOL. Beware of Hungary Donkeys!

  36. DonkWonkian

    There are a couple of ways to look at this and how the designers at MSFT chose to go. The start SCREEN is the new start button! Just go with me here for a second… The entire start button experience has been exploded and expanded from a tiny slice of the corner to an entire scrolling screen. The start button isn’t gone, the Win8 start screen IS the evolution of the start button!

    Now what I don’t like about the new concept is that totally different apps get launched from this new start screen unless you have shortcuts properly setup. MS will get this right in Win9, don’t worry. They needed to get into the tablet business in a hurry so they are providing the best of both worlds. Start screen will work great on a tablet, less so on a PC. So because there are 2 versions of many applications, some get launched in metro, some on the desktop. When on a PC, 100% of the apps should be launched on the desktop! The start screen should just be there for navigating, searching, checking live tiles etc. This is even more problematic in Server 2012. Metro serves ZERO purpose there.

    Because of this split application personality between metro and desktop, I have chosen to bring back the start button. When I can disable launching metro style apps from the start screen, I will adopt the new methods.

  37. CompWiz

    @Jeff, more work = more income. Enough with the whining.

  38. indianacarnie

    Kudos Jeff Burns! You hit the nail on the head, and are much more articulate than I could ever be. Thank you for putting my thoughts into words.

  39. Simba7

    @wonderingwonder: No, it’s like replacing a steering wheel in a car with an Xbox 360 controller.

  40. Darakus

    The new start screen works as a keyboard launcher for us geeks. Mousing is so slow anyway, using a start menu replacement is embracing that slowness. 90% of the programs I use get start screen items, the other 10% I can add manually. After a few days of using the new start screen I already like it a lot more than having to install a third party keyboard launcher like I had to in windows 7. I also agree with the donkey quote up top….don’t be a donkey.

  41. john kabbi

    @OldFogy
    where in windows 8 i can find a list of all the programs that was installed in the machine (with all the components of a single program grouped together) ?
    any idea ?

  42. Jay

    Hey cool did not realise you could just start typing right away to search. If you don’t know what programs you have installed I don’t know what to say accept don’t install programs if you don’t know what they are called. Sorry I don’t have that issue I have lots of software installed and I know what I like and need to use. I hope they get rid of the desktop it’s useless anyway this is a much better desktop and can be customized anyway you want. The start menu gives me a head ache it’s too small and have to click the right spot and go through boring lists. Way to go microsoft can’t wait to see what you do with this. If it is that hard for your so called customers to figure out windows 8 they probably were not able to figure out windows any much less use cmd. It is not hard to type cmd or even pin it to your metro. The only problem I see now is that the desktop is in the way.

  43. David Wright

    Really. Hit the windows button, type the first character of the program and hit enter. How wonderful! Perfect if you have no more than 26 programs on your computer that you ever use.

    Me, I write software for a living. I typically have somewhere north of a couple of hundred applications on my computer at any given time. Guess what? With only 26 characters, that means that I will always need at least two, assuming that I take the trouble to memorize every single one. Even in the DOS days, you could pull up a directory to see what programs where there so you *DIDN’T* have to remember the name.

    The function of a menu system is to show you what is available in the absence of a “DIR” command. If you have no menu system, then axiomatically, you do not expect to have anything available. If you have nothing available, the computer itself is a large, very expensive *PAPER WEIGHT*.

    Speaking of Dilbert cartoons, there is the one with, “Our operating system is so intuitive that the interface only has one button!” “What does it do?” “Whoa! I’m in over my head. I have to call tech support.” Life imitating art, much?

  44. Jay

    Not sure where your going David I write programs as well I use visual studio 2010, 2012, and codeblocks just fine. I can pin the explorer icon and access my computer and many other common places right in the left view and I can pin any other directory I need quick access to as well. I can make groups for all my start menu shortcuts. I probably install just as much software as you but I use maybe 50 of those apps on a regular basis or less and instead of trying to find it in all programs or on the desktop I just find it in all apps. I only pin the ones I use the most on the main start menu. It’s not perfect but it’s not worse than the start menu or desktop.

  45. Jay

    Here is what I think. They should kill the desktop it’s just another directory anyway. They should use levels in metro for example I have my computer pinned in metro when I click it it does not open explorer window it opens metro explorer. They should have maybe as well metro taskbar. There is a long list of why it is good and why it is not but I think it can be made to be very suitable. It’s a different way of thinking it can be streamlined and it needs more and I am sure microsoft knows this.

  46. robith

    you know the next thing that will probably disappear in the next version of windows? taskbar. microsoft tries to replace mouse with finger and taskbar is by no means finger-friendly. it seems that i will be one of starving donkeys.

  47. wentutu

    I used a smaller and powerful start menu app for win 8,free get it: http://www.wentutu.com/

  48. roman

    I agree with most people who commented they want “Start button” back. I don’t have to remember all my programs and if you take Nero for example, there are 10 or 15 of them in the package. When I see “metro” screen (after I installed all my programs, and it is a lot) it looks like I dropped colored corn beans and I feel LOST. I can’t even find now VS Studio I just installed.
    I’m choosing now between all those 3d party software, which one to install, otherwise I found Win 8 pretty stable and fast so far.
    Another thing that made me mad – upgrade wizard, but it is a different topic. It didn’t allow me to upgrade from 32bit to 64 bit OS, wtf? Now I’m looking for ways to overcome it……

  49. Peter

    @ Pedro re: There’s a saying that goes “When the grass changes color, the donkey starves to death”.

    There’s another saying that goes “When the grass changes color, give people back the green grass that they know & love.”.

    You only have to look at the huge demand for utilities like Classic Shell and Stardock’s Start8 to realise that MS has dropped a clanger of momentous proportions. MY DESKTOP IS NOT A FREAKIN TABLET!!!

  50. JimRam9576

    You need RetroUI Pro in a bad way….
    + start menu/button (actually looks cool, not a copy of Windows 7 one)
    + taskbar in metro start screen
    + run metro apps in a window
    + skip metro at login
    These other ones listed here don’t come close to doing all this…

  51. Bear

    I’ve always hated the old Start Menu with every fiber of my existence. Using a mouse and keyboard, the new “Start Screen” is simpler, more intuitive, faster, better. There’s still a lot of stuff about Microsoft software/apps that are incredibly annoying to me, but the Start Screen isn’t one of them, because it’s an improvement. I think everyone who doesn’t like it is crazy. I have a Chromebox and Ubuntu box sitting next to my Win 8 junk on my desk.

  52. schmurtz

    Handy start menu is really cool too : it’s ordering start menu applications by categories.
    http://www.handystartmenu.com/

  53. Joe Friday

    @wonderingwonder all i ever hear is a bunch of whiney cry babies. wha wha Honey, i dont want this new car because the radio isnt in the same place that my last cars was. Honey, this car sucks, i want to go back to my old one because it doesnt have a cd/tape player n e more.,
    Move on people. Y whine about not having a start menu when theres so many other ways to “explore” around the OS.

    I swear I saw this (almost) verbatim comment on another forum. How’s the weather in Redmond?

    A more analogous comment would be “I don’t like this new car because they hid the steering wheel and replaced it with a tiller. Sure it pops up in front of you when you pull the turn signal toward you, but sometimes it just goes away for no obvious reason. Oh, and the stereo is in the glove compartment, which has no obvious means of opening. Sure there is a button to open it conveniently located under the dash which I keep bumping with my knee. Oh, and the paint job sucks.”

    Another good saying. When 5 people tell you that you’re drunk, you might consider the possibility that you are drunk.

  54. Michael Walker

    I agree with a lot of what is said here. I’m using windows 8 start button (http://windows8startbutton.com) that’s free and works great. It gave me the option to get the start button back and comes with some features that I end up using a lot- a social browser called torch and a media player.

  55. Pavel Jurka

    I’ve tried some of these star menus and Classic Start works fine but it’s like WinXP menu.
    Now I’m using classicstart8.com menu which is similar to Win7 menu

  56. Anonymouse
  57. eightisgreat

    StartIsBack is the best start menu program for me, as it is just like Windows 7

  58. Tim

    There’s also the saying “if it aint broke don’t fix it”

  59. googs

    all these users saying its ok!!! just because they are simple users who obviously dont do much with thier pc’s…

  60. eightisgreat

    Windows has always been modifiable by users and third party software, at least until 8.
    Remember Windowblinds.
    It was fun to have something different and in a lot of cases, more functional to each user,
    than the standard Windows.
    The new in your face Win 8 start menu, is ok with say 20 or less tiles. More than that, say looking for one particular tile in 100, is like looking for one certain olive on a huge pizza.
    The older Win start menus could be modified easily to include folders of whatever links one wanted inside. This could make the menu easy and fast to navigate.
    I will continue to use old style start menus, until Microsoft emails me, easy to understand
    instructions on how to group certain apps, or programs into folder links on the new Windows 8 start menu.
    Eg. Video apps, Audio apps, Photo apps, Office apps, Utility apps, etc.

  61. eightisgreat

    Thanks Microsoft for those instructions. It actually does work by right clicking on a folder, and selecting pin to start. It just looks terrible, by opening up in a huge folder window.
    It would be great if Microsoft could improve on this, and show expanding content mini tiles, inside the folder tile, as we hover our pointing finger or curser over the tile. We then select the mini icon tile inside, and there we have it.
    A better and more functional tile start menu, that I, would definitely use!
    Patiently waiting for this new start menu feature in Microsoft update 8.1a

  62. notusing8

    The comments about os UIs are just as amusing in the Windows World as they are in Linux.

    I generally don’t use Windows but I take care of some machines, plus the occasional instance where work requires me to be using it for various reasons.
    I have messed with the Win8 UI some and I can understand the appeal- on a tablet or other touchscreen device. It is far better on a touchscreen than the Win95-style menu system that has become prevalent in modern computing.

    On a non-touchscreen however, it is not as usable.

    Therein lies the biggest problem in modern UI development: groups (proprietary or open source) want people to use THEIR ui regardless of what device the are using or how they are using it.

    We now have four major classes of common computer devices:
    Desktop- large screen, keyboard and mouse, most without touch
    Laptop- mid-size screen, keyboard and trackpad/button,mouse, some with touch
    Tablet- small screen, touch, no keyboard mostly
    Cell phone- very small screen, touch only

    There is no way a UI that works on a cell phone will be good on a desktop.
    There is some crossover, of course: desktop UIs can be fine on a laptop, and a tablet ui can be good too, especially if the laptop has a touch screen.

    UI designers and the companies that pay them need to learn and understand that the paradigms are DIFFERENT for each class of device and trying to find ONE design that will work on all of them will be badly flawed.

  63. zdfhzd

    Widows GUI was designed for touchscreens. FOR desktop its useless. Thanks for article. helped me.

  64. Eric

    So.. Here’s my issue with windows 8. If you are in desktop mode, you have to go back to metro in order to run another app. If you remember, you can pin the app to the task bar so you won’t have to leave it again. If you are a power user (a developer like me) who runs tons of different apps in a day, and works almost exclusively in the desktop, it’s absolutely maddening. There has to be a way to select and run apps from the desktop. I think the start menu being removed and *no replacement* being offered for desktop mode is a huge oversight.

  65. IP7IV

    Bottom Line:
    Windows 8 start menu fills up the whole screen, and that’s a problem for desktop users.
    This “feature” is meant for tablet users; it’s just wrong to force regular desktop users with big monitors to only have that option.

  66. Paul

    Joe commented that during Windows 8 install MS should have given the user the option to configure it with a Windows 7 style start menu if they prefer. Frankly I’m totally stunned that Microsoft didn’t provide such an option.

    However, I would have set it out slightly differently. During installation Microsoft should have given the user the chance to specify the principal USER CONTROL METHOD they are using to interact with Windows.

    Question: How would you like to customise your Windows 8 User Experience?

    Option 1: Configure for Touch Screen Input Devices
    Option 2: Configure for Keyboard and Mouse (Puts the start menu back)

    Modern UI would still be available if you want to access it after selecting option 2 (although God only knows why you would use that crappy thing on a desktop PC with a decent sized screen).

    I mean, have Microsoft lost their marbles? End user experience is # 1. Not pandering to some concept of developers writing apps that work on all device types. Besides when did a modern UI ‘app’ look like anything other than a completely bland, over-simplified, locked to full screen waste of viewing real-state on a desktop? (allbeit with part useful split screen option). When I use Windows 8 (at work, we need the Hyper-V capability) I try and steer well clear of the modern UI apps or start menu.

    Strongly suggest MS give us this UI choice in the first service release…

  67. eightisgreat

    I alternate between liking new tile menu one day, and hating it the next.
    It really comes down to one’s frame of mind,
    and how much useful info, can be found to alter it, the mind and the menu, to fit the needs.
    This site is an excellent source, by the way, better than MS help files on system.
    If only MS could have given us more info, in the way of a video tour, as in Win 98 and xp.
    I just think of the tile menu, as my Start Jump Screen.
    It works quite well, as long as I have pruned and grouped my apps/programs,
    and made all my desktop apps, use desktop utility apps,(eg. pdf, browser, media player),
    so computer stays in desktop mode, until I, require the start screen.
    Due to the fact, when I install programs, the screen shows all the extra garbage links,
    like uninstall, read me, etc,
    I just unpin all those unnecessary tiles, group the program apps, into categories, and name those groups.
    Pin a few shortcuts like computer and personal folders,
    and it actually looks impressive and is useful now.

    I still have not given up using Classic yet.
    Will need to be weaned off slowly.

  68. blair

    I have been a massive fan of the metro and new windows8 gui interfaces and have been raving about it for months…………….until tonight…

    It would seem that windows8 is completely impractical when navigating with the new gui while logged into an RDP or VNC session……..the fact that the 4 corners are the primary points of navigation makes remote desktop sessions a nightmare…….unless the entire window fits the desktop – you have to use the scroll bar to get across to each corner as you navigate the desktop.

    There has GOT TO BE a lite alternative ‘floating’ panel that can be used during remote sessions…..

    I agree with some of the posters on here that the interface seems very well thought out….and thats true in the most part – but not at all for RDP….. theyv got to sort this out because as a Managed Service Engineer i will be remoting to pcs on a minute by minute basis day to day and if i have to scroll to the corners………..my producitivty will take a sharp dive to say the least.

  69. PissedOffInPA

    Beware of a company called “techy-link”. They called me claiming to be a Microsoft subsidiary and told me I had won a free version of the $175.00 Windows 8, and they would install it for me online for 39.95. After spending 4 hours on a Friday evening “updating” my laptop, they still weren’t finished and called to say they had to wait till Monday to finish it. So Monday rolls around and they do finally complete it. What I ended up with is the worst OS I have ever tried to figure out. To make matters worse, I find out that ANYONE can get the Windows 8 for 39.95. I feel so ripped off and gullible. Windows Vista and Windows 7 are twice the OS as Windows 8. Thanks to Windows 8, I can no longer access a start menu or most of my programs, and I also can no longer watch videos on my opti-drive dvd/cd player. The dumbasses at Microsoft decided users didn’t need that stuff anymore. They claim nobody uses them anyway. WTF??? EVERYONE I know uses them all the time. I’ve always bought Microsoft products but with this Windows 8 fiasco I think my next computers will all be Apple. I have a laptop with Windows 7 and a desktop with Windows 7 and a laptop with Windows 8. In other words, 2 good computers and one dust collector. What a waste of $2000.00!

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