Yearning for missing Start Menu in Windows 8? Here’s a fix

Probably the first thing you were taught when you learned Windows was where the Start Menu was…and, if you ever got into any trouble, that you could click on it and likely you’d find whatever it was that you needed.

It’s been that way since Windows–well, Windows 3.1, which is the one before Windows 95, which is the first one that really resembled all the Windows versions since.

Well, I…I’ve got some bad news for you. You…you’d better sit down. Here’s a tissue.

There will be no Start Menu in Windows 8. That’s right, there are two versions of Windows 8 coming out in 10 days…and neither one has a Start Menu.

That means:

  • No more quick access to your favorite files and folders
  • No more quick access to things like Pictures, Movies, Music or Video
  • No more quick access to “Computer,” which used to be called “My Computer,” and showed all your attached devices, optical drives, etc.
  • No more quick access to Control Panel…yeah, you might not have known what all was in there, but every once in a while you’d go in and manage to find what you needed
  • No more quick access to the Devices and Printers, Help and Support and All Programs features!
  • HOW WILL YOU TURN YOUR COMPUTER OFF NOW?

Come on, pull yourself together. There, there. Can I offer you a hot beverage?

BUT–there IS some GOOD NEWS! (Did I forget to mention that?) There is software available called Start8 from a company named Stardock that will install a Start Menu on your Windows 8 PC! Now, you’ll notice I didn’t say “the” Start Menu, because Windows 8 doesn’t have one, so you can’t install or restore what wasn’t there in the first place.

This software is in Beta form, which means there could still be some bugs and issues, that’s the chance you take with any software in the early stages. Since it’s a Beta version, the download is free…the cost for the final version will be only $5 when it’s released, no date has been set for that yet.

From PCWorld:

If there’s any company that’s going to have a field day with Microsoft’s controversial new Windows 8, it’s Stardock. Case in point: Start8, a free beta program the company markets that replaces the “missing” Start Menu on the Windows 8 explorer desktop taskbar.

If you’re not familiar, Windows 8 has two completely different interfaces: The new tiled Windows 8 UI (User Interface) first seen with Zune and Windows Phones, and the classic Explorer desktop with a slightly updated look. The problem for many users is that there’s no Start Menu for the latter: You initially use the Windows 8 UI to launch all applications no matter which interface they use. You can create desktop and taskbar icons to launch apps, but with the vast majority of existing programs support only the Explorer desktop, this results in a either a very busy desktop or a continual and somewhat jolting switch.

Stardock has fixed the most frequent complaint about Windows 8: the lack of a Start Menu.

Thanks to Stardock Software, however, you can have your Windows 8 cake and Start Menu too. The Start8 beta is a free download (it’ll be $5 when the final version ships) that almost completely replicates the behavior of the Windows 7 Start Menu. It even matches the new look. I don’t really have to tell anyone how the Start Menu works, right? Start8 also lets you disable the Windows 8 hot corners.

So–rest easy, future Windows 8 users! Your fears are for naught! Yes, Virginia, there is a Start Menu!

I’ve said before how much I like Windows 7–not as much as Apple’s OS X, but that’s mostly because I’m grown much more accustomed to it over the past ten years. In that time I’d grown to loathe Windows in general.

Again, let me say it again: I like Windows 7 very much. But somehow, I fear my loathing for Windows will return with 8.

Time will tell.

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