Home Reviews Software Useful Windows freeware- bring back the Start Button to Windows 8

Useful Windows freeware- bring back the Start Button to Windows 8

By far the most requested feature for Windows 8 is  the return of the Start Button to the Desktop.

The Metro interface, while great for touch is not the best interface for traditional mouse driven PC’s and workstations.

I admit to installing Classic Shell instead of persevering with Metro but my excuse is that I need high productivity on my work machine. But I do tend to use Metro over Desktop when I use a tablet.

There are an increasing number of “bring back the button programs” so here are a few with a brief overview of some of the more interesting ones.

Classic Shell. Free proven open source project that works as promised. Returns the  Start button, gives you Classic, Windows XP or Windows 7 style start menus and improves Windows Explorer functionality. I like the way it classifies the Start Menu into Programs and Apps (basically Metro Tiles). Works on Windows Vista or later 32/64 bit Windows server 2008 and 2012. Authors freeware choice.

Start8  US$4.99 and more fully featured Object Desktop $49.99. Gives Windows 7 style Start menu and optionally allows you to disable Windows 8 “hotspot” corners.

Power8 Free open source (still in beta). Runs on Win XP or later using .Net Framework. No installation – just runs as an executable. Shows promise.

Pokki Menu Free. Interesting concept in turning your PC more into a smart phone environment with quite different menu styles (not sure about the benefits of this so consider it an experiment).

StartIsBack US$3 for 2 PC’s. “A native, lightweight, zero privileges program” that allows boot to desktop, Windows 7 start menu. Has potential but it is becoming an overcrowded market.

RetroUI (pictured) US$4.99. This tries to make a hybrid Start menu on the desktop using tiles. Could be the answer to using Desktop on Touch screens using a new format called TabletView and has multi-monitor support.

There are many more programs – the one featured above have been tested by the author and unlikely to cause harm to your System.

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Ray Shaw

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Ray Shaw ray@im.com.au  has a passion for IT ever since building his first computer in 1980. He is a qualified journalist, hosted a consumer IT based radio program on ABC radio for 10 years, has developed world leading software for the events industry and is smart enough to no longer own a retail computer store!