The latest version of Windows brought a slew of changes to the operating system’s user interface. The biggest of which was the removal of the classic start button and menu. In their place, Microsoft introduced a horizontal scrolling, tablet-friendly desktop, code-named “Metro.”

Those of you used to the start button and menu — which have been staples of the OS since Windows 95 — may not be ready for the drastic change. So we’ll give you a program that will allow you to bypass the new start screen and add the classic start button and menu to Windows 8.

The Solution

Start8 from Stardock is a powerful, yet simple solution to bring the familiar experience of Windows 7 to Windows 8. Not only does it add the start button and menu to the desktop screen, it gives you the ability to boot straight to the desktop. The app also allows you to customize the start button and menu, to take it beyond its official predecessors.

Using the classic “Windows 7 Style,” Start8′s menu blends in perfectly with the new desktop appearance of Windows 8. The customization includes the ability to change the start button icon, change and add menu shortcuts, and control hotkeys.

You’re also able to unify both desktop and Metro apps by pinning them to the start menu for quick access.

And if you’d like to slowly get used to Windows 8, you can select “Windows 8 Style” as your menu. This will bring up a smaller version of the Metro start screen instead of the classic start menu.

It’s not the best way to make the switch to Windows 8, but if you’re in love with the classic interface, Start8 will provide the best alternative experience to Windows 7.


Start8 is free to try for 30 days, with the full version priced at $4.99. You can download the free trial from CNET or purchase the app from Stardock.

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