Restore The Start Menu In Windows 8 With These 4 Applications

Are you just as frustrated at the lack of a Start menu as I am? Do you find it inconvenient to be forced to enter the Metro UI (the one with all the little squares) every time you want to get somewhere you’d rather go through the desktop for? You’re not alone. There are thousands of people complaining about these inconveniences and nothing has been said regarding this so far that would convince anyone that Windows would inherently allow for a traditional desktop experience by its release in October. What are you going to do, then? How about some applications that could bring the Start menu back?

Note: These apps don’t “restore” the Start menu since it is not there (in Windows) by default from the beginning. These apps add a Start menu to your desktop instead.

1. Classic Shell

The classic shell gives you a very simple, yet very powerful Start menu that you can customize any way you want. It’s not exactly like the one from Windows 7, but it gives you what you want: a Start menu without all the Metro mumbo jumbo. You also get features that were available in older versions of Windows, like pop-out menus. I personally am not a huge fan of this, but it’s better than having to wait for the Metro interface to load on a slow computer or limited virtual environment.


Much better than switching over and over to the Metro interface, right?

You can get Classic Shell here.

2. ViStart

If you’re looking for the Windows 7 flair within Windows 8, you should consider getting ViStart, a utility that completely reproduces the Windows 7 Start menu within the Windows 8 desktop interface. This will not only make you feel like you’re using W7, but will also give you some cool features on the side.


With this kind of Start menu, you’ll never miss Windows 7. You’ll have the added benefit of the new task manager, the new interface design, and other features that make the operating system run more efficiently without having to use Metro.

This is the one utility you can use if you really want to upgrade to Windows 8, but hate that new Metro screen you have to use every time you access the Start menu. You also get to apply skins to it when you feel like changing the look. Unfortunately, customization isn’t integrated into the Windows shell, but it’s definitely an improvement over nothing. And unlike with Classic Shell, you get the implicit submenus you’ve been used to.

You can download ViStart here.

3. Power8

Maybe, you’ve gotten tired of the Windows 7 Start menu after all. Do you feel like getting the mother of all Start menus? There’s still a Start menu we haven’t talked about, called the Power8 Start menu. It contains an ultra-glassy interface that integrates seamlessly into Windows 8’s theme.


If you like it, give it a try. It won’t hurt!

Download Power8 here.

4. BONUS: Go Metro With Start8

So, maybe you like Metro, but don’t like to switch back and forth. This little bonus app will bring Metro to your desktop on Windows 8. Start8 allows you to have an “Apps” menu for the sake of finding all the programs you have installed. It will still be difficult to access the control panel through this one, so it would probably be more useful for looks and entertainment. Otherwise, stick to the other three we’ve shown here. Have a look at what I mean:


If you don’t like it, you no longer have to!

If you like it, you can get it here.

Which One’s Your Favorite?

I’d really like to know what your preference is if you’ve had an opportunity to try out the operating system. They’re all good options that should span a wide range of users, and I’m hoping that this would solve some of the issues people have with the Metro interface. Leave a comment below to discuss!

Miguel Leiva-Gomez
Miguel Leiva-Gomez

Miguel has been a business growth and technology expert for more than a decade and has written software for even longer. From his little castle in Romania, he presents cold and analytical perspectives to things that affect the tech world.

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