How to Restore The Start Menu in Windows 8

So far, all I’ve been seeing is a bunch of people complaining about the missing Start button and the Metro UI. While I might like Metro, the Start button has to come back! So far, Microsoft is decided on keeping the Start button out of Windows 8. A lot of mouse and keyboard users were utterly disappointed by this and have become completely reluctant to upgrade.

We have two ways to let you have the best of both worlds. The first way involves making some small tweaks to your system that will allow you to add your programs menu to the taskbar. It won’t give you your precious Start button back, but it gives you quick access to all your installed software. The second way involves using a third-party application called ViStart.

Be aware that ViStart’s installer asks you to install extra software. Do follow our guide closely to avoid installing those useless stuff.

The Manual Method

This method will allow you to add menus to your taskbar so you don’t have to wade through the Metro UI to get to your applications. It will not only save you time, but will also get rid of another annoyance you have to get used to. If you use this method, just be sure that you’re not expecting a full-fledged Start menu.

  • Right-click an empty spot on the taskbar, hover the mouse over “Toolbars,” and click “New toolbar.”
  • Type
    %ProgramData%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs

    into the text box in the dialog.

  • Press “Enter” on your keyboard and click “Select Folder.”

After you’re finished, you’ll have the “Programs” menu on your taskbar! As you’d notice, it isn’t as powerful as the Start menu, but you could add other things such as the control panel. You could even navigate it from the taskbar item without having to open the panel itself!

The Automated Method

This method will actually add the Windows 7 Start “orb” to the Windows 8 taskbar. You’ll still have the ability to enter the Metro UI through the lower left corner of the Windows interface. The only difference is that you’ll be able to use the Windows 7 desktop from Windows 8.

Note that the software we will introduce you to will try to install extra software on your computer unless you follow the steps we show you here:

  • Download ViStart from here and begin the installation process.
  • Click “Next,” then click “Accept.”
  • Do not¬†click “Agree” after the installation is finished until you’ve unchecked all the boxes on the top. This is where ViStart tries to install Babylon software.


  • Click “Decline” in the next window. This was ViStart trying to incite you to install RegClean Pro.


As long as you follow these instructions, you’ll install only ViStart, which will give you a Start button. The software that ViStart wants you to install is totally harmless, but it might be inconvenient to install three programs when all you need is one.

Any Questions?

If you have any problems running the software, we’ll attempt to walk you through the process and correct any issues. Just ask in the comments section or ask the expert channel by clicking “Ask Our Experts Now!” on the right side of this page. Please leave a comment if you have anything to add to this guide.

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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