After using both of the preview editions of Windows 8, I have now installed the full RTM version. In doing so, I lost one of my comfort features: the Start button. Yes, I know all the reasons why Microsoft says that it had to remove the Start button, but I don’t personally believe that any of them make any sense. So when I read about Start8 by Stardock — which would once again give me access to the Start button — I decided to give it a try.
The process began with locating the website, but before I could download the software, the folks at Stardock required that I provide them with a valid email address. Once they confirmed my email address, I was sent a download link that enabled me to download the software. Once downloaded, the installation was straightforward. After the installation process was completed and after rebooting my system, I was ready to try out the new program.
The first thing I noticed was that, after rebooting the display, it had reverted to the old Windows 7 screen, which was now my Windows 8 desktop. I was relieved to see that I had once again found a friendly environment in which to work. However, most important to me was that the familiar Start button was right where it had been before: down on the bottom left-hand side of the taskbar.
As you can see, on the top of the Start menu is an icon that will allow you to toggle back and forth between this display and the application screen that Microsoft once called Metro. In addition, you will see that the following items have become available:
- The traditional Start menu with all of the Windows 8 enhancements featured.
- A feature that allows the user to pin both desktop and applications.
- A support feature for Jump lists.
- A unified search box.
- A feature that allows users to boot directly into the Windows 8 (Windows 7) desktop.
- A feature that allows the user to configure the Start menu.
- A Winkey option that allows for full screen viewing within applications.
- A feature that allows for fast access to the shutdown button, devices, music, documents, and videos.
For those of us who are set in their ways and like the old Windows 7 — now Windows 8 — desktop, Start8 brings back a good friend and provides a painless way to make Windows 8 work like Windows 7 while being just a mouse click away from the application of your choosing. However, if you are not a creature of habit and prefer booting directly into the application menu, then this software is not for you.
As much as I like the Start8 program, there is one issue that concerns me. My concern lies within the hands of Microsoft which, after its release of Windows 8 on October 26, 2012, could include future updates that would prevent Start8 from working. I believe that this concern is legitimate because Microsoft representatives have stated that the company would not allow the circumvention of the startup process. So, if you decide to give Start8 a try, we can only hope that Microsoft will soften its stance and allow Start8 or other future software offerings to provide users with an alternative to booting into the application menu. Fingers crossed.
Source: Start8 by Stardock
CC licensed Flickr photo above shared by gynti_46