I was reading the article: “Will Microsoft restore Start Menu to Windows 8?” in the Tuesday edition of the USA Today newspaper. This was an interesting headline that piqued my interest given the announcement that Microsoft Windows head, Steven Sinofsky was making a quick escape so close to the launch of Windows 8 and Microsoft Surface.
You can read the article for yourself, but I’ll admit that I’m in the same camp of people who aren’t comfortable with the “justified” disappearance of the little button in the corner that got you to where you needed to go. Tablet or no tablet, this is such a huge change, and for novices and pros alike, the learning curve is very sharp.
My home PC is running Windows 8, while my work laptops are still on Windows 7 due to some software incompatibilities. There are lots of things that I like about Windows 8 (maybe I’ll cover them in a future post), but getting to where I need to go has gotten a lot more complicated. I don’t like having to search for everything. Simple tasks like adding a printer have me befuddled and looking for Printers, or Add New Printer … which funny enough took me to a Print Server Manager application. Confused.
So, anyway, in reading the USA Today article a reference was made to Stardock, a company who is known for creating apps that masquerade the look and some functions of Windows. Think themes and icon packages on steroids. It went well beyond that into opening up full customization of many additional aspects of the Windows operating system. I purchased it back in the XP/Vista days. Some pieces are useful, but a lot of it is about crazy display modifications.
Their newest invention is something called Start8 for Windows 8. It essentially restores the availability and functionality of the Start menu we’re used to. It adds additional functionality as well. It’s almost as if Microsoft never removed it. It performs well and you really can’t tell that it’s an “after market” package.
You can find more information about Start8 here. There is a free 30-day trial, and if you like it, you can purchase for a cheap $4.95.
All of these changes beg the question “Will the Start button be back in Service Pack 1?” We’ll have to wait and see, but in the meantime, Start8 has a job on my PC.