Whenever a company makes a product, they usually shoot for the middle. They know they can’t please everyone so they go try to make the largest group happy. If you aren’t super happy with the Windows 8 Metro Start Menu and want to see how it would look with Windows 7 like features, re-imagined in the Metro interface, here’s how to change it.

To use Start8, you will need Windows 8 Consumer Preview 8250 (x86 or x64). Start8 does not work with the Windows Developer Preview, so you will need to upgrade.

What features Start8 brings to Windows 8

  • You get back a Start button.
  • Windows hasn’t ever really had a great search option. Start8 brings a great search option for installed applications.
  • The Run menu is resurrected.
  • There are different Start button options that download letting you change the look of the button.
  • A computer shutdown option.

Start8 Walk-through

Once installed through the typical install wizard, you can start using Start8 right away.


What you should see is a new icon on the far left of your taskbar.


Activate your new Start Menu the same way as you did in Windows 7 or XP… click in it. This is the default view. As you can see, there are 2 overlapping screens. The reason for this is the column on the right is a new search for the installed applications. The bottom layer is the standard Windows 8 application view.


There are some settings which let you modify the look of Start8. To access the settings, right-click on the new Start8 Start button.


If you do not like the search, you can turn on full-screen Metro Start Menu. This will take you to the standard Metro Start Menu.


In Small Mode, as they call it, you can see the same Metro Start Menu, just in a half window.


You may have noticed the apps are in the Metro Menu view. If you want to see them in the easier to find alphabetical grid, you can right-click while in the Metro Start Menu and select All Apps. (Selecting All Apps is a standard feature in Windows 8.)


Exploring the right-click menu a little more, you will see the shutdown menu option. This is waaaay easier than mousing over to the right side corner of your screen, clicking on settings, then power and then choosing shutdown or reset. In the new Start8 shutdown menu, you can quickly select sign out or quickly switch users.



While Start8 is a pretty simple application, it adds a lot of functionality to Windows 8 Consumer Preview. The Application search and the shutdown menu are, in my opinion, two features alone worth downloading Start8. Also, using applications like Start8 makes the scariness of moving to a new operating system a little less scary.

Download Start8

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