One of the biggest complaints from Windows 8 users is the lack of a Start Menu. To address this issue, Windows 8.1 introduces the Start Button. Let’s take a look at what an impact this makes on Windows 8.1.
Let’s face it. Windows 8 is meant to be run on a tablet or touchscreen device. Now that we’ve admitted that to our readers, it shouldn’t be a surprise that there is no Start Menu in Windows 8. However, the Start Button only meets users halfway. So far, it’s nothing more than a glorified Win + X Menu but let’s look at what it can do for Windows 8 users.
How To Use the Windows 8.1 Start Button
Once you’ve upgraded or installed Windows 8.1, the Start Button will greet you if you hover over the left-hand corner of the Start screen. This is a similar action to how to hover over the right-hand corner to get the Charms Bar to pop up.
If you use the app tab preview to move between apps in Windows, it’ll include a more visible Start Button.
This works on the Start screen or desktop if you have multiple Modern apps open at a given time.
Please Note: We’ve read reports that the above steps may not actually be how this is supposed to work in Windows 8.1. We’ve also seen other users have success with these steps. At the moment, Microsoft hasn’t addressed the issue one way or another. If the above steps don’t work for your upgrade or install, open an app or head to the desktop, then repeat the steps. This should make the Start Button appear by hovering over the left-hand corner similar to how the Charms Bar works.
We will update this post as soon as we have confirmation from Microsoft of what issues is a bug or not, so keep this page bookmarked for the latest.
If you click on the Start Button at any time, it’ll move you between the desktop and Start screen.
Right-clicking on the Start Button from the desktop or Start screen opens a super-charged Win + X Menu.
Let’s compare the Win + X Menu in Windows 8 to the Windows 8.1 version masquerading as the Start Button:
The big differences come in the addition of more Administrative Tools and Control Panel options. You’ll also find the Command Prompt replaced by the popular PowerShell option for Windows users.
Also, the much needed Shut down options can also be accessed from your new Start Button. This allows you to Sleep, Shut down or Restart quicker than creating buttons on the Start screen.
Honestly, your best option is to still utilize whatever Start Menu program you were using previously. The Windows 8.1 Start Button is pretty useless when it comes to what users actually wanted Microsoft to introduce in the preview. ClassicShell, Start Menu Reviver or Start8 are still better alternatives to the Start Button.
Editing The Win+X Menu/Start Button Hybrid
We covered how to use WinAero’s Win+X Menu Editor to change how the Win + X Menu works in Windows 8. Luckily, it still kind of works in Windows 8.1.
The guide we provided will show you how to get started. However, you want to be aware of a few bugs that occur and should proceed with caution if you’re going to edit the new Win + X/Start Button hybrid.
When you boot the Win+X Menu Editor, you’ll notice that not all is right in how it displays the Win + X Menu.
Everything is there, but you’ll see a few blank spots where items are but aren’t displayed. You’ll also see the Shutdown options are completely missing from what the editor pulls up.
When you add a program, you will encounter a brief two to three-second hang before the item is added to the Win + X Menu.
Once added, after hitting “Restart Explorer” to set the changes in stone, you’ll see an error pop-up.
Until the Win+X Menu Editor is updated to 8.1 – if it ever is – you’ll see this access denied error. Click “Continue,” Explorer will reset and the changes will still have been made to the Win + X Menu.
Again, use this at your own risk. I’ve tinkered with it for a bit personally, but I haven’t run into any other issues than this so far. There’s no telling what might happen upon further customization of the Win + X Menu in the Windows 8.1 Pro Preview.
Troubleshooting Issues With Start Button
Start Button Not Showing Up At All
If the Start Button doesn’t show up at all after upgrading or installing Windows 8.1, restart your PC one more time. This should force the Start Button to initialize in Windows 8.1.
Start Button Is Too Slow
Microsoft has confirmed that certain hardware, software and driver configuration could be causing issues with how fast the Start Button functions. Microsoft showcases the steps for running its troubleshooter to try and pinpoint the issue.
At the end of the day, this is not the Start Button Windows 8 users were looking for. This is a decoy and a compromise to tide Windows 8 users over. The Windows Start Menu was one of the best design decisions Microsoft ever made to include in its OS.
Why it fails to see why users are upset about its removal from Windows 8, I’ll never know, but the Start Button can offer some functionality improvement albeit not as much as we hoped.