Stardock Start8 vs. Classic Shell

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anonymuos

There is a thorough comparison available here: http://www.classicshell.net/forum/viewtopic.php?t=2399 if you want to decide for yourself which is the best Start Menu.

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shaun02666

someuid has clearly initiated a challenge, and Exarkun1138 and John Pombrio have responded with their comments. But the only way this can truly be settled is with the three of them in an arena, swords in hand. The last man standing wins! Good luck!

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nauc

i bought w8 because its startup is a lot faster (for me anyway) than w7. i dont use Metro much, but its nice to have access to a bunch of apps. and Start8 is great for $5. i tried a bunch of other companies versions of the Start button, but didnt like them

i still dont get why MS made an OS with a desktop AND the Metro screen (or Modern UI, or whatever the hell youre supposed to call it).

why not just make an OS with a desktop that you can stick apps on. i dont need 2 desktops to flip back and forth from

dumb

what do you wanna bet, w9 will be like that ;)

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roberto.tomas

The start button not being where it was before is a complete non-issue. Exactly where the start button was before, you can right-click to get a system menu (for things like computer management or control panel). Or, mouse to that corner and a little pop-up button appears that you can click and switch to the Metro UI, which you can use as the applications list from the old start menu.

— It really is almost not a change at all. —

I don't know why the press is so universally panning it, because everyone I've talked to about it thinks it is nice, kinda fresh.

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John Pombrio

I stay strictly in the desktop and I found that I really DO use the Start menu a lot more than I thought I did. Yes, all the functions can be found in other places and in other ways but why? The Start button with all its goodness is RIGHT THERE!
Start8 is definitely the way to go. When I showed my friend, he went home and immediately bought it.
Funny thing. I loaded up Ubuntu 12.2 LTS on my son's newly built computer when he comes to pick it up for college this weekend. Meantime, my friend and I played with it for 2-3 hours to pick its brains and see how useful it was. We were looking for a recently installed program and we both said "where is the start button?" at the same time.

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Granite

There are some people who...when you take that familiar little button away from them...tend to go completely apeshit.

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justauser

If you want to regularly enter your registration information, which you must in order to have a functioning PC. Then start8 is for you. Constantly tells me to register. Start8 stops working and it locks you out of the Windows Metro Start if you do not register, which is lame. You either register or uninstall. Stadock Sucks it should be free for the trouble it causes alone.

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John Pombrio

Wha? it's NEVER asked me to register after I bought it 6 months ago. You are doing something funky.

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TechW

I don't know about the rest of you, but I need to base my decision on what will be easy, work well and look good for my clients. So, even though I might be okay with complex and not polished, by and large, my clients are not. So, after having tried it out I will be recommending Start8.

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someuid

While the rest of you are futsing around with Windows 8 and Metro, and spending money on Start Menu replacements, I spent the other day on Windows 7 with Youtube videos playing on one screen, Minecraft on another screen, EVEMon on the other screen, and popping in and out of the file system and other applications faster than a jack rabbit.

I got stuff done, and watched videos, and made use of an experince farm, and planned out training plans, and, and, and, and, while you all stared at your 24" Mail App on Windows 8 or goofed around with Start Menu options.

Anyone using Win8 and thinking they are productive or cool is just an amatuer with computers. Go back to your silly iPhones and Android OSes where you have a 1-3 buttons, full screen apps, and simple UIs that keep you from getting confused or screwing up your little hand held device. Leave the real computers to the real men and women who use Windows 7 or MacOS or Linux or Unix, or any other OS that spends its time helping you get stuff done vs trying to jam square pegs into round holes all in the name of lofty profits from some barren wasteland called Microsoft's app store.

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Exarkun1138

I was just going to let your comment slide by as one from someone who has no idea what he's/she's talking about, but sorry, I am AS PRODUCTIVE on my Windows 8 setup as any version of Windows before it. I have a Triple Monitor Setup, and I have open, at any given time, Outlook 2013, ConnectWise, Firefox(with multiple sites open), IE with work sites open, Pandora music client playing, and Titan Quest or some other game running. Windows 8 runs just as well as Windows 7 did, and with Modern UI Apps running as well(WhatsmyIP, Weather Radar etc.), I actually have MORE running at any given time than what I could do in Windows 7.

Is Windows 8 better than 7? Depends on what you want and what you expect. I get what I need from Windows 8, and I have no issues with it what-so-ever.

But to arbitrarily say that Windows 8 users are "amateurs with computers" is just plain ignorant on your part.

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John Pombrio

Win8 desktop is a much better program than Win7. It is not as big a leap as Win7 from XP but noticeably better. I groan when I have to go back to my Win7 HTPC to do something as I am spoiled.

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someuid

If your entire basis that Win8 allows you to run more software than you could on Win7 is WhatsMyIP and Weather Radar, then my point stands: amateurs who have to go to great lenghts to convince themselves and others that Windows 8 is better than Windows 7.

UI stands for User Interface. USER INTERFACE. It is supposed to be specifically designed to help you interact with the computer. To quickly call up programs, display information, take advantage of all input devices, and offer you options and choices in window layout and task reduction. It is supposed to be consitant in layout and design and be seamless in menu structures and control elements.

Unfortunately Microsoft thinks it means "everyone go learn something new so we can force you into our appstore and make even more money off you."

Metro is a joke. It does zero to help you get your job done. The ribbon UI is a joke. All they are doing is churning software for the sake of churning software. The fact that you managed to train yourself to do it the New Microsoft Way only means you're deluding yourself that you know what to do with a computer.

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Exarkun1138

Excuse me, but you missed the point entirely. I said that I am as productive with Windows 8 as with Windows 7. I run the same programs I did before, BUT, I can also run the Modern UI Apps as well, at the same time. Just another area of flexibility that I have in Windows 8. If I run ONLY PROGRAMS from the Desktop UI in Windows 8, it runs as smoothly as they did in Windows 7.

Your contention is that Windows 8 does not run as smooth as Windows 7. I haven't had that issue. Windows 8 runs fine, FOR ME, and runs like Windows 7 in the Desktop UI. Modern UI adds another layer of programs that run independently from the Desktop UI. Now, do I use Modern UI much? No. I don't. Just like I rarely used the START menu in Windows 7. I do almost all of my work from the Desktop UI in Windows 8. I DO, however, have the ability to run Modern UI Apps if I wish.

Also, you need to drop the "holier than thou" attitude just because YOU have an issue with Windows 8, then anyone using Windows 8 is an idiot or amateur because YOU don't like it.

If YOU don't like Windows 8, so be it. I'm not telling you to use it. Stick with Windows 7 if that's what floats your boat. I have personally not had any issues using Windows 8 and I like it. 'Nuff said.....

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Granite

Ummm...

If you think the same cannot be done in Win8, then you don't know much about it.

In fact, you can do much more with Win8.

I only have two monitors, but at the moment, I have three browsers open, each with multiple tabs, two directory folders open and a video capture program running. Oh, and Crysis 3. That's just on the desktop. In Modern UI, I have TuneIn playing some classical guitar music.

One pretty cool feature is taking screenshots. I press Winkey+Prtscrn and my whole display (both monitors) is immediately saved to the screenshot folder. Of course, I only want the part that shows the Crysis3 screen, but no problem. I pop into Modern UI, open an app, and in about five clicks I have my Crysis screenshot cropped out and saved.

Believe me...anything you can do in Win7, I can do in Win8...plus more.

Oh...and I haven't needed to use the start button once.

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someuid

You have two monitors and still need two desktops: Modern UI and the traditional desktop? I have all that on two screens with a single Win 7 desktop. How is your switching between desktops better?

And if more desktops are better, then why are you using Linux? They get FOUR DESKTOPS as a default on a single screen.

I don't use the start button either. I have everything I need pinned to the taskbar right down there. Click and I'm in the program. Guess what - I can start another program without using hot corners! Or minimizing the current program.

No, you're just an amateur computer user. No remote desktops, no AD Users and Computers. No command prompts. No remote event viewers or remote registry sessions open.

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Granite

I don't NEED two desktops and I never said I did. Perhaps you should learn to read and respond to what you've read.

What I DID say was that I can do everything you say YOU can do in Win7...PLUS...I have all the features of the Modern UI...PLUS...the features of Win8 that you'll never have in Win7 unless you add another layer of programming on top of your OS...PLUS...everything I do, whether in traditional desktop or Modern UI, works better in Win8 than in Win7...if Win7 were able to do everything Win8 can do, that is. (it can't) The fact is, Win8 is a souped up version of Win7 with the added benefit of the Modern UI.

You know, you are all into calling anyone who uses Win8 an amateur...even though they can do the same...and more...than you can with your old Win7. Well, I'm here to tell you to take your "amateur" attitude and stick it up your ass.

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Exarkun1138

Your Quote:

"No, you're just an amateur computer user. No remote desktops, no AD Users and Computers. No command prompts. No remote event viewers or remote registry sessions open."

Guess what, you obviously have NEVER used Windows 8. I have Remote Desktop, AD Users and Computers, Command Prompts, remote event viewers, and remote registry sessions. This is in Windows 8.

This just shows me now that you saw Windows 8 advertised, heard the bad press and ran with it. Next time, please USE an OS before you diss it. It will give credence to your arguments in the future.

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iwolbers

First of all great comparison! I found your article very useful.
We are doing a server upgrade at work and upgrading to Windows server 2012. Based on your review I am going to try Start8 on the servers, I believe it should be compatible.
I currently run Windows 7 on my regular work PC and remote into the server(s) for an hour or so a day (short cut keys are not as easy to use via RDC). For me it would take too long to get used to the new design and switching back and forth when I need use the server(s) would frustrate me.

On a side note: Although I get Microsoft wanting to push their new UI to the end user Windows platform I am puzzled why they also pushed it to the Windows Server platforms as a mandatory feature, that decision does not make a whole lot of sense to me...

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macmooda

What about Start Menu 8 from Iobit????? They make a great windows start button for windows 8. It looks and acts just like the one from windows 7 and the best thing is it is totally free!!!! It disables metro and all the hot corners, allows you to boot right to the desktop, and has many other features. You all should check it out. There is a great review for it on youtube. Just type the hacker 0007 and start menu 8 in a search on youtube. Thanks.

http://www.iobit.com/iobitstartmenu8.php

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anonymuos

Classic Shell was created to fix the usability of the Windows 7 menu itself so comparing it against a Windows 7-menu clone like Start8 seems pointless. Classic Shell is usability focused - be it mouse or keyboard and it allows you to fine-tune the menu to what suits your usability best.

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fung0

Classic Shell offers numerous improvements over the Win7 Start Menu, and even over the WinXP Start menu. It also enhances Explorer in some really welcome ways, and does a few things to make IE less horrible... if anyone cares.

Whereas Start 8, to judge by the images, returns us only to the already hideously-broken 'keyhole' Start menu of Win7, and stops there. It therefore seems flatly incorrect to say "there’s little functionality lost between the two." (I'm sure someone will politely correct me if I'm mistaken.)

Remind me again: if I valued slick dialogs more than config options and extra features, why would I be reading a site called "MAXIMUM PC?"

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DoctorX

I was going to comment... but all you metro lovers just want to make me puke. I have tried it and still hate it. I tried it again and still hate it even more. Get over yourselves and quit slamming everyone else. Windows 7 handles more than 4 cores poorly and win8 handles more than 4 cores much better. Very nice uptick in performance on my hexacore. Since win7 will never see sp2, our only choice for a new kernel is windows 8. Being able to customize it to our liking is our prerogative. I have customized every windows desktop since 95 because I do not particularly like the UI. I can live with the stock, but every chance I get to customize the UI to my own tastes. If i do not want Metro, then that is my decision. For all of you that say I never tried it, I have been running win8 since CP. I rather liked how RP looked, but rtm is just meh. STFU with your asinine comments like "get over the loss of your start button, it's not coming back learn to use what they gave you." I have never just was satisfied with what they gave me. I hacked the gui in winxp so i can run other themes instead of the few that microsoft saw fit to bless for us. Same with Vista... I tweaked the ui in windows 7 from default (different start menu, etc), but mostly liked it. Most of us have done this that used more than windows 7. If you are not old enough to have used more than one os, then GTFO and STFU.

Personally i have used both classic shell and start8 and i just find start8 is more polished. Hell, you can even have the metro start screen as a menu if so wanted.

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Exarkun1138

Personally, I don't see the need for any of this. I like the way Windows 8 looks and feels. It's fast. It's very stable. The Modern UI is no big deal, for me. I'm not in the Start Menu that much to concern myself with these utilities. I didn't use the Start Menu that much when I had previous iterations of Windows. It's nice, for me, to have something new and fresh to mess around with, and not have the "same ole" experience.

Now, for those who hate it, I guess these solutions work for you. Or, if that isn't a viable solution, just stick with Windows 7. All 3 of my computers are running Windows 8, and I have no problem with it.

But, since we all aren't the same, just because I like it, doesn't mean the next person will. So, as with so many aspects in the "PC" world, we have a choice to do what we want, and if Modern UI is not your bag, then these options should suffice......or, as I said above, stick with Windows 7.

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JeffDenver

Windows 8 adds unnecessary footwork to common tasks for the sake of a prettier UI. Thats why I use classic shell.

There is nothing that the Metro interface makes easier or faster. It takes more clicks and more scrolling to do the same stuff.

The wheel did not need to be reinvented. Windows 7 already had an awesome UI. It was stable, pretty, and most of all, functional.

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Exarkun1138

I didn't say you had to use it. Read my response again. I said that for some people, like myself, Windows 8 and Modern UI are no big deal. For others, it is, and these solutions work for them.

See, I'm not one who gets all worked up over changes to Windows. I just use it and make the most of each iteration. I was Windows 7, and now I'm 8. Functionality wise, it's not that much different, but it does have some changes, for better or worse depending on your perspective, and Modern UI is one area of the most contention. As I said in my response, I, as in ME, have no issues with it. I don't USE START or Modern UI enough to worry about it.

The Desktop in Windows 8 functions very much like previous versions, other than a Start Button. My boot times ARE faster, and there are various new features I do like, such as Native ISO support/mounting. All-in-all, for ME, I have no problem with Windows 8. If you do, then stick with Windows 7 or XP or whatever version is comfortable for YOU. I'm not telling you that you have to go Windows 8 just because I like it.

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joshnorem

For those asking, "Why didn't you include application XYZ?" This was a head-to-head in the magazine, and these two programs were/are the most popular at the time. I'm using ClassicShell on my work machine simply because I'm frugal but think objectively Start8 is the better program of the two. 

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OpTicaL

I was curious why ClassicShell was not included in this month's R&D HOW TO review.

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tech52228

Why not include a more options like?
RetroUI

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SpaceyJacey

If you want the look and feel of Windows 7 use Windows 7.

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JeffDenver

We want the guts of Windows 8 without the UI baggage of Metro.

Windows 8 is faster and more stable and has better compatibility modes. Why must we be saddled with that crappy UI to have those things?

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DoctorX

This... we are not getting sp2 for windows 7.

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Sty

Just because there won't be any service packs, doesn't mean that it won't get updated with individual updates.

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Cy-Kill

Now how about you do a better "vs" article:

StartIsBack vs Start8

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wolfing

The winner is... Not installing Windows 8!

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bigrigross

And the loser is.... Someone missing out on a smoother and more secure windows experience.

I hate when people bash it because they have used it only for 30 minutes or so. I have start8 on it and now its 100% better than Windows 7.

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Zanshi

I used it for a lot longer than that. Windows 8 caused my games to crash, my wireless to constantly drop deskpite having the latest "made for 8" drivers, and iTunes to have some odd error that didn't affect anything. How much is MS paying you, troll?

Oh yeah! And I saw NO increase in performance or boot times. Suck it!

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someuid

No, the loser is the person who enjoys being Microsoft's lapdog.

Win8 isn't any more secure or faster or whatever than Windows 7. If anything, it is less secure because it brings another entire coding avenue (metro) that is going to have its fair share of bugs over the years, on top of everything under the hood, which is all based on Win7 anyway.

Smoother experience? Barf. What a total grey area. I had some10 windows open the other day on a 3-screen Windows 7 system. It was a piece of cake and I had everything right there where I needed it. Under Windows 8, it would have been 100% undoable on Metro, sending me to the desktop to get that kind of work done. Having to bypass Metro to get work done isn't making my experience smoother.

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wolfing

Except that's not my case at all. My dad wanted a new laptop so we went shopping to Best Buy, and there were no W7 laptops there anymore, so we got a W8 laptop. I tried W8, I really gave it a chance. It's really really bad, no, seriously, it sucks more than anything has sucked before. Having two different desktop interfaces depending on what application you want to run, and for the W8 applications you magically had to know that there was more information "to the right" (i.e. no scrollbars or anything). It's really badly designed. And the 'redesign' was not wanted or needed.

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RUSENSITIVESWEETNESS

Just so I can say I added something constructive, there is this:

https://www.google.com/search?q=Ex7forW8&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8&aq=t&rls=org.mozilla:en-US:official&client=firefox-a

ex7forw8 replaces the Windows 8 Explorer service with the one from Windows 7 and just fucking kills Metro, as God intended. I think it's free, but you have to have a Windows 7 disc during the install.

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Cy-Kill

Ex7ForW8 was deprecated by the developer [Tihiy] and replaced with StartIsBack!

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andrewc513

StartIsBack is still a different type of app. It lets you get around the Metro/RT side and Store apps, if you wish, on the fly. The point of Ex7forW8 is to completely kill off Metro and replace the entire shell/Explorer with that of Windows 7 (you actually have to provide it Win7 setup files so it can grab it). You can disable it, but it's all or nothing and takes a re-login to stick the changes.

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Cy-Kill

What do you think StartIsBack does, SiB is Ex7ForW8, but more advanced...but you don't have to take my word for it!

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livebriand

Another one: StartIsBack costs $3 and works just as well as Start8. (aside from the ability to use the metro start screen as a menu, which doesn't work that well anyway) It's also from Stardock, oddly enough.

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Cy-Kill

Stardock has nothing at all to do with StartIsBack!

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Vano

And my understanding StartIsBack is actually using start menu from Windows 7.

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TsunamiZ

does either app give you the option of customizing the image of the start button?

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mls067

read my post below

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azuza001

First to MaxPC - Thank you for this article. Any article that you do that gives a user options to help them personalize their PC's even more and give them more power is a good article.

To the people who want to comment about "whatever, you should learn Metro" or "get over the loss of your start button, it's not coming back learn to use what they gave you" I want to say that sounds like fanboyism and I don't think I've ever heard of a Windows 8 Fanboy. It reminds me of the Windows Vista deal where people were complaining about losing their "clear to the desktop" button from the quick launch menu. You know, the icon that minimized every program you had open and left you with a clean desktop. A lot of people used that button and liked having access to it, and there were quite a few how-to guides at the time explaining how to add it back in, but there were also quite a few people who were just so high on what microsoft put into vista that "There isn't any reason for that, you should just accept what microsoft gave us." Sorry, it's Maximum PC and if people want to tweak their PC's to give them what they want then damn it they should be able to. THATS the point. It's like overclocking a processor, the point is not to accept what a company gives you the point is to take what they give you and make it into more.

Just like no 2 PC's with the same components are the same no 2 users are the same. Any fool can own a fast PC, but it takes a maximum user who accepts nothing but the best out of their computer to make it a maximum PC. And just accepting what the OS has and not looking to make it better flies in the face of that idea.

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Cy-Kill

Take a look at what this guy did to Windows 8, when I finally go back to Windows 8 -- if ever -- I may follow his example:

http://www.nsaneforums.com/topic/160478-can-windows-8-be-made-more-beautiful-than-windows-7/

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