Best Windows 8 Start Menu

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Spiral01

"we’re going to show you the best free and paid-for ways to get it."

The title of this article suggests "BEST versions" and the writer suggests start buttons he says are pretty bad?

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cc3d

Everybody fusses about metro then they go get a start menu program and populate the start menu so heavily that it is basically a small metro interface. go figure

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slynn12

Is there a way to have my Metro background also be my desktop background? I like my funky Metro background and want that to be the same when I flip over to desktop.

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Spiral01

Does W8 come with the "snipping tool"? If so, clear out the metro interface and use this tool to snipe the background, save it to the desktop and choose it as wall paper, post back if it works as I use W7

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Granite

I'm not sure, but I believe so.

I know that with Win8.1, I was able to set the same wallpaper for my desktop as the Start Screen. In fact, I have two monitors with the wallpaper spanning across both monitors...AND I use Display Fusion to change wallpapers periodically. The Start Screen background goes right along with it.

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Granite

I'm not sure, but I believe so.

I know that with Win8.1, I was able to set the same wallpaper for my desktop as the Start Screen. In fact, I have two monitors with the wallpaper spanning across both monitors...AND I use Display Fusion to change wallpapers periodically. The Start Screen background goes right along with it.

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idontcare

You didn't mention Iobit's Start Menu 8, which I use and is very good. It's free and completely customizable.

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

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maxeeemum

Just do this!

Download that!

Use this shortcut!

This workaround works great!

If you do this!

Just don't use it!

You can't figure it out? Are you stupid!

But it's just so fast!!! (not really)

Windows 8 is not a failure! It's the best OS ever!

Win 8 haters are a vocal minority!

*And the Windows 8 defenders are at it again! They just don't get it!*

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John Pombrio

I cannot believe the schism that Win8 still brings out in people. Win8 is BETTER than Win7 in just about all respects in desktop mode. Faster, more reliable, less crashes, better tools, and more refined. As for Metro, JUST DON"T USE IT. It's like yelling that MS still includes MS paint in Windows. If you don't like it, simply don't use it.
If a user cannot figure out how to boot directly into the desktop or how to change the default extensions of Metro apps to one on the desktop, I guess they could still have some sort of beef. For everyone who is savvy enough to adapt, you are just bitching because you want to stick it to MS for trying something different as there is no other good reason to do so.

Use Start8 by Stardock. The customizations for avoid all parts of Metro is worth the entry fee.

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Renegade Knight

That's what I never got about the 8 hate. Desktop works better. You can mouse and keyboard everything and ignore metro apps entirely.

I can't say 8 is worth an upgrade but for something new it's not worth going back to 7.

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Eoraptor

The problem is that it's an intrinsic change. if I don't want to use Paint, or Wordpad I don't have to... I can just ignore them. But if I don't want to use metro? I have to take multiple active steps to avoid it, the first of which is to install a shell or a hack on top of the operating system.

Yes I whole heartedly agree the core and desktop sides are marked improvements over 7... but they are shackled down underneath of metro and I shouldn't have to make fundamental changes to the damned OS just to enjoy them. That's not a choice, it's a broken system.

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Granite

Have you upgraded to Win8.1?

If you did, you don't need any shells or hacks if all you want to do is avoid the Start Screen.

Just set it to boot to desktop and you never have to see the start screen...unless you want to.

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balindos

I think you guys are complicating Win8 too much. If you know your windows shortcut as I imagine everybody who comes to this site should know a good basic amount like Win+E to get to computer. Combine that with the fact that all you need to do is hit the start key and type what you are looking for. I like Windows 7 but you have to like the speed of windows 8. I will agree that the start menu is just a mess. Played with it the first month then I just went back to typing what I needed like I did in Win7.

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Renegade Knight

Before 7 I used to organized my start menu. With 7 I stopped. With 8 I now organized my screen for the most often used programs but like 7 mostly I just type.

Good observation.

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John Pombrio

I have to admit that I hardly EVER use Start8 on my computer. Like you say, there are a bunch of other ways to do things that the Start Menu does. My favorite utility is TrueLaunchBar which is a super quick launch bar replacement that works fine with Win8. All my programs are in menu right there on the taskbar and one click away.

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ram1220

The best Windows 8 start menu is Windows 7. I tried Win 8 in a Fry's store for about 5 minutes when it first came out. That was long enough for me to know that I was staying with Win 7. No thanks Micro$oft.

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Cy-Kill

I've got a Windows 7 laptop & a Windows 8 laptop. I originally tried Start8 as well as StartIsBack after buying Win8 Pro when it was on sale at Best Buy Canada for CAD$70 for use on my desktop -- which I just recently sold -- didn't try Classic Shell because I was happy with the two aforementioned pieces of software.

With the Windows 8 laptop I decided to try Classic Shell, it was working well until it started doing weird things by itself.

I did upgrade Win8 to Win8 Pro using my 8 Pro key, and then updated it to Win8.1 Pro and as you know for Win8.1 there is now StartIsBack+, which I decided to purchase a single user license for $3. Quite happy with it.

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Vano

ClassicShell at the time W8 came out looked like XP, so it was out of question.

StartIsBack was the first start menu program that not only looked and felt like old good start menu we love in W7, but also played well with non standard scale (on laptops with small screens and high resolution by default scale set to 125% or 150%)
It was worth spending $3 and IMO still is.

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firefox91

I think all we wanted was our Start menu back. No one was really looking for someone to improve on it. Judging by the some of the hot messes I see in this article, some just didn't get it. That is where Classic Shell did it right. They just give you the Start menu back. Simple and effective.

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Scatter

I downloaded the StartIsBack trial when Windows 8 came out, loved it, bought it and recommend it.

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Eoraptor

Classic Shell is my ride of choice when I need to use Windows 8. It makes it almost palatable, actually. if it weren't for some program incompatibilities I could -almost- be convinced to switch. that said, Reviver looks interesting too. next time I load W8, I might try it.

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AFDozerman

I try to stay away from poki. I've had it snuck onto my computer before through another installation and had to manually delete files to get rid of it because it wouldn't let me uninstall it though the windows uninstaller only to find that doing so without manually killing the Poki process means that it will reinstall itself.

In short, stay the he'll away.

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sean76

Love Classic Shell. Works very well on both my laptop, and gaming PC. If you miss the start button, get this. I ended up downloading this when I was on the beta of Win8 and have loved it since.

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Granite

"...and the inability to boot to the desktop..."

When was this article written, anyway? We've had the ability to boot to desktop ever since Win8.1 came out.

"...that’s guaranteed to universally frustrate Windows 8 desktop users..."

Now, THAT'S a bold statement that is patently false. I mean...universally? LOL!!

Anyway, other than those comments I don't have anything against this article...even though I didn't read the rest of it. You see, I never really had a need for the Start Button back when I was using Win7 so I don't miss it now that I'm using Win8. But I recognize that others don't feel the way I do so I'm glad that someone has stepped up to give y'all what you want.

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Neufeldt2002

On the front page: "Note: This article was originally featured in the September 2013 issue of the magazine."

So yes, everything David wrote was true at the time.

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Granite

Thanks for pointing that date out to me. I didn't see it.

But, no...everything David wrote was not true at the time. In fact, I can guarantee that Windows 8 desktop users are NOT guaranteed to be frustrated.

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PCWolf

Well, no matter how bad something this, there will always be a few "Odd-Balls" who will love it. And that's OK. But a large majority do not like Windows 8. That's why Windows 8 has already been declared a failure. But I do agree that this article might be old since it says W8 can't boot directly to the desktop. Many times, these are just older articles that appeared months ago in the Magazine & are just being re-posted here.

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Granite

Can you document this "large majority"? You got numbers? You see, I tend not to give credence to hyperbole...just want to make sure you are not engaging in it. While you are at it, perhaps you can substantiate your contention that Win8 has been declared a failure. When did this happen? And who declared it?

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PCWolf

If Windows 8 was a success, Microsoft would not already be announcing Windows 9 so soon. Who declared Windows 8 a Failure? Consumers did. Where are the numbers? Here you go:

Steam Hardware & Software Survey: February 2014
Windows 7 64 bit: 50.55%,
Windows 7: 12.15%,
Windows 8.1 64 bit: 11.82%,
Windows 8 64 bit: 9.45%,
Windows 8.1: 0.36%,
Windows 8: 0.51%,

Windows 8 is fail due to the LARGE MAJORITY of PC users hating it. And these are just Steam Stats. Plenty of other sites will say the same thing. Feel free to go verify if for yourself. The world is not running to the stores to get it.

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Renegade Knight

A lot hating it? Yes. Large majority? Not so much. As for windows 9. Microsoft has announced (starting with 7) a more aggressive update schedule.

Personally I liked the long life of XP. Computers last longer these days before you need to upgrade. I'd like to see an OS do the same.

What's really going on is that with longer upgrade cycles MS wants to keep making bank by getting us to upgrade the OS even if we don't upgrade the computer. I think it's a bunkum approach.

The hatred of Win 8 (which isn't a small minority either) hopefully will cool their jets. But I doubt it.

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Granite

"If Windows 8 was a success, Microsoft would not already be announcing Windows 9 so soon."

Who says? You? Do you REALLY think Win8 is only a success if MS doesn't announce Win9 so soon?

Your numbers are meaningless. All they show is that most people don't see a need to change their OS. I'm sure there are a lot of reasons they don't see that need.

I'll give you one example: I have a desktop system and a laptop. I installed Win8 on my desktop and it works great. I haven't installed Win8 on my laptop because I don't want to spend the extra money. Does that mean I like Win8 because I installed it on my desktop? Or does that mean I hate Win8 because I didn't install it on my laptop?

So far, you've nothing but your sayso that a large majority of PC users hate Win8.

btw, you are being ridiculous if you make unsupported statements and then demand that " I " go verify it for myself. No...YOU verify it since YOU said it!

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PCWolf

"Your numbers are meaningless. All they show is that most people don't see a need to change their OS."

Still proves that most people don't want that FAIL Windows 8 Tablet Emulator OS.

"So far, you've nothing but your sayso that a large majority of PC users hate Win8."

So even with Steams System Survey, you claim it's still my say so. Yeah, I got Steam to Fudge it's numbers just to prove myself right.. wow... you must be truly retarded...

"btw, you are being ridiculous if you make unsupported statements and then demand that " I " go verify it for myself. No...YOU verify it since YOU said it!"

YOU asked for the numbers to back up my claim. I gave them to you. I did verify it, but your tiny brain will not accept anything I post because for you, anything I say or any proof I post will be regarded by you as "Unsupported Statements". regardless of how much information I post to support my statements. So Yes, go look at the data your dam self, if you even can or know how. All this proves that you truly are a tard. Why you even own a PC is beyond me. You should buy a Mac. They are made for people like you.

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Vano

The only reason W8 got any numbers is because MS is shoving it in customers throats by killing off sales of W7 PCs/laptops. It's either buying a new PC/laptop with W8 preinstalled or buying nothing at all, as there is no other choice.

HP recently announced that they are bringing back W7 PCs due to "popular demand" (http://www.neowin.net/news/hp-promotes-windows-7-pcs-sales-says-they-are-back-by-popular-demand). I don't recall anything like this happening when W7 came out, certainly not after Vista.

W8 is nothing more but Vista failure x2 due to drastically reducing features and usability on non-touch PCs. It might be some what usable on touch screens, but hell no with a mouse.

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PCWolf

Correct. HP brought Windows 7 back by popular Demand along with some other vendors. This seems to have irked Microsoft's plan to Shove their Tablet Emulator down peoples throats, so they have already told Vendors that they will no longer be allowed to issue Windows 7 with new PC's after Oct 2014. I also think that about half of Windows 8 numbers are people who got stuck with it when they got a new PC. Most system Builders I know wont touch Windows 8 unless a client asks for it. As for Granite asking you for facts. don't bother. you could post every number & every article, & he will say that it's meaningless. Most likely hes just a brain dead Windows 8 Troll who can't search for any facts himself.

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Granite

There is so much wrong with your post I have to wonder if you have actually used Win8, if you know anything about the PC market or if you are just blathering.

Every time a new Windows OS comes out, all new computers sold come with the new OS. Nothing has changed because MS did that with Win8.

HP isn't the only one who is selling computers with Win7...and they aren't the first ones to do that. The fact that they marketed it as "due to popular demand" is just that...marketing. It means nothing more.

Win8 does nothing to reduce features or usability on non-touch PC's and it works great with a mouse. Have you actually used Win8?

Come on...give me facts. Not spin.

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Neufeldt2002

Actually Win 8 does reduce features, the first one I noticed that is gone was DVD playback. Win 7 supports this out of the box, Win 8 doesn't. Granted I don't remember if Vista supported it or not, but others (XP, 2000, and older) did not as well. But it is a feature that was removed. Out of the box support for Media Centre was removed as well and reintroduced as a "paid for product" is it still there? Only after you download it, so it is a feature that was removed. So your "Win8 does nothing to reduce features" line is hogwash. If you are going to want facts, do some basic research yourself first.

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Vano

Yes, I have a non-touch W8 laptop. Swiping gestures on mouse pad is a joke.
Then you have to go to one corner to open settings, then to another corner to switch apps, then to another corner to open all apps view, then swipe from top edge to bottom or bottom to top to open additional controls is way too much for a mouse let alone a touch pad. On touch pad you pretty much have to use both hands for that.

One of the features Windows stand out from DOS when it came out was the ability run simultaneous several programs on screen at the same time. W8 introduced the default one, max two apps on split-screen at a time, destroying the very concept of "windows". Sure thing you can go back to old windows, but not only it's not the default view, it didn't "stick" until TWO! years later with 8.1

See, the problem is, when they released Windows CE on mobile devices, they where trying bring the desktop to mobile, it failed miserably for obvious reasons.
Then they come up with very unique concept of Windows Phone, it was a somewhat success, little too late, but still a success compare to Windows CE, because it was nothing like desktop Windows, because it's totally different physics when it comes to mobile vs desktops.

So, now they are trying bring that same Windows Phone to PC. They are stripping out features and settings, burring many of them deeper so it's harder to access, (even shutting down the computer requires more work) other words trying make this OS appealing for clueless people (sadly it's the majority of users), that in general aiding to the idiocracy we are heading right now to..

Event the look is like blunt Windows 98, hell, more like flat 3.1!
This is no way a step forward, it's a step backwards in almost all directions.

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Granite

LOL!!

So...your response is to toss a bucket of shit against the wall to see what sticks?

I mean, seriously...we are talking about Win8 and you are going on about everything from DOS to Windows CE to Windows Phone and you end up back with Win3.1!!

In any case, I have absolutely no problem controlling Win8 with a mouse...in either the desktop or the start screen.

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Carlidan

Granite, I don't know why you are arguing. The previous poster's made pretty good criticism about the OS. You can't deny what they are saying is false. I think the OS is great. But it was a failure not because the OS was bad. It's actually a very good OS. It's because of marketing, bad press, and people who didn't have a good reason to upgrade so fast to a new OS.

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Granite

I'm not arguing. I'm asking for facts.

It's easy to state opinions...as long as they are expressed as opinions...but when one expresses them as facts, that's when I ask for substantiation.

So far, I'm not getting the facts...only the opinions.

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Carlidan

Here an article from techrader.

http://www.techradar.com/us/news/software/operating-systems/most-people-aren-t-interested-in-windows-8-massive-survey-finds-1112964

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Granite

1. A news report about a poll conducted by AVAST, a computer security firm, BEFORE the release of Win8...almost a year and a half ago. Yes, that's some timely data, for sure.

2. The Techradar story refers to a USAToday story which refers to the AVAST poll. But neither story gives a link to the actual poll. I'm not saying anyone is lying, but numbers can be interpreted in various ways. I generally like to make up my own mind. On the other hand, I'm not going to chase down every poll that someone refers to. I'm just not that interested in it.

3. This is from the USAToday article:

"Avast's poll of U.S. Windows users found 16% planned to purchase a new computer. While 68% indicated they would get one of the new Windows 8 models, 30% planned to buy an Apple iPad touch tablet, and 12%, an Apple Macintosh computer.

"Many households already have multiple PCs, and people are keeping their computers longer," observes Penn. "More people are going to the iPad as their second or third computing device.""

Doesn't really indicate some kind of hatred for Win8...just that a lot of people feel they don't need a new OS right now...or that, for some god-awful reason, they want to switch to an Apple device.

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Carlidan

Omg GRanite. Never said hatred. I said win8 is a failure. No one is buying win8 and adaption is slow so therefor it's a failure. Pounding head on the wall. The numbers are dismal. Again, it's not the fucking OS. It's marketing and no one wants to upgrade a newer OS so fast. But it's a failure because no one is buying windows 8. Damn it!!!!

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Granite

shrug...

I guess you and I have different definitions of "failure".

I would consider Win8 a failure if it didn't work. I don't consider it a failure because it doesn't induce people to spend money they don't feel they need to spend.

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Neufeldt2002

Reminds me of the old Beta vs VHS days. Technically Beta was superior to VHS but VHS won. Win 8 is technically better than 7, but no one is buying it for various reasons. Microsoft is their own biggest competitor and releasing a product that is too soon, and too drastic of a change is never going to win unless it has things that users can't live without. Win 8 doesn't have anything that most can't live without, and it is coming out too soon for most as they are still happy with 7. If Win 8 was a success they wouldn't be trying to "Fix" things in these point releases.

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Granite

double post

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Renegade Knight

Having used 8 for the past year I can't say I miss the start menu. Yes it was traumatic figuring out the Start Screen was the start menu. Once I figured that out though and realized I like the "Just type to search" option I liked it better.

Now the only things that's going to interest me are tools like Obly Tile.

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HeroOfCanton

Win7 has the "type to search" in Start as well and it works better, because you don't have to switch categories (Apps, Settings, etc.), you just see a categorized list. I hear they might have improved this in Win8.1 Update 1, but I haven't tried it yet. It's just overly convoluted, IMO.

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Renegade Knight

I found them to be about the same. What I liked about 8 was you just start typing and it does search automatically. The results worked for me. 7 wasn't broken. 8 was just a little simpler. 8.1 doesn't work as well for me. Some like it better though.

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Random

Looks like Windows 7 will remain on my PCs for the foreseeable future.