Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Windows 8 and the Start Button--It RETURNS!

The Windows Start Button is coming back with Windows 8.1 but that's not until October. But wait, you can get it now with any one of these apps.


Lots of talk, good and bad, on Windows 8 and that's pretty normal as seen over the past 20 years or so for Microsoft. I too have an opinion on Windows 8 and it's mostly good. How's that you say.

A few months ago I wrote articles asking the question, should I upgrade to Windows 8 and should I get a new PC with Windows 8. I love technology and I don't mind change so that makes me a bit abnormal. Beyond that, Windows 8 has some good and some bad but what doesn't. To put my word down, I like Windows 8 and can live with the deficiencies until the next version, 8.1, due out in October. Windows 8.1 will deliver much for those that won't need the "touch" features or Windows 8 on a tablet. That means people will use, what is called, the "desktop" which reminds us of Windows 7 but with better performance and other good features.
That brings me to today's article. Until Windows 8.1 drops in October, we can get the Start Button back now and skip the "Metro" or "Windows 8 Start Screen" and go right to the Desktop that looks like the familiar Windows 7.
I currently use Classic Shell. Classic Shell provides you with 3 choices of a Windows Start Button. Windows Classic, Windows Vista/7 or even that of Windows XP. I'll be many of you are smiling large right now.
Graphic Credit: Erez Zuckerman, PCWorld
By the way, Classic Shell is FREE.

Start Menu 8 is another FREE app that provides an almost perfect copy of the Start Menu--the resulted menu seen when clicking the Start Button. Be warned though. Start Menu 8 asks permission to install other Paid software. I don't like this one bit myself but wanted to share.

Skip Metro Suite 3.0 allows you some really nice flexibility with the Windows 8 Start Menu as well as letting you skip the Windows 8 Start Screen and go right to the Desktop. I have this program installed and used it for about 2 days and stopped. I just don't mind seeing the Start Menu. I bypass it with a single click or the return key as the Desktop tile is in the upper left or first position and hitting Return executes the first tile.
Skip Metro Start Screen is another FREE app.
Adds a Start Button to the Windows 8 Desktop
Adds an enhanced Windows 7-style menu
Pin Windows 8 apps(the modern Start Screen apps) to the start menu
Allows you to directly boot to the Windows 8 Desktop--bypassing the Start Screen
The cost is $5.00 although there is a 30 day trial.

UPDATE:  A friend shared another Start Button program for Windows 8 called Vistart. I didn't try it myself but it looks pretty good (see the graphic below). It too is FREE.
Graphic Credit: ViStart

For those cautious about Windows 8, and I don't really blame you; here is a new, 36 page Windows 8 End User Training Brochure that is very much worth reading before you invest in a Windows 8 PC or upgrading to the Windows 8 operating system. Microsoft calls this a training brochure but I think of it as the perfect Quick Start Guide to Windows 8. The only downside to this document is that there are 2 pages that are either too technical or not practical for novice PC users like us. Other than that, the guide is terrific and will only take you about 15 minutes to get through. I wish this guide was introduced right with Windows 8 but I'm only crying for a moment.
Please share your thoughts on Windows 8 by writing a comment below.

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