Stardock releases free Start menu app for Windows 8

By on March 7, 2012, 1:00 PM

One of the biggest gripes that longtime Windows users have with the latest -- still in development -- operating system release is Microsoft's decision to pull the classic Start menu to make way for a new Metro start screen filled with large tiles, which can be customized to show live information or launch applications. Although it's a fresh and arguably more visually appealing take on the traditional Desktop, it was designed with touch input in mind, and as such it can get on the way of those used to a mouse and keyboard to get things done.

With that in mind Stardock has released a free application called Start8 that will bring the old menu back -- sort of. Stardock’s solution basically copies the Metro search and application launch interfaces to the desktop and makes it accesible via the classic start menu Orb on the bottom left corner of the screen. This allows users to search for and load applications without switching from the classic desktop to Metro first.

Start8 also adds Run and Shutdown options to the context menu when right-clicking the start menu Orb.

The application was specifically designed for Windows 8 and is compatible with the current "Consumer Preview" release. Stardock says it will update the program to make it compatible with the forthcoming release candidate and final versions of the operating system when Microsoft makes those available.

As mentioned, this is a free download. Stardock is asking users to leave their email addresses on the Start8 product page and they'll promptly send a download link -- pressumably also a notification when a new version is available. If you want to skip through that, however, we've added a direct download link here.




User Comments: 29

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SNGX1275 SNGX1275, TS Forces Special, said:

I've been using the CP since it came out on a secondary PC, and aside from the initial uncomfortableness of not having a Start Menu, I've become pretty accustomed to not having it, It actually turns out a lot of us "Power Users" didn't use the Start Menu very often anyway. Pretty much anything that you need to do in the Start Menu you can do by a Windows + F or just pinning it to the dock, er I mean taskbar

There are quite a few of us sharing our opinions on the CP in a thread in the Windows OS forum.

psycros psycros said:

Worst..UI...ever.

Justgivemeaname said:

psycros said:

Worst..UI...ever.

I wouldn't say its the worst UI ever. Windows 8 is just before its time. The entire OS is based around using a touchscreen, and it is beyond annoying when you have to scroll to the right to reach the 2nd set of tiles because since most monitors AREN'T touchscreen (yet) there is no simple swiping to slide over to it. It's almost as though Microsoft designed windows 8 for a tablet or phone, but decided to use it as a desktop OS instead at the last minute. There's a whole list of other issues I have with the OS, but I'm getting ready for work and don't have time to type it all out now cause it would be time consuming. Long story short, I'll be skipping 8 and sticking with Windows 7. I just sincerely hope that the next windows OS after 8 isn't just 8 in a new package.

fimbles fimbles said:

Have noticed most articles on windows 8 seem to be ways of adding features from old versions of windows.

In a clicks per operation basis windows 8 is indeed the worst ui ever.

Guest said:

I just tried it for the first time and being a power user I thought I would hate it....but you know what...Its not to bad. I got to figure out how to get to some things but over all I think it's an excellent start menu replacement which I hardly ever used before..Might actually use this one.

SNGX1275 SNGX1275, TS Forces Special, said:

I've seen the clicks per operation argument brought up. Aside from suspend/sleep/hibernate/power off I don't really think its all that bad. And really, if its bothering you that much, then take 30 seconds to change the behavior of your power button (ie- press to shut down, or hibernate, or whatever). Once you get a program installed, it is in your Metro interface, then its 1 click to launch. Thats a lot less clicks than start, programs, find the dir its in, click program.

Guest said:

Any time you install Windows (any version) you always need to add more software to make it useful.

At least this new menu looks a little like like Linux Mint's menu. That is good.

Guest said:

The term "Windows Power Users" is an oxymoron. Get an operating system that really works and learn how to use it.

If you do not understand what I mean then you better stick with Windows. It fits you well.

Guest said:

Sorry, after 20 years I'm just used to having icons and folders on my desk top not "pastel" tiles.

This really needs to have the option to select "classic" windows desktop otherwise I don't see this taking off In an office environment where people have just made the adjustment to Windows 7.

Seriously??......pastel tiles...maybe It's just my monitor.

Darth Shiv Darth Shiv said:

Guest said:

Sorry, after 20 years I'm just used to having icons and folders on my desk top not "pastel" tiles.

This really needs to have the option to select "classic" windows desktop otherwise I don't see this taking off In an office environment where people have just made the adjustment to Windows 7.

Seriously??......pastel tiles...maybe It's just my monitor.

They need tiles of some sort... maybe they went with pastels now so you can upgrade later

Guest said:

"The term "Windows Power Users" is an oxymoron. Get an operating system that really works and learn how to use it."

I have used Linux, Solaris, Windows, and Macintosh. Each operating system can cater to power uses so it's not an oxymoron. If you feel all smug about using a "real" operating system whatever that might be, then so be it but don't try dragging down other users.

As far as I know, a lot of science software is on Linux so that's when I have to use Linux. A lot of engineering software is on Windows so I use windows a lot since it's my profession. A lot of design applications is on either Windows or Macintosh so my friends switch between them (at home he's on a Macintosh but at work, he's on Windows). Each operating system IS real AND WORKS really well for the intended purpose.

Guest said:

"This really needs to have the option to select "classic" windows desktop otherwise"

They do so don't need to worry. They did not really force anything onto us besides the stupid and annoying removal of the start button. That's just kind of sudden.

Guest said:

Colour scheme looks familiar. Windows for workgroups?? Maybe perhaps OS/2??? ;-)

NTAPRO NTAPRO said:

Seems like a good move by Stardock. Feels that there will be general complaints about the new UI and offers a solution

Basic business lol

Guest said:

I though the Metro interface was totally optional for non touch devices, but nooo, they have to shove it anyway.

Windows 7 is the next XP, in 2020 it will still have a strong presence.

Guest said:

The Start Menu is not missed. Right-clicking the bottom left corner gives users a short menu of utilities and that is really all that is necessary. If you want to restart or turn off Windows quickly, use the Win key + R and type in "shutdown" and -r or -s, followed by -t 0.

Guest said:

So, if you now how to run a specific application, you are a power user? Good for you.

I was talking about operating systems and operating system tasks.

Try adding a 1000 users, deleting a 100 users, add operating system software (do not forget to restart 2 or 3 times). Add a word processor (do not forget to restart again). Have a 100 people login to the system (do not forget to purchase a 100 terminal services licenses). Find all the processes owned by a user and kill the processes (no cheating, by loading third party tools).

3DCGMODELER 3DCGMODELER said:

They should have the Metro or touch thingy as an Option........ Daaa ...

I don't Like the Metro, Looks Ugly. No touch screen here, use Dual monitors, have a 3rd if i need to use it.

It Will be along time tell I get a Touch-Screen, My AutoCad and 3D Apps, and various other Apps, are not touch screen savy...When u need alot of screen realestate, Touch screens won't fit the Bill.

Isn't that why there are "Hot Keys", Power user here... Long time Power User...

Hot Keys are your friend, map your keyboard .. 100+ keys that can be programmed

to start App's...

It's so easy, I may use the start button, once a week..If that..

Restart windows, hot-key, and enter..

Guest said:

Microsoft took the lowest common denominator interface (phone) and decided to use it for everything. If I had a smart phone or tablet maybe I'd like it but for a desktop it is a very poor design.

SNGX1275 SNGX1275, TS Forces Special, said:

They should have the Metro or touch thingy as an Option........ Daaa ...

I don't Like the Metro, Looks Ugly. No touch screen here, use Dual monitors, have a 3rd if i need to use it.

...

Isn't that why there are "Hot Keys", Power user here... Long time Power User...

Hot Keys are your friend, map your keyboard .. 100+ keys that can be programmed

to start App's...

It's so easy, I may use the start button, once a week..If that..

Restart windows, hot-key, and enter..

What prevents you from using hotkeys in Windows 8? And you obviously don't have to use a touch screen to use the Metro Start, if you have more than 1 screen of apps the scroll wheel on your mouse moves to the 2nd page. You could arrange all the apps you use often on the first page of the Metro screen. If you have so many apps it takes multiple screens then a simple Windows Key + F and type the first few letters of the app would work.

Everyone that bitches about Windows 8 seems to have not used it yet, or only used it for a couple hours (and I'd guess they exaggerate how much time they've spent on it). I haven't seen anyone post on the forums about having spent any significant amount of time on it and still say it sucks. It seems quite the opposite, the more you use it the more you like it.

TJGeezer said:

Sounds to me like Win 8 is the normal between-OSes pay-for-beta version by Microsoft. No biggie, I'll just skip it. Though if I ever get it to install in a VirtualBox VM, I'll play with it to see how it does on my non-touch screen system. So far it has choked and I don't feel driven to make it work, the way I did with early issues of Win 7 on a system that came loaded with Vista. (Making sign here to ward off evil at the mention of, you know...) Or maybe it'll install better in a VM on my Mint 12 PC

Guest said:

"So, if you now how to run a specific application, you are a power user? Good for you.

I was talking about operating systems and operating system tasks."

Well we're talking about advanced users or "power users". You're talking more about system administration so that does not matter in this context. So yeah... good for you too.

Guest said:

"So, if you now how to run a specific application, you are a power user? Good for you."

No it's not about running specific software. It's about using advanced features of the operating system, tweaking and modifying, and etcetera. It's something along the line of:

"A power user is a user of a personal computer who has the ability to use advanced features of programs which are beyond the abilities of "normal" users, but is not necessarily capable of programming and system administration."

In my case I also know programming and make use of it to allow the operating to do other advanced tasks. However, I don't know anything about mass computer system administration.

Guest said:

"A power user is a user of a personal computer who has the ability to use advanced features of programs which are beyond the abilities of "normal" users, but is not necessarily capable of programming and system administration."

I agree, but most of the time it seems that if someone knows how to use their scientific or engineering program they consider themselves "Power Users" and know nothing about the OS, except to click on their program.

Guest said:

"I agree, but most of the time it seems that if someone knows how to use their scientific or engineering program they consider themselves "Power Users" and know nothing about the OS, except to click on their program."

Ah I see what you meant now and I agree with you. What I was trying to say initially was that I have a lot of experiences with many OS but I wasn't very clear about it and it came off as someone who just knows how to use programs.

Guest said:

The windows 8 start screen is so ugly. If they think I want to look at that thing all day at my desk. They are sorely mistaken. It makes me sick just looking at it. To say it is asthetically appealing it just beyond works. It has those ugly dull colors, with no way to make it pretty. Sharpening the corners makes it even more plain and ugly.

SNGX1275 SNGX1275, TS Forces Special, said:

If you are looking at the start screen all day that means you aren't doing anything productive. Once you are in a program you don't see it. You would only see it when hitting the Windows key or going to the bottom left and clicking on it.

I think people just complain without ever trying to use the OS.

Guest said:

I know this may not be a popular post, but Windows Vista is by far the best looking OS, some whine about resources, but look at what our computers can do these days. Who Cares? Your PC can handle it fine, and look great at the same time. Since so many whined about resources, we got a dumbed down less appealing windows 7 and windows 8 isn't any more appealing visually. It may be even worse. Gonna Stick to Vista.

Guest said:

XFD Buddy. I am sorry, but not everyone has hundreds of hours a month to monkey around with Linux or another open source OS that is "fully customizable."

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