Give Windows 8 the Start menu it deserves

Most of the complaints about Windows 8 are about the lack of a Start menu and the inability to boot to the desktop.

By Lincoln Spector, PC World |  Operating Systems, windows 8

But if you like to configure the Start menu, Start8 will disappoint you. Right-click the Start orb, and you'll find options to disable Windows 8's desktop hotspots and to change the Start orb's look (I like the bear print). But you won't find a Properties option. Start8 offers no way to change the Power button action, or to make Computer or Control Panel display as a menu.

Another configuration shortcoming: You can't drag and drop the contents of the All Programs section. If you want to, say, move all of your photo programs to their own submenu, you'll have to do it the clumsy way: right-clicking All Programs and selecting either Open or Open All Users. And even this method doesn't help you move the Metro apps.

Start8 is largely a take-it-as-is offering. But it can still make Windows 8 feel like home.

Classic Shell: Configure it to be anything...except, perhaps, what you want

The first time you click Classic Shell's Start button (which looks like something jointly created by Microsoft and the Shell oil company), you don't get a Start menu. Instead, the program asks you what kind of Start menu you want: Windows Classic, XP, or Vista/Windows 7.

This is just the first tab of an extremely option-filled dialog box. In Basic mode, it offers three tabs. But if you select All Settings, you get 13. In addition to options familiar to Windows 7 veterans (such as whether documents display as a link or a window), it allows you to change the look of the Start orb, and separately control the main menu and submenu scroll speeds.

You can save your settings as an .xml file, and thereby switch between configurations.

Unfortunately, the Vista/Windows 7 menu behaves more like Vista than Windows 7. Although it displays recently used programs in the left pane, there's no clear option to pin programs to the list. You can effectively pin a program by dragging it below the line (unlike in Windows 7, where the pinned programs are above the line), but this oddly leaves the program in both places.

On the plus side, you can insert a folder below the line, and drag additional programs into what effectively becomes a subfolder. But on the negative side, Classic Shell lacks application-specific recently used file lists--a major advantage of the Windows 7 Start menu that's sorely missed here.

You'll have no trouble organizing the All Programs menu (which Classic Shell calls Programs)--for instance, to place all of your media players in the same submenu. As with Windows 7, you can simply drag and drop shortcuts and folders.


Originally published on PC World |  Click here to read the original story.
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