Windows 8 Start Menu


I wrote earlier today about Windows 8 and I wanted to go through what I found that might help with the menu issue (meaning what to do when you know what program you need to find, but cannot find it on the new Modern UI start menu). In my search, I found a few programs that I wanted to share. I blogged about it as a “bad” feature in my Windows 8: The good, the bad and the ugly blog entry.

You, of course, have the option of a registry hack to get the menu back, but this means you are choosing to use the Windows 7 style menu perpetually. NOTE: If you are not an advanced user, I would not start hacking around in the registry, as you can kill your machine.

Pokki

Pokki is a very flexible Windows start menu application. Very flexible and allows you to easily customize, although it does not really look much like the Windows start menu. One nice thing is it does not coopt the windows key, so you can go to Modern UI easily (Windows 8 start menu does not).

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One thing that is neat about the program is it is very customizable. But it also duplicates some features that are present in WIndows 8 desktop. Once it starts, it is there. If you decide not to use it, you will have to kill the process via the Task Manager. If you uninstall the application, you will have to reboot to get rid of the icon.

Also note that the application pulls up items from the App store, so you can easily find some popular applications. The start menu allows you to anchor programs up front, so you don’t have to search.

Windows 8 Start Menu

The Windows 8 Start menu looks like a more “classic” Windows menu, pretty much replicating the look and feel of the Windows menu, as you can see below.

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By default, it makes it difficult to get to the Modern UI start menu, but you can configure this. You can also exit the program, if it is problematic for you, leaving no icons on the taskbar, like Pokki.

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Watch the installer and make sure you choose custom, as it wants to install a variety of additional programs. None are dangerous, but this is something that gets me a bit off. It installs a browser and a media player.

Power 8

Power 8 is another Windows like start menu. It is open source and rather limited. You can see a screencap below.

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My personal feeling is the program is still a bit buggy. For some reason the lower right corner icon is munged up on my install. In addition, it does not contain the many folders Windows 8 Start Menu has,so it is of no use in solving my issue (blogged here). I am not overly thrilled for my purpose, as my main reason for desiring a start menu is to find programs that are hard to find through the Modern UI menu.

Iobit Start Menu 8

Iobit Start Menu 8 is another Windows 7 menu lookalike, like Windows 8 Start Menu. The coloring is a bit different than the Windows 7 menu, but the functionality is very much like Windows 7.

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Also like Windows 8 Start Menu, it absconds the windows key, but there is hope as you can easily move to metro by right clicking or using Alt + X.

Others

I tried to download Stardock’s start menu, but the email to the download link did not work. So I did not get a chance to try it. Since it is $5, I have opted to not push to try it.

Summary

Since I like the Modern UI, I prefer Pokki at this point in time. It is also the most flexible of the tools, as you can easily customize. It also pulls up popular apps, which is a nice little plus.

Peace and Grace,
Greg

Twitter: @gbworld

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