Windows 8 has not matched the early adoption rates of its very successful predecessor, due to the now-well-(in?)famous Metro interface. Despite aggressive changes to the core user interface, under the bonnet Windows 8 is a better performing OS than Windows 7 in every aspect. Be it power management, boot times or just the overall responsiveness.
Traditional non touch, PC users obviously are going to get the benefit of all these improvements, however the very lack of star menu is definitely a major roadblock stopping desktop users from adapting to Windows 8, who were not subject to any dramatic user interface change in decades of Windows’ history.
Thankfully, there are dozens of traditional start menus floating around since quite a while now for Windows 8. The recently released StartMenu8 Beta from Iobit does the job of recreating a Windows 7 start menu for Windows 8 desktop fairly well.
Download: Iobit StartMenu8 Beta [2.71 MB]
Features of StartMenu8
- Boot directly to the Desktop
- Get all the functionality of Windows 7 Start menu like Pin to Start Menu , search within the Taskbar
- closely matches the look and feel of the Windows 7 Start menu
- Lightweight, low resource usage
- Free (at least as of now), unlike Stardock’s start menu for Windows 8
How well does it fare?
StartMenu8 actually does not completely disable the Windows 8 Start screen, instead you can access it by long pressing the Windows Key.
As you can see from the screenshot, StartMenu8 comes very close to replicate the look and feel of the Windows 7 Start Menu on Windows 8. In fact, if not for the slightly flattened look of the Windows 8 task bar, it is almost impossible point out that you are actually running Windows 8 when you have a glance at the desktop. You can pin your apps to the Start menu as well as the taskbar from StartMenu8.
There is very little configurability apart from being able to customise the menu’s auto start-up and direct boot to the desktop feature. However the latter is extremely useful, especially if you find the colourful tiles rather distracting for some reason. My only gripe with the program was, the jarring fade animation when you close the start menu. Do away with that, and you have a pixel perfect Windows 7 Start Menu for Windows 8.
With minimal resource consumption, great appeal parity with the native Windows 7 start menu and couple of handy features like boot to desktop, pin to start menu, StartMenu8 is the perfect companion for your Windows 8 desktop, if you want to enjoy all the speed and performance benefits of Windows 8, without having to deal with the absence of the legendary Start Menu. The application is free at the moment during the beta stage and would very likely remain the same. Let us know about your thoughts on StartMenu8