As I recently wrote, I have finally bought a notebook with Windows 8.1 on it. After all the things I had read about Windows 8, and the improvements in Windows 8.1, and the further improvements of the Windows 8.1 Update, I took the step.
I’ve stayed away from Windows 8 until now, despite having advance-purchased a Windows 8 Professional Upgrade for $40 in the special deal that was available before Windows 8 was released.
Then, when Windows 8 was released, I received my upgrade package, but I had already read how disappointing the original Windows 8 was, so it remains unused (I’m not willing to sacrifice one of my Windows 7 licenses for Windows 8, even though I can update to Windows 8.1 Update now).
From my point of view, most of the real complaints about Windows 8 from users of Windows 7 (and earlier Windows) users have been handled by Windows 8.1 and the Windows 8.1 Update.
Except for the Start button…
Microsoft renamed the tiled interface to the Start Screen. They even put a Start Button on the task bar in the standard Windows Desktop. But, the Start Button did nothing more than shift to the Startup/Tiled screen.
How can you find all the programs and options in the old Start Menu? Good luck.
That’s where Stardock’s Start8 program comes in — it sets up the standard Windows 7 Start Menu. It even provides some configuration options to give the user more optiosn. There are some other Start Menu programs, too, but the one I decided to start with ended up being the one that I bought.
Bought? Yes, it’s a commercial product and you purchase it directly from Stardock. Price is all of $4.99 (USD). That’s not even a subscription price — it’s just a good deal. With that price, I bought my Start8 license after only 3 days of the trial.
When I installed Start8, I felt at home again. I could use this computer happily now in the Desktop mode.
One of the amazing things I found was that the data structure to create the Start Menu was already in place in Windows 8.1. I didn’t have to create all the links to display all the programs in the Start Menu.
Even more interestingly, Stardock provides extensive configuration capabilities for the functionality and display of Start8. After installation, the configuration screen opens for you.
After the initial configuration (you may not want to change anything from the defaults at this point), just right-click on the Start8 Start Button for the options menu, and click on "Configure Start8…"
You can read more about Start8 and download a 30-day free trial from Stardock’s web site http://www.stardock.com/products/start8/