My God this has frustrated me. You likely know that Microsoft has removed the start button from Windows 8 and early versions of third party coded Start buttons were unusable… not anymore!
There are now several answers and I will begin with the two I most like.
1: CLASSIC SHELL via SOURCEFORGE
This is a fantastic FREE product that returns nearly all of the functionality to the Windows START button, it even has the Aero Glass effect on the START button.
Thus far I have found only two limitations:
- The SEARCH bar is not returning results from my Outlook 2013 which is VERY likely to be caused by Outlook 2013 having its own (currently crappy!) indexing system and as such Classic Start does not know about it.
- I have redirected MY DOCUMENTS, MY PICTURES… to a second hard drive which is VERY non-standard and as such Classic Start did not automatically redirect to their new location even though that location was changed in the factory Windows 8 interface. This problem was easily survived by clicking Shell Start and the then right clicking on each of the folders and correcting the path.
I liked it soooooo much I just gave them and $10 donation and I suggest you do the same as they certainly deserve it for this fully function piece of free code.
2: START 8 from StarDock
StarDock has been a staple of the “lets fix windows” add-on companies for the last decade. They are known for producing well written, bug free, software that returns removed functionality or slightly enhances Windows.
I thought Start 8 was terrible in its early beta’s but I can certainly vouch that it works very well now. It supports Aero and even includes a link back to the new tiled Metro Start. This is a very nice, highly customisable product.
The beta was free but now that it has been released it costs $5 (less 10% if you LIKE them on Facebook). I was very happy to pay for START 8 because I want to encourage these addon’s; the more vendors making START buttons for Windows 8, the more likely Microsoft will bring back the original.
3: POWER 8 via CODE.GOOGLE
This product would be sooooooo awesome if it were not for the START 8 and CLASSIC SHELL.
I also noted that it has a Russian source. I work with a few Russians and have NEVER had an ethical problem with them, but like software from China, there is a reputation of infected software to be concerned with. I don’t know if Google does any scanning or takes any responsibility for code hosted on their site, but they might.
4: OTHER WINDOWS 8 START BUTTON OPTIONS
There are other tools to bring back or replace the START button in Windows 8 but I have not tested these. To Keep this simple, I will just post links to their respective sites.
If you like them, please make a comment below and let us all know about it.
5: WINDOWS 8 START BUTTON FICTION
There are some sites which claim a registry entry will re-enable the Windows 8 START button and while that WAS true, it isn’t now. In the Windows 8 Beta’s (before the Consumer Preview, aka Release Candidates) you could add the following registry to turn the start button back on:
reg add “HKCU\Software\Microsoft\Windows\CurrentVersion\Explorer” /v RPEnabled /t REG_DWORD /d “0”
This has been maliciously removed by Microsoft and that makes me nutty! I completely understand why the tiled Metro Interface would be the preferred app launcher for Windows by default, but it just makes no sense to me to remove the functionality all together.
It is also fiction, as at October 20, 2012, that Microsoft has announced the return of the START button. I have heard many rumours about the START button re-appearing in Service Pack 1, after Microsoft figures out that why consumer will just be confused by this change, that corporations will not tolerate it. Let’s hope that is what happens!