Windows 8 Gets The Start Button Back With This App

    August 23, 2012
    Zach Walton
    Comments are off for this post.

A lot of people, including yours truly, don’t like Windows 8 all that much. Most of our frustration comes from the fact that the newest OS forces you to boot into the Metro Windows 8 UI. It also got rid of the start button because Microsoft wanted to save space. Well, a new open source app will make all your Windows 8 troubles go away.

The app is called Classic Shell, and it does as the name suggests. It allows users to insert the Start button back into the desktop on Windows 8. There are other apps that do the same thing, but this one gives you a choice. Users can choose between a variety of start menus including the classic Start menu from the mid-90s.

In even better news, Classic Shell is also able to prevent Windows 8 from booting into the new UI. In my experience, I’ve found the new UI to only slow down my PC. Eliminating it from the boot process will only be a good thing.

There are some people who enjoy Windows 8 and its Live Tile UI, but a lot of people also hate it. It’s unfortunate that Microsoft seems to be completely ignoring their customers that hate the UI that Windows 8 is forcing upon them. There should have been an option from the beginning that allows desktop users to just stick with the classic interface without having to interact with the Live Tiles.

Until Microsoft reverses course and actually starts caring about desktop users, apps like this are going to be our best bet. We can only hope that Microsoft won’t try to shut down these apps that provide a necessary for us curmudgeons that don’t want anything to do with Microsoft’s vision of “progress.”

You can download the latest version of Classic Shell over at Sourceforge. If you’re feeling helpful, you can contribute to the open source project to make it even better.

[h/t: The Register]

  • qwerty

    I love windows 8 and the tiles. I don’t understand why people don’t like it but everyone i know likes it.

    • Deamion

      I agree, once people give it a chance, they will see the new UI is much better. But I understand the people have a hard time with change, even if it is for the better… so it may take a while.

      I wonder what people would say if this was Apple forcing a new UI on their clients?

      • Demoman

        What has apple got to do with any of this?

    • Anonymous

      Improvement requires change, but that doesn’t mean all change is an improvement. Start screen is missing many features of Start Menu but reverse is not true. All the Start menu doesn’t have is Live Tiles but you have the notification area for any live notifications.

  • Magus

    They didn’t get rid of the start menu to save space. They didn’t stop you from booting to metro because they wanted to speed you up. Both were for the simple reason that they need metro apps to succeed. Unless they get metro apps, Microsoft will continue to stagnate, even fall. They have to force you to get used to the change, and bear people like you screaming “NOOOO DONT TAKE MY STUFF WAWAAAAAAY!!!!”

    Because if they gave you a choice, you wouldn’t even give them a chance.

  • http://www.bsitko.com Bill Szczytko

    This is resistance to change at its finest. I’ve used the new UI – it isn’t as bad as people make it seem. Ask yourself WHY you need the Start button.

  • Patrick

    Do you have any idea just how many applications are installed on a typical workstation by the OEM? Hundreds. In the Metro interface, that means I have to scroll past those hundreds of applications. It’s massive clutter. There is a reason that Folders exist — its to group apps by type / vendor. Folders simplify the search-and-display functionality of a UI. Folders, in Windows 8, simply do not exist in the Metro UI.

    The reason I prefer the Start Menu is because I tend to use dozens of applications on any given day. I do not want to scroll through EVERY SINGLE INSTALLED APPLICATION in the “Metro” interface to launch an application I used two or three times a week, but not often enough to pin to the Metro interface or the Taskbar.

    The Metro UI, while awesome for tablets and phones, simply does not have a valid place in the typical Enterprise Environment.

  • Karin

    Some keyboards have a ‘START’ key you can hit, right? Or, does W8 disable it?

  • The Yakima Kid

    Patrick is correct; even worse, with MS, it seems every time you upgrade to the new version, it seems you need to upgrade all of your applications. This costs money.

    I moved to Linux quite a while back. It is an excellent product for enterprise environments with the exception that some software specified by the US government for specific business uses only runs on Windows. The solution to that is to demand the government port these to Linux/UNIX. Linux has excellent support, excellent maintenance which means if there is an issue the patch comes out in a day or two and one does not wait for weeks for some manaager to decide the cost/benefit profit ratio in fixing a security leak or a bug leading to fatal errors. There is a wide range of applications as well as good development tools, all available under the GPL.

  • Joel

    Thank you for reporting this! This was one of the reasons why I was telling my friends and family who aren’t as computer savvy to wait a while to get Windows 8. Now I can have them install this and gradually get used to metro while not feeling alienated. I don’t think anything is wrong at all with this operating system, it’s just that people are reluctant to use something new when something old has been working for them.

  • umberto giacobbi

    I happily use BringBack from Revel Software… with Windows 8 preview and now RTM it’s a “standard” start menu but with a refreshed UI and some nice features…


  • Adam Clarke

    I use RetroUI from Thinix. I find it provides a better user experience and offers the right tools. I am a system administrator for a mid-sized business and I found that RetroUI allowed me to setup configurations for my users programatically. The tools in RetroUi that bypass the Windows metro / modern UI work great in the RTM version I an running.


  • Anonymouse

    Another start button utility for Windows 8 (a free version is also available):


  • Damir Babic

    I can not see a point of Metro style interface on desktop PC.Start button and the way it works is “must have”. I don’t want to browse trough 4 or 5 pages of “tiles” to find an application. I want all my applications to be displayed on 1/4 of one screen as was the case with any previous windows OS.New interface is good only for for tablets without mouse or keyboard.Even investing in touch screen monitor is not an option since reaching out and touching it is not practical and is still slower than using a mouse,not to mention smudges and fingerprints on the monitor that I absolutely hate and that are inevitable if you use touch screen interface.

  • Mr. Ed

    Windows 8 blows. I had to buy a new machine and got stuck with this abortion of an OS. If I could have XP installed on the new computer it would scream, as it is with 3x the RAM and a quad core versus a single core celeron, it’s barely any faster than my recently deceased 8 year old laptop. I would love to just return it and go back to an XP machine or at the very least try Windows 7!