Windows 8 Guide: Add a Start menu to Windows 8

Amber Sass

Amber Sass

  • Updated:

One thing that may surprise those new to Windows 8 is its lack of a traditional Start menu button at the bottom left of your desktop screen.  Sure, you can learn to use hotkeys or figure out the Charms Bar, but a lot of people aren’t going to want to re-learn how to use Windows.

If you fall into the latter category, you’re in luck. There are a lot of third party apps that will give your desktop the look you want, which are also easy to download and install.

Here are five options that will get the Start menu back in Windows 8.


Pokki is a really cool app to have, regardless of whether or not you use Windows 8. It’s a desktop app that lets you install a variety of different (and often gorgeous) apps via its interface. What Pokki also does on Windows 8’s desktop interface is add its own version of a Start menu. You can access your files and programs on your computer through this button.


My personal favorite of the bunch, Start8, not only gives you a Start menu but also lets you easily hop between the Windows 8 desktop interface and the Metro UI. It’s free to try for 30 days, giving you plenty of time to decide if it’s worth the arguably meager $4.99 purchase price.

Start Button 8

This fully customizable Start menu offers the ability to create smart folders and ‘virtual groups’. You can even skin the Start menu and button with a handy skin editor and creator. Start Button 8 isn’t just for Windows 8 users either. It’s compatible with Windows XP, Vista, and 7, making it even more useful if you have multiple computers you want to customize.

IObit Start Menu 8

If you’re looking for basic functionality and an easy way to disable booting the Metro UI, give IObit Start Menu 8 a try. The app does make it a little difficult to access the Metro UI, if you do want to flip over to it. If that’s not something you’re interested in, this tool works well to bring back the traditional Windows Vista and 7 Start menu.

Classic Shell

Here’s a collection of features that were available in older versions of Windows, including a class Start menu. Classic Shell also lets you customize colors and supports a variety of other useful features, like showing recently used documents and expanding the Control Panel.

Windows 8 is going to revolutionize the way we use our Windows PCs, although not everyone’s going to be thrilled about some of the changes. If the lack of Start menu bothers you, now you have five different ways to get it back. Let us know which one you like best in the comments below!

Amber Sass

Amber Sass

Latest from Amber Sass

Editorial Guidelines