[AIO] List of Free Software to Get Start Menu and Start Button Back in Windows 8

Almost all of us are very well aware of the fact that Microsoft has removed the Start button and Start Menu from its latest OS Windows 8. Start Menu has been replaced by the new Start Screen which shows live tiles of built-in programs, 3rd party programs installed by you and a few useful tools such as weather, RSS feed, etc. Start button has been replaced by a small Start Screen thumbnail which appears when you move your mouse cursor to bottom-left corner of screen.


Although Start Screen was designed to provide easier access to programs and better organizing capabilities for users but many Windows 8 users find the new Start Screen a little bit difficult to use and understand.

We have posted a tutorial in past which allows you to create a new toolbar in Windows 8 Taskbar which works similar to Start button and Start Menu and provides quick access to all installed programs. You can check it at following link:

How to Enable Good Old Start Button (ORB) and Start Menu in Windows 8?

We have also shared a few freeware which can bring the Start button and Start Menu back in Windows 8 and lots of new similar free tools are releasing regularly. So instead of creating new topics for each of them, today we decided to create a single topic containing all these freeware in a single place.

In this article for your convenience, we are going to list a few free software which can add the missing Start button and Start Menu in Windows 8.

So without wasting time lets share the list of freeware:

1. Classic Shell

Classic Shell is one of our favorite tools for Windows 7 and Windows 8. It can bring back the Start button and Start Menu in Windows 8. It also allows you to get the good old classic Explorer features such as classic navigation pane, fully functional status bar, shared folder overlay icon and much more. It works in both Windows 7 and Windows 8.


You can read more about it and download it using following link:

Download Classic Shell

2. ViStart

ViStart was one of those first freeware which were created to provide Windows Vista look-like Start Menu in Windows XP. Then it was updated to mimic Windows 7 Start Menu and now it can also bring the same Start Menu and Start button to Windows 8.

You can read more details at following link:

Download ViStart

3. Start8

Start8 is great software developed by Stardock which adds a nice looking Start Menu and Start button to Windows 8. It also allows you to access new Metro apps right from the Start Menu. The Start Menu features Aero glass UI matching with Taskbar background color.


It was a great freeware for Windows 8 but sadly it is no longer a free software. Now Stardock is charging $4.99 to purchase a full version for Start8. To be honest this software is worth this money. You can grab a beta version of Start8 using following link:

Download Start8

4. Taskbar Classic Start Menu

This software is a little bit different from others. It allows you to access the Start Menu using its icon present in system tray (aka system notification area). You can download it using following link:

Download Taskbar Classic Start Menu

That's all for now guys. Feel free to try them and let us know your feedback. If you know about any other similar tool, please let us know and we'll add it to the list...

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Posted in: Software, Windows 8 / 8.1

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  • Nice collection. Thanks.

  • It will be very useful for new Windows 8 users. Thanks for putting them together. :)

  • Best Collection of Apps. Thanks VG'

  • Nice.
    See here more links for similar programs: forum.softpedia.com/topic/883250-start-menu-in-windows-8/

  • Another great software is Win8StartButton.
    Start button, (metro) start menu and it's freeware

  • Why people hate "Start" screen so much? Now it's so easy to find, what you searching for. Just press "Windows" flag on the keyboard and type first letter of the program. That's far better and faster.

  • I've used all of these and there is a clear winner:
    Classic Shell
    It's the most reliable gives you easy access to the "Modern" desktop and the old start menu features.

  • iobit startmenu 8

  • you guys may want to take a look on tihy's work in msfn forum... msfn.org/board/topic/157302-windows-7-explorer-for-windows-8/

  • If you replacing "Windows Explorer", removing metro interface, backing up "Aero Glass" and old "Start menu", I can't see any reason why would you need to run "Windows 8".

  • @zydrius32: Because Windows 8 does have some good under the hood enhancements, but the average person and average power user won't care if the UI is absolute crap. These make Windows 8 bearable enough to use again while remove all the tablet junk that shouldn't be in a desktop OS.

    Whether you like it or not, people want a Desktop OS on the Desktop, they do not want a tablet/mobile OS for their actual workstations. This is furthered proved by the popularity of such programs like the ones listed on this very page.

  • One more: StartW8 (areaguard.com/StartW8)
    StartW8 version (May 29, 2013)

  • Dear VG
    I am visiting your site for many years now and i recommended it to may friends
    I tried a lot of start menu programs but you never mentioned StartmenuX;
    I use it from almost day 1 (april 2013) since I bought my new laptop which came with Win 8
    I am a windows insider for Win 10 and although the startmenu has improved a lot, I prefer to use StartmenuX on Win 10 TP.
    You can use the free version, for I don't use the extra's in the paid version.
    IMHO it's more versatile the the other free start menu programs.
    Keep on the good work
    yours truly
    Peter Alexander London

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