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

We all know that Windows 8 RTM has been released which comes with many improvements and UI changes compared to previously released testing builds. It supports Start Screen customization and there are many improvements in Windows Explorer ribbon UI, etc.

Among these improvements, there is a big change which was not expected by anyone. That is the removal of good old start button (start ORB) from Taskbar. We mentioned this earlier that Microsoft has removed the start button from Taskbar in Windows 8. You can check following link for more information:

Will Windows 8 be a Good OS for Desktop PCs?

Microsoft already removed start menu from Windows 8 in previously released Developer Preview build and now the start button has also gone.

Without start button the Taskbar looks weird and new users can't decide where to go and open their favorite programs? Today in this tutorial, we are going to tell you how to bring the good old start button and start menu back in Windows 8?

Yes. You heard it right. although start button and start menu have been permanently removed from Windows 8 but there are ways to get them back.

In this tutorial, we'll share 2 easy to use methods which can help you in enabling start button and start menu in Windows 8:

  • METHOD 1: Using New Taskbar Toolbar
  • METHOD 2: Using 3rd Party Software

So without wasting time, lets start the tutorial:

METHOD 1: Using New Taskbar Toolbar

Long time back we shared a small tutorial to get classic start menu back in Windows 7 in which we took help of built-in Taskbar toolbar feature of Windows.

[Manual Method] Get "Classic Start Menu" Back in Windows 7 Without Using 3rd Party Software

The same method also works in Windows 8 and you can get an alternative start menu as shown in following screenshot:


As you can see you can access all programs list using this new menu similar to start menu.

If you are not satisfied with this method and want to get original Windows 7 style start ORB and start menu in Windows 8, then following method will definitely help you.

METHOD 2: Using 3rd Party Software

In this method, we'll use a freeware "ViStart" which was actually created for Windows XP to get Windows Vista or 7 style start menu but this excellent tool works in Windows 8 as well.

1. So first download ViStart using following topic:

ViStart: Free Windows Vista and Windows 7 Start Menu Clone for Windows XP

NOTE: When you run ViStart setup, it tries to install two 3rd party programs bundled with it. You can skip the installation of these extra programs by unchecking "Install Babylon toolbar" option and clicking on "Decline" button when the setup asks to install "Registry Cleaner Pro" software.

2. Once you install ViStart, it'll bring back the start ORB and start menu in Windows 8. But the start ORB will overlap Taskbar button as shown in following screenshot:


3. You can fix this problem by adding a new blank toolbar in Taskbar. Simply follow these steps:

UPDATE: The latest version of ViStart doesn't create this icon overlapping problem. If you are using an older version of ViStart, then you'll need to apply following steps, otherwise not.

3.a. First create a new folder anywhere. It might be on Desktop, in C: drive or in any other drive. We have created a folder "test" in C: drive in our example.


3.b. Now right-click on Taskbar and select "Toolbars -> New toolbar..." option.

3.c. It'll open browse dialog box where you'll need to select a folder. Select the new folder which you created in 3.a. step and click on "Select Folder" button.


3.d. It'll immediately add the new folder toolbar in Taskbar. It'll be added near system tray (notification area) as shown in following screenshot:


3.e. Right-click on Taskbar and uncheck "Lock the Taskbar" option. It'll show a placeholder to drag the folder toolbar.


3.f. Now you need to drag-n-drop the new folder toolbar to the start of Taskbar. Simply click and hold on the folder toolbar handler, drag the handler to the start of Taskbar. It'll put the new folder toolbar to the start of Taskbar and you'll see a huge gap between folder toolbar and program buttons.

3.g. Now right-click on the empty area between folder toolbar and program buttons and uncheck both "Show Text" and "Show title" options.


3.h. Now you can drag-n-drop the program buttons handler near start ORB to remove the gap.


3.i. Lock the Taskbar again and now start ORB will no longer overlap program buttons and you'll get a working start ORB and start menu in Windows 8.

ViStart works perfectly without any problem in Windows 8 so you'll never miss the good old Start button and Start Menu in Windows 8.

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Posted in: Troubleshooting, Windows 8 / 8.1

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