NOTE: If you are using a new version of Windows 8 and the methods mentioned in this article don't work for you, check out following updated tutorial: How to Enable Start Button and Start Menu in Windows 8?
There is no option given to bring back the old Windows Vista or 7 style Start menu in Windows 8.
In this topic we are going to share 3 methods to enable old Start Menu in Windows 8:
- Using Registry hack
- By renaming a system file
- Using 3rd party Software
METHOD 1: Using Registry Hack
This method involves a small registry trick which can enable old Start Menu in Windows 8. Please keep in mind this registry trick will also disable the new Metro UI stuff and ribbon in Windows Explorer.
1. Press "WIN+R" key combination to launch RUN dialog box then type regedit and press Enter. It'll open Registry Editor and go to following key:
2. In right-side pane, change value of "RPEnabled" to 0
3. That's it. It'll bring back the old start menu in Windows 8.
PS: If you want to restore default settings, change the value to 1 again.
METHOD 2: By Renaming System File
This method involves renaming a system file "shsxs.dll". It enables old Start Menu but disables new Start Screen. Unlike the above registry method, this method doesn't disable Ribbon UI in Windows Explorer:
1. Press "WIN+R" key combination to launch RUN dialog box then type %windir% and press Enter. It'll open "Windows" folder.
2. Now look for a file with the name "shsxs.dll". Once you find it, rename it to some other name like "shsxs.dll.bak".
If you get an error while renaming the file, first take ownership of the file using any of following tutorials:
- Add Take Ownership Option in File / Folder Context Menu in Windows XP, Vista and 7
- [Guide] How to Take Ownership (Permission) of a File or Folder Manually in Windows?
3. That's it. Restart your system and now you'll have access to old Start Menu.
Thanks to our readers "Chris123NT", "Andy" and "billstelling" for sharing this file rename trick...
METHOD 3: Using 3rd Party Software
If you don't want to modify registry or rename system file manually, you can try ViStart which also works in Windows 8 and will not disable Metro UI, Start Screen or Explorer Ribbon UI:
Thanks to our reader "EiNS" for suggesting it...