Start8: Get Start Button (ORB) and Classic Start Menu Back, Load Desktop on Login and Disable Hot Spots in Windows 8

We all know that Microsoft has removed the good old Start button and Start Menu from Windows 8.

Start Menu and Start button were 2 essential components of Windows OS but Microsoft has replaced them with new Start Screen. Start Screen is not a perfect and complete replacement for Start Menu. You can check out following article which discusses the issue in details:

Will Windows 8 be a Good OS for Desktop PCs?

We have shared a detailed guide recently which helps you in getting Start button and Start Menu back in Windows 8. You can find the guide at following link:

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

Today we are going to share a new software released by Stardock which is a well known Windows customization software company.

"Start8" is a free software for Windows 8 which brings back Start button (ORB) and Start Menu in Windows 8 and also allows you to skip Metro Start Screen and load Windows Desktop on login. It can also disable hot spots (or hot corners) in Windows 8 such as Charms Bar, App Switcher, etc.

As soon as you install the software, it immediately adds the Start ORB to Taskbar and when you click on it, you get a Windows 7 look-like Start Menu in Windows 8 as shown in following screenshot:


This Windows 7 style Start Menu comes with many useful features such as:

  • You can search for Windows 8 Metro apps using Start Menu
  • You can access Start Screen from Start Menu
  • You can pin Desktop and Metro apps to Start Menu
  • Provides full support for Jump Lists
  • Provides fast access to power options
  • Automatically matches Taskbar color

Also when you right-click on the Start ORB, you get following options (some options will not show if you are using new Windows 7 style Start Menu):

  • On login go to the desktop
  • Use the classic style Start Menu
  • Disable Windows 8 desktop hotspots
  • Show Full screen Metro Start Menu
  • In small mode defaults to apps page
  • Allow WinKey to show fullscreen menu
  • Non fullscreen size
  • Pick a different Start Button image
  • Run
  • Shutdown


If you enable "On login go to the desktop" option, you'll be able to skip new Metro Start Screen on login and Windows 8 will boot directly into Desktop.

If you disable "Use the classic style Start Menu" option, you'll get Windows 8 Start Screen in mini mode when you click on Start ORB.

"Disable Windows 8 desktop hotspots" option allows you to disable Windows 8 hot corners such as Start button thumbnail, App Switcher and Charms Bar.

If you enable "Show Full screen Metro Start Menu" option, the Start ORB will launch default Start Screen in full screen mode instead of showing it in mini mode.

If you disable "In small mode defaults to apps page" option, the Start ORB will launch Start Screen in mini mode but will not show apps page. Instead it'll show normal Start Screen with live tiles.

"Allow WinKey to show fullscreen menu" option will allow you to access default Metro Start Screen by pressing WIN key.

You can customize size of Start Menu with the help of "Non fullscreen size" menu.

Using 3rd option "Pick a different Start Button image", you can change Start ORB image. The software comes with many built-in ORB images.

Having "Run" and "Shutdown" options in context menu is a bonus.

You can download it using following link:

Download Start8

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Posted in: Software, Windows 8 / 8.1

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  • Great, thanks!

  • At last!
    Thanx alot,is a reputable company aswell,I have loads of their stuff.

  • It is awesome. Works perfectly well with both the Mouse and Start Key. On top of that you can choose the preferred Start Logo.
    Would have been better if Desktop loads directly on starting Windows. Hope Microsoft takes a lesson.

  • Eh, but i miss the old start menu search bar. This still searches for apps by default. Plus metro start has no recent programs and jump lists for pinned tiles :(

  • The Windows7 Startmenu-Replicator ViStart from XP-Times has been updated to work with Windows 8:

    That the best way I think.

  • I've first heard about this from a friend, it is really great. :) Just installed Windows 8 CP 64-bit on my main PC! :D

  • not enough good for me :)

  • @M1cha

    It is still "experimental". However, it is a good update!

    Microsoft Comments On Windows 8′s Start Button Issue

    Microsoft seems to be aware of the confusion the move caused, and addressed the issue in a new blog post on the Windows Experience Blog.

    Where did the Start button go?
    It’s still there, it’s just on the right, and it looks a little different now.

    Look at this picture:

  • Have I mentioned already that Windows 8 is looking more and more like a huge (insert word here that rhymes with "buster-truck") with each passing day? And that I didn't purchase a 22" widescreen LCD monitor in order to turn it into a giant tablet? Or want a version of Windows with a UI that returns us to the glory days of Windows 1.0? Someone call the EPA and send them to Redmond, because they're something in the water over there that's causing them to lose their minds.

  • If I use this on Windows 7, will i have 2 buttons?

  • VG

    ^^ No. It only works in Windows 8.

  • Great job vir g

  • Looks good. If you want it exactly like Win7, ViStart is a good alternative. It was originally designed to bring the Vista start menu to XP, but the developer has now made it compatible with Windows 8.

  • VG

    ^^ Yep. Its mentioned here:

  • oh yeah didnt see the link on the page!!

  • Yeah I'm not much of a fan of Win 8's new look.But then again it's not targeted at us customizers, it's really for business folk who don't care too much about the looks, they just want to get work done.I won't be upgrading to Windows 8

  • VG, it's better to mention that this is not a freeware (anymore(?))

    30-day free trial period

  • VG

    ^^ True but the beta version is still available free for download.

  • @askVG

    Can you give me a download link for Start8 v0.90
    Many Thanks :D

  • VG

    ^^ The download link is regularly changed by Stardock to prevent hotlinking.

  • Hi Team,

    I need to have start button or menu for my new Dell laptop inspiron 15 R as its making my life difficult with these button.

    Please assits me on these or provide me the solution at the earliest for which I would be ever remain greatfull

    Awaiting your prompt response

    Deepraj Adhikari

  • VG

    ^^ Please check following:

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