UPDATE: New version ViStart 8.1 build 5061 released which comes with lots of new features and enhancements such as ability to disable Charms Bar and hot corners in Windows 8, brand new options panel, etc. Check the changelog given below for details.
We know that Windows Vista and Windows 7 come with a new Start menu which is easy to use and full of new features such as instant search, etc. Unfortunately Microsoft has removed this Start Menu from Windows 8.
If you have upgraded to Windows 8 and want to get Start Menu back, this topic will help you.
And if you are still using Windows XP and don't want to upgrade to Windows Vista or Windows 7 but want to have the same Start Menu functionality in XP, then this topic will also help you.
Today in this topic, we are going to share a free software "ViStart" which can bring back Windows Vista or Windows 7 style Start Menu to Windows XP and Windows 8.
ViStart is an excellent piece of software created by our friend "Lee Matthew Chantrey" which can be considered as Windows Vista and Windows 7 Start menu clone for Windows XP and Windows 8. It integrates itself into Windows Explorer perfectly. It replaces the default Windows Start Menu and brings the new Windows Vista and 7 style Start Menu to XP and Windows 8.
It indexes all program files and personal files, so you can get the same instant search results as of Windows Vista and Windows 7, even better than Vista.
ViStart also comes with skin support, so you can create your own ViStart skins and can change its look.
- Provides original features of Windows 7 Start Menu in Windows XP and Windows 8
- Boots directly to Windows 8 Desktop, bypasses Metro Start Screen
- Disables Charms Bar and Hot Corners in Windows 8
- Advanced search (includes Metro apps and displays them in a separate category)
- Search and start Metro apps directly from Start Menu
- Pin Metro apps to Start Menu
- Switch button in Start Menu to switch to Start Screen
- Ability to customize Start button
- Skin support
- Added more right-click menus
- Improved support for skipping the metro start up screen
- Added support for disabling annoying Windows 8 desktop features such as charms bar and start corners (essentially making your Windows 8 desktop look like Windows 7)
- Drastically improved loading time
- Improved pinning support
- Added more shortcuts to the surface (menu)
- You can now switch between skins without having to reload ViStart
- Themes can now be installed more easily
- Text is rendered better and more clearly (resembles Windows 7 start menu)
- Added the ViStart control panel, giving the user more control over ViStart and it's features
- You can now choose how certain features of ViStart behave (start button opens ViStart but Windows key can open surface menu or vice versa)
- Many more bug fixes including ViStart doesn't start with Windows 8 correctly
- Added ability to pop out other selected folders on the navigation menu in their own sub menu
- Improved surface app integration, now all surface apps show in search results
- Added XeBlack 2.0 and Windows 8 Start Menu style start menu skins
- Added the ability to change skins and start buttons directly from the start menu
- Continued support for Windows XP
- More text can be customized with the language files
You can download it using following link:
NOTE: When you run ViStart setup, it tries to install two 3rd party programs "Sweet Packs" and "RegClean Pro" bundled with it. You can skip the installation of these extra programs by clicking on the "Decline" button when the setup wizard asks you to install the bundled programs.