ViStart: Best Free Start Menu Alternative for Windows

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 or later version 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, Windows 8 and later Windows versions.

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, Windows 8 and later. 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 Windows XP and later.

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.

Features List:

  • Provides original features of Windows 7 Start Menu in Windows XP and later
  • Boots directly to Windows 8 Desktop, bypasses Metro Start Screen
  • Disables Charms Bar and Hot Corners in Windows 8 and later
  • 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

You can download it using following link:

Download 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.

Also check:

[Skin] Get Windows 10 Look-Like Start Menu in Windows XP, Vista, 7, 8 and 8.1

Download Windows 8 "Aero Lite" Skin and Common Tasks for Windows XP

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Posted in: Software

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  • Windows will not allow me to even run it as admin or user

  • Okay I got it.

  • hey..
    i am using sevenvg rtm theme created by you..
    in one of your articales i ve seen transperant start button menu..
    now i have lost it..
    can u give me link for that???
    also can i use it with the theme 7vg rtm??

  • My favorite is still Classic Start Menu (Classic Shell)
    and their latest version 3.6.1 fully supports Windows 8

  • is it better than start8? this is slow and unresponsive on my virtual pc but is it just me?

  • VG

    ^^ You cant compare it using virtual machine. Try it in a real installation.

  • This a great program, Thanks Lee.
    The start icon disappears on the task bar until I click the desktop.
    Very minor problem.

  • I always get "RegFail : My Documents Shell Folder Not Found"
    How i can fix that VG?

  • Tested almost all Start Menu software, including ViStart.. Only 2 are ok, even if they still can improve - Classic Shell menu and Start8. Anything else are far behind.

  • Just Purchased & installed Windows 8. Good bye Windows 7. Thanks for this Start Menu Alternative.. I need it for now but maybe in the future I don't know if I still need it... :P

  • Nice idea but even the latest version is somewhat buggy. I'm still waiting for a reply from the developer regarding issues I have found.

    If you run ViStart, you don't need ViOrb at all and can uninstall it. The fewer programs you have running, the better.

    Just download a ViOrb EXE, RAR or ZIP file containing a start button design that you like and open it with 7-Zip. Look for a PNG file with "flag" in its name or a file named flag.png. Extract that PNG file to the Start Orbs subfolder in the ViStart Program folder.

    Now when you right-click on the ViStart button, select "Pick a new Start Button image..." from the menu. All the ViOrb buttons that you have extracted to ViStart's Start Orbs subfolder will be available for you to choose from. has many ViStart skins and ViOrb start buttons to choose from. I suggest fediaFedia's two packs named "Vistart simple textured pack" since each has a dozen ViStart skins to choose from.


  • Quick correction. fediaFedia's "Vistart simple textured packs" on don't work with ViStart 8.

  • VG, can you link me the download for ViStart Build 4001? Because it is recommended from your Windows XP > 8 (w/o using customization pack) and ViStart 8.1 doesn't work with the skins included from the transformation pack you provided. I can't find the ViStart Build 4001 from Lee-Soft website, idk why. I hope you can help me, Vishal.

    Gladly appreciated if you can help me with this.

  • VG

    ^^ You can look at Deviantart for new skins for ViStart new versions. If you really want old versions of ViStart, look at softpedia or other similar websites which host software on their servers.

  • What is this?

  • VG

    ^^ Might be a bug. You should report the developer.

  • Ist there also an uninstaller for this? Thanks for an information and help.

  • VG

    ^^ Yes. You can uninstall it using Programs and Features in Control Panel.

  • hey
    thats a great software
    i appreciate it very much!
    thanks a lot man!

  • hello sir, can you make program for making tray icon xp look like windows 7 or 8?

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