Editorial

Windows 8 users still want a Start menu and a Facebook app

It's been over 100 days since Microsoft launched Windows 8 to the general public, along with Windows RT and the RT version of the Surface tablet. On Saturday, Microsoft launches the Surface Pro tablet running Windows 8 Pro. After using Windows 8 for over three months, it seems clear that the people who buy the Surface Pro tablet want to have two things installed.

One is a Start menu replacement for the desktop. The other is a dedicated Facebook app for the "Modern" UI.

Since the launch of Windows 8, Stardock says it has seen over three million downloads of its Start8 program that brings back the Start menu to the desktop. Another developer, Sweet Labs, recently announced it had 1.5 million downloads of its Pokki program that also offers a Start menu for Windows 8. A few days ago, yet another company, Thinix, released a new version of its own Start menu program, RetroUI. The company has not revealed how many downloads it has generated from the program but did tell Neowin that they were "very pleased" with the results.

Those are just three of the many Start menu apps for Windows 8 that have been released. It seems clear that there are lots and lots of Windows 8 owners that want the Start menu returned to the desktop, even if Microsoft does not want to oblige them

As far as Windows 8 apps, users would clearly appreciate if Facebook would come through and launch an official app for the OS. Five of the top 10 free apps in the Windows Store social category are third party Facebook apps and one of them, Facebook Touch, is currently the eighth most popular free app in the store, period.

While there are certainly other apps that Windows 8 users might appreciate (for example, there seems to be a growing trend for touchscreen-based file explorer apps), the two types of apps we have mentioned above are by far the most requested.

For the Start menu replacement, the ball clearly seems to be in Microsoft's court on this one. Microsoft has indicated that they have no plans to update Windows 8 to reintroduce the Start menu, and we can certainly understand the company's stance that they want to move beyond a UI that was created over 15 years ago for Windows 95.

On the other hand, there are a lot of people that are either buying new PCs with Windows 8 pre-installed, or updating their old PCs to the new OS, that are taking the time to download the many third party apps that restore the Start menu. The perfect compromise to this situation would be for Microsoft to do what it did for Windows Media Center; make a Start menu replacement and release it as a paid third party add-on.

People might complain about having to get an add-on but they seem to be willing to give money to other companies for their Start menu replacements. We think this is a missed opportunity.

As far as an official Facebook app, this is something that Microsoft doesn't have much in the way of control. We assume that Microsoft asked Facebook to provide an official app for Windows 8 and we also assume that Facebook has rebuffed their advances. Microsoft did decide to make its own Facebook app for Windows Phone 8.

To the folks at Facebook, we would submit that it is in your own best interests to offer a dedicated Windows 8 app. There are a ton of third party apps that are using your company name and even your logos in the Windows Store. The lesson for Facebook? If you don't make your own Windows 8 app, there will be plenty of others that will do it for you and profit from these apps at your expense.

Will adding a Start menu and an official Facebook app end all of the critics of Windows 8? Nope, but it will please the customers that Microsoft and Facebook need to hold onto and they both need to think seriously of giving their Windows 8 customers what they are getting from others.

Images via Stardock and Facebook Touch | Like image via Shutterstock

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I have six computers that I use on a regular basis: 2 of them running Win8 (one I upgraded from Win7), 1 win 7, 1 xp, 1 macBookPro and 1 ipad. I have no desire for a start menu on my win8 machine, never missed it. Maybe just need to work/live in a diverse environment.

I just installed it a few days ago. I had the bata running during the testing phase. I have no need for the start menu and I don't miss it because I hardly used it when it was available on W7. I use Nexus dock for all my frequent apps.

The only tweaks I made was Win8 skin to look more Metro ,Added my own background using Stardock's Decor8 utility and change icons using icon packager, Not all Metro style icons but I like the look.

Desktop Screenshot:
https://pbs.twimg.com/media/BCedBrUCYAA-9Xu.png:large

Metro Screenshot:
https://pbs.twimg.com/media/BCedfocCIAA6lbJ.png:large


I would love if MS came up with a way for us to run more then two apps at a time while in Metro mode. Having just two apps running on a 24 inch monitor is a waste.

I found this app called Toolbox for windows 8. You can run up to six different little apps in one UI. Just give us the ability to do the same by dragging opened Metro apps into a holder of some sort.
http://apps.microsoft.com/wind...017c-47e4-923b-db71bd9110ba

I have just about had it with the constant whining to bring back the start menu. Microsoft needs to move forward, they can't stick with the start menu forever. If you don't like the start screen - fine, use Windows 7.

How is he trolling? Obviously this is a topic of debate. Clearly many, MANY have issues not having the Start Menu, and now apologists are attacking the sales of a Start Menu replacement for some unknown reason.

However, a better question would be, do you like Windows 8 better with a Start Menu replacement. I think we all know MS isn't bringing it back. And IMO, Start8, is better than the original start menu. It's configuration UI, the inclusion of Metro apps in the Start Menu, and the ability to go to the Win 8 Start Page with a delayed winkey press. It's worth $5 just to avoid the pitiful Metro Search IMO.

MorganX said,
However, a better question would be, do you like Windows 8 better with a Start Menu replacement. I think we all know MS isn't bringing it back. And IMO, Start8, is better than the original start menu. It's configuration UI, the inclusion of Metro apps in the Start Menu, and the ability to go to the Win 8 Start Page with a delayed winkey press. It's worth $5 just to avoid the pitiful Metro Search IMO.

Personally, I like my Windows 8 just fine with Classic Shell, which gives me a Start Menu, and allows me to stay away from the Metro/Modern/Microsoft UI. I'm much happier than trying to remember how to do X in the Start Screen constantly. I realize that there are going to be folks who will evangelize the Start Screen (which will sound a lot like those who evangelize the Mac OS X desktop), but for *MY* personal use, I'll use what I feel most productive in... and that'll remain the desktop with a start menu.

I am a Windows 8 user and I want either! So I don't appreciate the title of the news article. Perhaps saying "Some users..."

If you want the start menu back then you are afraid of windows 8 or have just never used it or something like that.. /s

I'm Personally happy with the Modern Start Menu, Functionally is about the same as Windows 7 64bit SP1 was, sure the start screen taking the full screen takes focus off the Desktop applications, but really isn't a big issue in my mind personally

Windows 8 is my daily use Operating System for Gaming, Documents, voice over ip, music listening, medic center enteratainment.

Put two versions of Windows on the disk/iso.
When installing there will be a.
1: Install Desktop version
2:Install Tablet/smart phone version
Also bring back an option to turn on Aero Tranparent on the desktop version

Or how about just doing what they should have first up, and giving users the CHOICE of what they want? It's not that hard, and would've appeased both sides.

its called the "Windows key" or start button; its been on keyboards since Windows 95.

Give it a try on Windows Vista and 7; it has the same effect on Windows 8.

Press the Windows key and start typing for what you are looking for. Much more efficient than dragging your mouse from anywhere to the bottom left corner; much more efficient.

I see ClassicShell has had 129,000 downloads in the last week alone.

I think the Start Menu and Aero Glass should be an optional feature.
I also think the new interface for basic content consumption and toy apps (aka Start Screen) should be an optional feature (perhaps enabled by default if touch hardware is detected).

Windows 8 for Dummies.
It's not a book.
It's a statement of fact based upon some of the replies in every pro/con win 8 discussion.
It's pretty simple. Join the MS Fanbois crowd & stab away at your touchscreen like a 4 year old playing with his pram mobile. Or stick with Win7 Sp1 & enjoy the best windows experience you're likely to get from Microsoft now or in the future.
That's the sad truth - Microsoft wants to go one way for future profit growth via the micropayment route. Hence the introduction of "apps" as opposed to proper software designed with maximum flexibility in mind. If a fool & his pocket money is that easily parted, then that's up-to them.
We all have the choice to stick with what we know & like, or jump onto another fashion band-wagon that is by all accounts failing in the marketplace despite heavy spin-doctoring.
Useless arguement which solves nothing online over an operating system is pretty stupid. Just use what works for you best right now.

foonacha said,
Windows 8 for Dummies.
It's not a book.
It's a statement of fact based upon some of the replies in every pro/con win 8 discussion.
It's pretty simple. Join the MS Fanbois crowd & stab away at your touchscreen like a 4 year old playing with his pram mobile. Or stick with Win7 Sp1 & enjoy the best windows experience you're likely to get from Microsoft now or in the future.
That's the sad truth - Microsoft wants to go one way for future profit growth via the micropayment route. Hence the introduction of "apps" as opposed to proper software designed with maximum flexibility in mind. If a fool & his pocket money is that easily parted, then that's up-to them.
We all have the choice to stick with what we know & like, or jump onto another fashion band-wagon that is by all accounts failing in the marketplace despite heavy spin-doctoring.
Useless arguement which solves nothing online over an operating system is pretty stupid. Just use what works for you best right now.

You do realise that you don't HAVE to use the start screen in Windows 8 right? Grab yourself a start menu replacement which allows you to boot directly to the desktop too and you're good to go.

Windows 8 isn't just Metro, there's a whole OS in there.

My only complaint with Win 8 is the search. It's annoying that when I hit Win key and type, say 'firewall' I then have to go over and click on Settings before I can see Windows Firewall. Why'd they have to change it from the way Windows 7 just aggregates all results. Other than that the Start screen is fine.

Unified search would be more useful in my opinion too. However you CAN use Winkey + W to open the start screen search directly in settings mode. It just requires remembering more hotkeys.

"Corporations are people, my friend."

Is it just my PC that is malfunctioning, or did everyone else read these same words?

Well I would prefer the Metro screen if it looked more adult;. ditto Outlook.
In all, I find the new image that Microsoft is projecting to be inane, sloppy, and patronising; rather like a maiden aunt trying to sound hip........

The whole thing is a mess. I still can't believe MS went live with this. There are some great under the hood changes that Windows 8 brought to the OS, but the whole "Metro" idea, especially on desktop computers, is just a giant unintuitive mess.

"The perfect compromise to this situation would be for Microsoft to do what it did for Windows Media Center; make a Start menu replacement and release it as a paid third party add-on."

You mean a free third party app!!. Paying for something that is as trivial as adding a Start menu is not only ignorant, but greedy!!.

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