New Start8 beta compatible with Windows 8.1 preview released

While Microsoft may have finally added a Start button to the preview version of Windows 8.1, many desktop users would still prefer access to a full Start menu. That's why third-party programs such as Start8 from developer Stardock will likely continue to be popular with Windows 8.1 users.

Today, Stardock sent word that a new beta version of Start8 is available for download. Registered Stardock users can access the new version from their account, or the beta can also be directly downloaded from the company. The 1.17 beta offers full compatibility with the Windows 8.1 public preview.

In addition to providing a full Start menu, Start8 also lets users customize the new Start button. When it is being used with the Windows 8.1 preview, Stardock says users should respect the OS configuration for "boot to desktop." However, the options for showing the Windows 8.1 Start screen in other than full-screen mode are disabled in this beta version of Start8.

If users also have Stardock's WindowBlinds program installed with the Start8 program, they can also override the Start button in use with the WindowsBlinds setting for "always use the OS" button.

Disclaimer: Neowin's relationship to Stardock.

Image via Stardock

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lmaobox said,
Zero improvements? I don't see how can I check emails, weather or rss feed with old start menu.

I don't need to, rather than switching to 'start screen' to get my updates, I use chrome to browse, and use its extensions (you can have extensions in IE too) 'on the go'. So what other improvements?

lmaobox said,
I don't see how can I check emails, weather or rss feed with old start menu.

If you haven't learnt how to start programs with the start menu by now, that's a little worrying.

Its great to see so many people think the same way. I think that the 'start screen' is not work efficient, and hence should not come with a desktop computer, while it works great with a tablet... I was slaughtered for my views in another thread.

I am definitely going to try start8 on a Window 8 VM, if that works out, time to upgrade to Windows 8

My best wishes for success to Stardock with their Start8 application.

If it takes several third-party developers to slap some sense into Microsoft by becoming very successful, so be it. Making mega-dollars may get Microsoft's attention. If Microsoft chooses to deliberately alienate a huge portion of their customer base, that is their decision to make.

This is what the "Start" menu SHOULD have been like. Putting a button down there that takes you back to the metro start screen is useless and just there to appease the whiners. (I can name you (at least) 3 other ways to get back to the metro start screen, so what was REALLY the point of adding the start button back if it didn't have its old functionality?

maybe they should create a DOS utility to return to the character interface since it seems some older folks are willing to pay for a retro look from times long gone.

I have to hand it to that company, there is a market for old cars, and other antiques. They discovered a market for old tech folks holding on to nostalgia and vestiges of an era that ended long ago.

When i am working on stuff of browsing the internet then need to open a program not on the taskbar i just love the whole screen getting taken up by the start menu.... I know its for a few seconds but its a **** take, if i am using the desktop for work i want to stay on the desktop for work i dont want to have to go to modern/metro just to find ****.

MrAnalysis said,
if i am using the desktop for work i want to stay on the desktop for work i dont want to have to go to modern/metro just to find ****.

I hear you... I hate that too. But didn't Microsoft "fixed" that on Windows 8.1 by having the WIN+Q search to appear on the right-side of the screen without covering the entire desktop?

so in other words, you're one of those people that doesn't use search engines because they are not built in the windows shell. because you know, that means going somewhere else to find stuff...what a concept.

pmdci said,

I hear you... I hate that too. But didn't Microsoft "fixed" that on Windows 8.1 by having the WIN+Q search to appear on the right-side of the screen without covering the entire desktop?

That a solution, but also part of the problem. So much is hidden or new. Most of the general public will not find/use it. MS should do better in explaining there ideas an functions.

Borix said,

That a solution, but also part of the problem. So much is hidden or new. Most of the general public will not find/use it. MS should do better in explaining there ideas an functions.

I'm not sure that I agree with you on this one. Microsoft could adapt that little video/animation that appear after the Windows 8 install to explain. All shortcuts.

I confess. I do find it bit annoying to me that now WIN+Q is what I need to press to start typing a program I am looking for, rather than just WIN. However I reckon I can get used to the shortcut.

To be honest I think the issue here is that I would rather have Windows as open and flexible as possible with regards to preferences. For instance, why not allow power users to change the shortcuts?

For me, without a touch screen, start screen is almost useless. But there are lots of new stuff in Windows 8 I like.

neonspark said,
the benefits of windows 8 is the start screen. so no, you're just running windows 7.

If you think that the only difference between Windows 7 and 8 is the start screen, you desperately need to Google Windows 8 features.

Now that you can boot to desktop & have your desktop background on the start screen it doesn't feel a jarring as before. Looks cool and I quite like it. But you have to spend a lot of time customising it to make it as useful as the old start menu. So it's great that sofware like this will continue to let users choose.

New Start Button = lipstick on a big, fat, stinky pig. I don't want a link to the craptastic Start Screen... I want a functional, organized, COMPACT, folder-based, productive, NON-FULL SCREEN Start Menu.

Maybe he wants to work more efficiently in Windows 8.x, maybe he likes the way the start menu looks...

Does it matter? It doesn't affect you.

osuwildlifer said,
New Start Button = lipstick on a big, fat, stinky pig. I don't want a link to the craptastic Start Screen... I want a functional, organized, COMPACT, folder-based, productive, NON-FULL SCREEN Start Menu.

well I'm not sure what you're going but the start menu in windows 7 was the opposite of organized, functional and productive. In fact, it was just about as bad for doing just about anything that the way they fixed it was to add a search box.

when you add a search box, you essentially admit the start button was useless, a mess, and a convoluted blasphemy of bad organization, and the only way to find anything was to search for it.

so like, what you want doesn't exist.

crashguy said,
So essentially you want windows 7.

So the only change from Window 7 to Windows 8 is the start menu? Thank you for the update!

neonspark said,

well I'm not sure what you're going but the start menu in windows 7 was the opposite of organized, functional and productive. In fact, it was just about as bad for doing just about anything that the way they fixed it was to add a search box.

when you add a search box, you essentially admit the start button was useless, a mess, and a convoluted blasphemy of bad organization, and the only way to find anything was to search for it.

so like, what you want doesn't exist.


The 'start screen' has search too you know, so does that make it "useless, a mess, and a convoluted blasphemy of bad organization, and the only way to find anything was to search for it."

Great marketing comments guys. That's how you get others to agree with you, by verbally assaulting them.

So not everyone agrees with you. Grow up trolls.

I don't like the metro flat stuff as to me it already looks out of date. So I did stay with 7.
I realize that some like it here, and they're allowed of course.

Not everything fits with everyone.

margrave said,
Great marketing comments guys. That's how you get others to agree with you, by verbally assaulting them.

So not everyone agrees with you. Grow up trolls.

I don't like the metro flat stuff as to me it already looks out of date. So I did stay with 7.
I realize that some like it here, and they're allowed of course.

Not everything fits with everyone.

Agreed, but to the minority of users in here, those that love Windows 7 can't adapt, can't move on, can't learn the future, can't get laid, can't breath, can't really be from earth. Did I forget anything else?

The way some people behave is really pathetic, just because not everyone likes every new feature in an operating system they actually get mad and sink to personal insults. Talk about needing a life.

margrave said,
Great marketing comments guys. That's how you get others to agree with you, by verbally assaulting them.

So not everyone agrees with you. Grow up trolls.

I don't like the metro flat stuff as to me it already looks out of date. So I did stay with 7.
I realize that some like it here, and they're allowed of course.

Not everything fits with everyone.

so out of date, google and apple are busy flattening their UIs as we speak. so kind of makes complains out of date.

Pointless junk for cave men who can't adapt. The updates to the Start Screen make it so much more powerful, customisable, and useful and the **** old Start Menu.

Theres also now a Shut Down option by right clicking on the new Start Button.

NoClipMode said,
Pointless junk for cave men who can't adapt. The updates to the Start Screen make it so much more powerful, customisable, and useful and the **** old Start Menu.

Theres also now a Shut Down option by right clicking on the new Start Button.

So the majority can't adapt? Yup, makes perfect sense!

NoClipMode said,
Pointless junk for cave men who can't adapt. The updates to the Start Screen make it so much more powerful, customisable, and useful and the **** old Start Menu.

Theres also now a Shut Down option by right clicking on the new Start Button.

Metro == pointless junk for people that don't actually use their machines to get any real work done.

MS could have saved themselves from this **** storm by doing two things:

1 - Release server 2012 without the Metro crap
2 - Release Windows 8 Workstation without the Metro crap.

Hell charge an extra 100 .. or even 200 dollars for it -- I would have paid it.

I don't deny the improvements that MS has made to the core of NT 6.2 are great.

JHBrown said,
So the majority can't adapt? Yup, makes perfect sense!

What majority. . .please do you mean the 1.5 billion windows users or the few million that want the start button?

Pam14160 said,

What majority. . .please do you mean the 1.5 billion windows users or the few million that want the start button?

Well, 4.27% market share for Windows 8 would indicate that yea, the people that don't like Metro are in the majority. The fact that Windows 7 *gained* market share last month (something NO other version of Windows has ever done when there was a new version available) says volumes.

Pam14160 said,

What majority. . .please do you mean the 1.5 billion windows users or the few million that want the start button?

Have you got any evidence to back up those numbers?

No I didn't think so.

Pam14160 said,

What majority. . .please do you mean the 1.5 billion windows users or the few million that want the start button?
Hey Pammy, where are you getting these ludicrous numbers from?

JHBrown said,
So the majority can't adapt? Yup, makes perfect sense!

Well look at you, always trolling MS excellent work on Windows 8. Heck I bet you troll anything MS.

coderchi said,

Well look at you, always trolling MS excellent work on Windows 8. Heck I bet you troll anything MS.

Nope, I actually love the Xbox, the Surface, and Windows Phone 8. The Desktop/Laptop, hell freaking no. It's my opinion just like you have yours.

neonspark said,

minor vocal minority rarely happens to be a majority.


Unless you can show some evidence to the contrary, your comment is without merit.

crashguy said,
Windows 8 - New Start Menu - New Copy and Paste - File History - Direct X 11.1 - Storage Spaces - Fast Startup - New Task Manager - Other under the hood improvement = Windows 7

Fixed it for you.

Fair point regarding the new features. The copy and paste really doesn't feel that much of an improvement in actual use unless you like watching a pretty anymated chart tell you how fast it's going. Storage spaces is? Fast startup i agree here, there is a definately speed increase. The task manager, frankly i prefer the older one, just seems easier to find what u need. The other under the hood improvements.. well honestly, the majority of the improvements are start screen based.

crashguy said,
Fair point regarding the new features. The copy and paste really doesn't feel that much of an improvement in actual use unless you like watching a pretty anymated chart tell you how fast it's going. Storage spaces is? Fast startup i agree here, there is a definately speed increase. The task manager, frankly i prefer the older one, just seems easier to find what u need. The other under the hood improvements.. well honestly, the majority of the improvements are start screen based.

The thing about the new copy paste is not about how fast it is. The good thing is that you can literally pause the transaction and that all of the transfers are located on one same manageable window.

Jose_49 said,

The thing about the new copy paste is not about how fast it is. The good thing is that you can literally pause the transaction and that all of the transfers are located on one same manageable window.

Also copy actions that require interaction come last. And not halfway or random as it was.

crashguy said,
Seriously. People. Go back to Windows 7.
This saying is getting as stale as the pizza that's been sitting in my brothers fridge for 3 weeks. Give it up man, "most" people love the start menu in Windows 7.

So if you like the start screen in Windows 8... use windows 7. If a car came out with a feature you didn't like, but the previous model did, which would you use?

Both work on the road, both are essentially the same with a small difference.

Realistically windows 7 continues to look like Windows 95 just prettier. Without pushing in UI and UX, things will never change. Even if people consider it the wrong direction, they are better of trying and failing then sitting on their past.

Some people don't like change, they can't stand it, but at the same time, they want new and different. The start menu, in my view, is a poor old out dated concept and it has been for a long time. The amount of menus to jump through the get to what you want, is counter productive anyway.

I would recommend getting a program called launchy. It essentially runs like mac's 'finder'. You press alt+space on the keyboard, type one or two letters and shows you the program or function you want to run, press enter and away it goes.

I use it with Windows 8, i've been using it since Windows Vista. It's way more production and fast, and for power users, you will see the benefit of not having to jump to the mouse every two seconds.

virtorio said,
Just because people want to use a Start Menu while working in the Desktop doesn't mean they don't want to run Modern Apps.

Your explanation demonstrates why people think they need an additional start menu.

Microsoft has been unable to punch through the web tech writer's noise that also is failing to grab on to the concept and instead just adds to the confusion.

When a user is working on the 'Desktop' side, hitting the bottom left corner or hitting the Windows key works no differently than they do in Windows 7. The part that is tripping people up is that the Start Menu is not a Full Screen experience, but the functionality is 99% the same for a 'Desktop' user.

Win 7 - Click Windows Key - start typing - search results appear
Win 8 - Click Windows Key - start typing - search results appear

Win7 - Click Start Button - Click on an Application
Win8 - Click Start 'corner - now button in 8.1' - Click on an Application

Win 7 - Click Start Button - Click All Programs - Dig for the Application you want
Win 8 - Click Start Corner/Button - Right Click - Click All Apps

The Win 8 Metro/Modern/New Start Screen is just a new take on the existing Windows 7 Start Menu. It is not just for Modern Apps, and it is NOT just for Touch users.

As a Keyboard Mouse User there are more keyboard shortcuts in the Windows 8 Start Screen than there are in Windows 2000 through Windows 7. When you just start typing something like a Path or CLI command, the prediction and results under the Search box are more featured than Windows 7, enabling a keyboard old school CLI user to bring their skills to the Windows 8 Start Screen.
(Try this, Go to the Windows 8 Start Screen and start typing something. For example: c:\us - notice that user folder is an arrow key and enter away, along with its contents, that can be arrowed through and navigated to instantly.)

Also try using the Windows Key to 'flip' from what you are doing to the Start Screen open something, or search for something and hit the Windows key again to flip back to what you were doing.

Anyone that does work or research, should find this an amazing and refreshing feature. Even in Windows 8, clicking on Apps like Wikipedia, Ebay, Bing, etc will return information based on what you were searching for and allow you to flip click and search many resources for information from your file system to the a news article to information from anywhere on the web and flip back to what you were working on.

Try some of the 'research' ideas from the paragraph above when you are working in Word as a 'Desktop' user. Notice that with just the keyboard and not even touching the mouse, you can flip from Word and look up information from anywhere on anything, navigation the information and flip back to Word. This type of functionality is currently the Apex for keyboard and mouse users and it happens because of the 'new' Start Screen that is just a revised and larger version of the 'Start Menu'.

The Start Screen IS DESIGNED for desktop users, as much or even more so than new users that will be happy staying in Modern Apps.

Just the command line approach to accessing locations and searching for information and coordinating this with the PC, Cloud, Web and installed Apps should be making people overly happy with Windows 8's Start Screen.

Instead the noise created by the press and the reluctance of some vocal IT people to realize how much of a 'power user' advancement it really is has turned a really awesome feature into a confusing thing that isolates traditional desktop users.

Your response is representative of the segregated thinking that a Desktop user is different and is incorrect in that the Start Screen is only for Modern App users and that Desktop users needs are not met by opening the Start Screen just as they did the Start Menu in Windows 7.

I

virtorio said,
Uhh, all of them.

Apologies, i still think of it as Metro not 'Modern'. Modern sounds to me like a new application.

Mobius Enigma said,
...

My response was to the OP saying that people who want a to use the Start Menu should use Windows 7. I don't believe in telling people how they should use their computer, if they're comfortable and more efficient using the Start Menu then installing a Start Menu replacement doesn't hurt anyone.

I made absolutely no mention of segregating desktop users (or actually anything else actually) from Start Screen users, do not put words in my mouth.

virtorio said,

My response was to the OP saying that people who want a to use the Start Menu should use Windows 7. I don't believe in telling people how they should use their computer, if they're comfortable and more efficient using the Start Menu then installing a Start Menu replacement doesn't hurt anyone.

I made absolutely no mention of segregating desktop users (or actually anything else actually) from Start Screen users, do not put words in my mouth.

True but you're telling Microsoft how they should develop and push their user interfaces and experiences.. interesting.

virtorio said,

My response was to the OP saying that people who want a to use the Start Menu should use Windows 7. I don't believe in telling people how they should use their computer, if they're comfortable and more efficient using the Start Menu then installing a Start Menu replacement doesn't hurt anyone.

I made absolutely no mention of segregating desktop users (or actually anything else actually) from Start Screen users, do not put words in my mouth.

I never put words in your mouth, so I apologize that is all you took from my post.

Your statement was indicative of 'thinking' of the desktop and the modern interfaces as being a segregated experience, specifically the Start Screen, which you were commenting on.

There are Windows 8 users, not Desktop users, nor should people that work more in various 'types' of Windows 8 Apps and Applications feel isolated.

If someone said '.NET Application' users should have their own Start Menu, then I think you would also find this notion an odd concept as it is segregating out a different framework and the people using the framework as needing their own interface when it is not necessary and promotes 'thinking' of the Apps and Applications as segregated experiences when they are not.

crashguy said,
What Modern Apps require Windows 8?
All of them, as they can only be installed on Windows 8 (or RT) via the store.

you hate it for two reason, you either develop for start8 or you don't give the new UI a chance. Once you start using it there's no reason to go back to the old ways.

coderchi said,
you hate it for two reason, you either develop for start8 or you don't give the new UI a chance. Once you start using it there's no reason to go back to the old ways.

Are you the authority on opinion here?? Speak your own mind, do no force your narrow minded views upon others... Thanks!

coderchi said,
you hate it for two reason, you either develop for start8 or you don't give the new UI a chance. Once you start using it there's no reason to go back to the old ways.
I have given it a chance - I've been using Windows 8 from launch, and I have tried to get used to it, but IT just does not work for me. If it works for you, great. Everyone uses their computers differently, who are you to tell me how I should use mine?

coderchi said,
you hate it for two reason, you either develop for start8 or you don't give the new UI a chance. Once you start using it there's no reason to go back to the old ways.

But the most simplest thing to question is; why couldn't Microsoft keep everything the same as it is now, PLUS add back a "start menu" like this one? Instead they just put a dummy smart button down there that gets you to the same place as performing various other keystrokes with your keyboard or clicks with your mouse.

I pretty much deleted every metro app on the metro screen to make it usable for me. Now just hitting the win key and either do a search or just click the apps that I use. Now just need to turn off the silly charms on the left and right side of the screens.