New Start8 beta for Windows 8 released

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A few days after Microsoft launched the Consumer Preview build of Windows 8, developer Stardock launched the first beta of Start8, which aimed to give a version of the familiar Start menu to Windows 8 Metro owners. Today, Stardock has released a new and free beta of Start8 that adds quite a few new features.

While previous versions of the Start8 beta only put in a start button that opened up the "Modern" user interface for Windows 8, this new version has a number of new features, including:

  • Windows 7 style Start menu with Windows 8 enhancements
    • Users can search for Windows 8-style (Metro) apps with it
    • Users can pin Metro apps to it
    • Full support for Jump Lists
    • Unified Search
    • Automatically matches color to the color of the taskbar
  • Start button is now skinnable
  • Users can boot directly to the Windows 8 desktop
  • Optionally disable the desktop “hot spots”.
  • Fast access to shut down, devices, music, documents, videos
  • Supports WindowFX 5.1 startmenu animations (currently in beta)
  • The Windows 8 Start screen becomes accessible from the Start menu
  • Start menu size fully configurable
  • Adds option for WinKey to show fullscreen Metro desktop.

You can check out a video showing off how the new version of Start8 works below. It will work with both the preview and final versions of Windows 8.

Source: Stardock | Image via Stardock

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Earlier I wrote . . .
Start8 is good, but Classic Shell is better ... way better.
http://classicshell.sf.net/

. . . and got the following replies . . .

gate1975mlm said,

I do not agree with yoiu at all!
Start8 is better!

torrentthief said,

Urghh, classic start menu is horrible, so much aiming and waiting needed
to run an application. Start8 looks nice, i'll wait for reviews of it before
possibly trying win8 again.

CJEric said,

I like Start8 much better.


OK ... in what way exactly is Start8 (an unfinished beta) any better than Classic Shell, now at version 3.6.1 ?
Classic Shell is fully customisable, and offers a choice of three Start menus, the default is the Win9x/2k
style Start menu ... but you can also choose from the XP style and the Vista/7 style Start menus.

Classic Shell has had the option to skin the Start Orb/button for several months, and the option to skin
and customise the Start menu for even longer than that. Meanwhile, Start8 has now only just added
a Windows Vista/7 style Start menu, plus the option skin the Start Orb/button.

So, after being given these facts, do tell ... in what way exactly is Start8 any better than Classic Shell ... ?

You could try using it yourself so you could see why it's better. Classic Shell is nice (and free) but Start8 supports things like the Windows search, jump lists, Metro apps, automatic adaption to the Windows 8 color scheme, can set Windows to boot to the desktop, can be configured to hide the hot spots, etc. etc.

Frogboy said,
You could try using it yourself so you could see why it's better. Classic Shell is nice (and free) but Start8 supports things like the Windows search, jump lists, Metro apps, automatic adaption to the Windows 8 color scheme, can set Windows to boot to the desktop, can be configured to hide the hot spots, etc. etc. Instead of jump lists, it has unified Recent Documents list.

Classic Shell has search too, as well as automatic adaption to Windows color scheme, and was the first tool to boot to the desktop, can also be configured to hide the hotspots. Only difference is it takes advantage of full screen to show All Programs instead of the compact style that requires scrolling.

After using it for a few hours I do like it. Though I wish I could customize things myself. I would like to have the Start key open the Start Screen, and clicking the button opens the Menu.

It is such a sad commentary that third-party vendors have to come up with the functionality and look-and-feel that should have been available in Windows-8 via a simple installation question (and its associated Registry file element setting). Sample question: "Install Metro or Classic interface, default = Metro?"

TsarNikky said,
It is such a sad commentary that third-party vendors have to come up with the functionality and look-and-feel that should have been available in Windows-8 via a simple installation question (and its associated Registry file element setting). Sample question: "Install Metro or Classic interface, default = Metro?"

agreed.

and i guess the future is whatever were told next..
the customer is always right ?
not anymore

I got used to having no start button. Its different, but my productivity hasn't reduced. I see the apps more as for very routine "quick" tasks when I am in a hurry. I go to desktop to do work and everything works as I need it too.

I like how it took way less time to launch Start8 than any other program he launched from the Start8 menu. He literally, with his eyes closed, typed: [winkey] s t a r [enter] ...in .008 seconds to launch it.

Most. Important. Program. EVER.

This should be mandatory installed on all Windows 8 computers.

Silly Microsoft. Don't **** with something that isn't broke!

I actually like the previous beta which brought up the new Start UI but in a smaller screen.

The only thing I detest about the stock metro interface is that it takes up the whole screen, which might be great in the future or on a tablet but on my desktop it just feels clumsy. Or at least whilst I'm transitioning from Win7 to Win8 it feels clumsy. I would love to be able to run the metro interface in a 'window', but it seems like it's the other way around in Win8. The desktop rather, is a metro 'app' in the metro interface.

Perhaps in time I will grow to like the full metro interface, but this is a great compromise for now. I can already see the streamlined functionality that metro provides, and now this Start8 program makes that functionality even more usable and accessible in a familiar format.

Plus, accessing the stock metro interface is only a click away. Great software.

Nice!!! spread the word among haters... but, if they dont buy 8... how they will use this soft? I still not using RTM because i am not being able to buy yet.. Are most people here using Ilegal copies? Or... maybe here all people have Technet account... Im pretty jealous.
Now... this is a troll

That looks pretty awesome, defiantly the best of both worlds and it integrates so well in to the OS. Now all we need is a nice custom theme and Windows 8 is looking awesome

Needs at least one thing from Classic Shell, The options to change the keys to call the menu

In Classic Shell you can set it to when you click on the icon opens the menu, if you press Win Key opens win8 start menu or if you want it to configure to Middle Click or the way around

is the only thing missing on this, configuration but probably comes in the final

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