Pokki has had 500,000 downloads of its Windows 8 Start menu program

In October, software developer SweetLabs launched its own version of a Start menu replacement for Windows 8 with the Pokki application. So how has that worked out so far? SweetLabs has now claimed it has seen 500,000 downloads of its free Pokki program since its launch.

In fact, the official Pokki blog has posted up a new infographic, shown below, that has some other statistics. The biggest one is that Pokki Windows 8 owners use the Start menu replacement an average of 10 times a day. SweetLabs claims that these same users load web pages just seven times a day and check Facebook only four times a day. The infographic also says that 85 percent of the people who use Pokki set it up so they can avoid the Windows 8 Start screen.

SweetLabs says:

Now, why is this little Start menu even such a big deal? For Microsoft, the absence of the Start menu is about encouraging users into the “new world” of touch embodied by the new (formerly known as Metro) interface and Start Screen.  For the rest of us, the absence of the Start menu is about finding new ways to ease the successful adoption of Windows 8 on the billions of PCs, with keyboard and mouse.


Source: Pokki blog | Image via SweetLabs

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Is this some kind of opt-in for general usage statistics? Or do they just track it from the second you install?

Nevermind, it's in their license:

DATA USAGE. In order to innovate and improve the Software, SweetLabs may collect certain data from the Software. You acknowledge that the Software contains automated reporting routines that will automatically identify and analyze certain aspects of use and performance of the Software, including aggregate user and behavioral data, and provide reports to SweetLabs. The data collected is examined in the aggregate and maintained and used in accordance with the Pokki privacy policy available online at http://www.pokki.com/r/?privacy-policy.

This kinds of software are really bad for innovation, I hope Microsoft will do something about it.

Anyway, Pokki forgot 1 more thing: 500 000 users of the 40 million, and 40 million is a number from a month ago, we are proubly already over the 60 (if not 70) million people, running Windows 8. And since it is just 30 euro, I think we will see a big flood begin January, because Xmas and New Year, people will get Windows 8 as present (Windows 7 not, that was over 120 euro).

I cannot disagree more. Modding the Windows UI has been something people have done since Windows has been around. In XP, it was very popular to create skins, custom logon screen, custom boot screens, etc. to do away with the much maligned Luna theme (a.k.a. Fisher Price).

This kept the minority quiet, who hated the Luna theme, while the majority went on using it. XP became the most used Windows OS until well into 2011.

Aside from the controversy over the start menu, Windows 8 is better than Windows 7 in pretty much every respect. Perhaps there's an argument to be had over whether it's worth the upgrade, but if you're already running Windows 8 on a new system there's no reason at all to downgrade (again, not considering the start screen/metro). Therefore, if your only reason for downgrading is metro, why not just install a start screen replacement and keep on using Windows 8? It will look and behave exactly like Windows 7, and hell, you can even use Metro apps if one meets your fancy down the line.

Fact is there is a contingent who say Microsoft is absolutely wrong that they did away with the start menu. But were Microsoft to bring it back, there would STILL be controversy as to which one... the Windows 2000 start menu? Windows XP start menu? Windows 7 start menu? Go back to October 2009, and there are people calling for a return of the "Classic" start menu.

Choice is good, and I don't see why people are calling on Microsoft to be the ones brining us this choice between their option A and their option B. By not including a start menu option, we have third party option A, B, C, D, E, F, G etc. and we're better off for it.

Studio384 said,
This kinds of software are really bad for innovation, I hope Microsoft will do something about it.

Anyway, Pokki forgot 1 more thing: 500 000 users of the 40 million, and 40 million is a number from a month ago, we are proubly already over the 60 (if not 70) million people, running Windows 8. And since it is just 30 euro, I think we will see a big flood begin January, because Xmas and New Year, people will get Windows 8 as present (Windows 7 not, that was over 120 euro).

I have to 'sort of' agree with the other person responding.

Windows has and always will be highly customizeable, which is one of its strongest features.

Even though I don't think it is healthy for people to bury themselves in ignorance, there is nothing that should prevent them.

The Shell and every aspect that see as 'Windows' can be changed, adjusted, replaced, etc. This has been true since at least Windows 3.0 and is just as true today with Windows 8.

I thought the people that were replacing Explorer as the shell in Win95 with the Program Manager were a bit crazy, but they had the option and it worked just fine.

I however do not like that companies like this are making a profit off of people's ignorance in two ways.

The first being that a few hours of Windows 8 Start Menu and most people will actually enjoy some of the features.

The second, any user can mimic the Start Menu out of the box, and can even replace the OS shell themselves with a registry setting, there is NO NEED for 3rd party software like this. SERIOUSLY.

This is great! People are exercising their right and ability to customize their desktop to their liking. I've been saying this all along: if you don't like the start screen or metro, then don't use it. Download any of the dozens of start menu replacements and move on with your life. People insist that the right option was for Microsoft to add a first party switch, but what's the reason when there are so many easy to use third party options you can choose from?

If Microsoft added their own switch, do you think there would be so many alternatives? You'd be stuck with the old start menu instead of some of the innovative start menu replacements that are being developed, like Pokki here, which is radically different from the start menu, and in my opinion much more visually appealing and useful. I'm not sure if they're serving their own interests by trying to show that Microsoft was wrong for abandoning the start menu.

As for their statistics, I think it's shows the opposite conclusion from what they're hoping.

Their usage statistics show that most people don't access the all-programs. This backs up Microsoft's statistics, and blasts away a major criticism of the start screen: that the all programs list was more useful in Windows 7. Fact is, that it's a little used feature in Windows 7, for the obvious reason that it only contains little-used program. Any often-used program is pinned.

They show that most people use the Start menu for pinned shortcuts. The start menu only allows 10 pinned shortcuts, and does not scale with screen resolution. People who rely on the start menu for pinned shortcuts might enjoy the start screen more, as it has more room for more pins, and allows for the pinning of folders (unlike the start menu).

Finally they show just as many people access the start menu for power options. Pokki makes the mistake of replicating the boneheaded start menu design of a large easy to click "Shut down" button (a feature used about once a day on desktops and never on laptops), and hiding the more common options like lock screen and log off right next to it. In Windows 8 it takes just as many clicks to Log Off, Lock Screen, Restart, and Sleep as Windows 7. Shutting down takes one more click, but for something you do once a day this is not a big deal at all, especially considering the benefit of making "Lock Screen" and "Shut down" as far away from each other as possible.

great program. I laugh out loud when people try to say "No one wants the start menu anymore."

How about folks without touchscreens. Some people are ignorant. just because a small niche of folks want the touchscreen, doesn't mean everyone has that capability.

oh well. how does using a win8 star button hamper innovation? HAHAHAHAHA! drink the kool-aid people, drink the KOOL-AID!

win8 without a start bar was perfectly usable for me bar one thing.

I had no need to lose my entire screen when I wanted to run a new app. i type well enough, the search functionality of it is great when you hit the windows key. But if I'm in the middle of watching an always on top video while I work, or some program output then I don't need my view obscured let alone the entire screen.

Why would anyone use Pokki if they wanted the start menu back? I unisntalled it after about 2 minutes of use.

StartisBack is much better - just the same no-thrills start menu that you know and love.

I checked this out myself a couple of weeks back knowing I was about to format the (freshly installed) drive again -

Pokki_Start_MenuSetup.exe - 804k
which downloads -

pokkiinstaller.exe which gave this virustotal report -
VBA32 Malware-Cryptor.Limpopo

pokkiinstaller.exe downloads another 31mb file : PokkiUpdater.exe

When the installers have all finished and the app itself is finally running it has two processes
pokki - 32bit using about 16mb ram
pokki - 32bit using about 24mb ram

It's basically chromium/webkit app https://developers.pokki.com/docs/overview.php it's got it's 'own' app store to offer you chromium apps (seems to be basically anything available through Google Chrome)

it's final true install location is into %localappdata%\Pokki
which is about 84mb after first run.

It has two uninstall applications in win8's Programs and Features control panel -
pokki download helper uninstall
pokki uninstall is clean (fully wipes %localappdata%\Pokki)

both seem to work pretty cleanly leaving nothing behind in the folders I'd found. (unlike some of the other win8 start menu apps I checked out)

The app itself is nice if you want something that overpowered/bloaty, personally my vote went to Start8 after testing that and wentutu, power8, iobit

Even a 10-yr old Yz dock is better than this crap. A fully customized Yz dock can do everything a start menu does and more. If you need a traditional start menu, a classicshell is the best one.

yeh tell that to the "but 500k/40 million is 1.25%" crowd in here

completely ignore the 10+ other programs

not to mention a lot of mum and dad user probably aren't aware that it can be changed or know how to change it.

I'll be dammed, so what one of their charts is showing is that more people searched for a start menu replacement AFTER Windows 8 came out then BEFORE it came out??? INCONCEIVABLE!

All the Windows 8 lovers on here will try to make there argument of "no start menu is needed". Fact is, most users do want it back. There are almost a dozen more popular programs that have not been accounted for. You want a laugh? I was in Best Buy after the Black Friday chaos, and I heard a Geek Squad agent recommend to a family that they download start 8 to go along with there shiny new desktop. Face it neowinians, people want the start menu!

This is the most crappy from all the start menu alternatives. It's also a kind of spyware - read eula.
Classic Shell menu - free and StartIsBack - minor fee are far the bests of the bests.

it looks really nice visually if compare to Start8 which I bought the day got W8 not sure if it's any better than Start8 or worse

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