RetroUI Pro Start menu app adds Windows 8.1 support

Developer Thinix was one of the first companies to offer a commercial Start menu addition to Windows 8 with the release of RetroUI Pro in September 2012. Since then, Thinix has released several updates for the program but this week the company launched version 4.0 of RetroUI Pro which finally offers full compatibility with the recently launched Windows 8.1.

Aside from supporting Microsoft's newest OS update, RetroUI Pro 4.0 offers up a few changes and bug fixes, such as an update to its multi-user profile technology, some new Modern UI app icons and colors and more. Version 4.0 is not compatible with Windows 8. Users who have downloaded and installed previous versions of RetroUI will have to uninstall them before using RetroUI Pro 4.0.

The software comes in 32-bit and 64-bit versions and users are advised not to install the 32-bit port to a 64-bit Windows 8.1 PC as it will not work. Thinix is still offering a seven day free trial of RetroUI Pro 4.0; after that, it will cost $4.95 for a license to use it on one PC, or $9.95 to activate it on three PCs. There are also other pricing tiers for business and education use.

Source: Thinix | Image via Thinix

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On my Surface, the new Start rocks. On my laptop, it's kind of useful -- even the live tiles, I like.

On my 3 monitor desktop, the new Start is just a damn nuisance, for so many reasons, not the least of which is that modern apps on 30" screens look silly. It's not really a problem; I just don't go to it, and right click Start is super useful.

I don't want the old start menu back, but some tiny changes would make me so happy:

- When I Start key, give me the ability to type and Search without losing all the stuff on my screen. Like Win-S, but not an ugly flyout that looks dumb on multi-monitor.

- Put all the items on right click onto left click, make it a little prettier, and add "All Programs".

- Make an All Programs option where every program doesn't take a massive tile. For mouse users who can actually click on a small area.

One problem with All Programs is that if you install a lot of software, the list is very hard to manage.

Talys said,
On my Surface, the new Start rocks. On my laptop, it's kind of useful -- even the live tiles, I like.

On my 3 monitor desktop, the new Start is just a damn nuisance, for so many reasons, not the least of which is that modern apps on 30" screens look silly. It's not really a problem; I just don't go to it, and right click Start is super useful.

I don't want the old start menu back, but some tiny changes would make me so happy:

- When I Start key, give me the ability to type and Search without losing all the stuff on my screen. Like Win-S, but not an ugly flyout that looks dumb on multi-monitor.

- Put all the items on right click onto left click, make it a little prettier, and add "All Programs".

- Make an All Programs option where every program doesn't take a massive tile. For mouse users who can actually click on a small area.

One problem with All Programs is that if you install a lot of software, the list is very hard to manage.

That doesn't make sense. Why do people want such small hit areas on large monitors? They're only going to hinder you as monitor sizes increase along with the pixel density. That was a huge issue with the all programs aspect of the start menu.

As always people/users do not welcome the change (except it revolutionizes something). In this case they will start getting used to it. I think after a year and so most o f the users are ok with the new start screen. In the long term everyone will be used to it until the new breakthrough change pops up!

dimitris said,
As always people/users do not welcome the change (except it revolutionizes something). In this case they will start getting used to it. I think after a year and so most o f the users are ok with the new start screen. In the long term everyone will be used to it until the new breakthrough change pops up!

To accuse users of being luddites for not liking such change is like calling everybody that doesn't agree with US policy 'commies' or men who aren't attracted to other men as 'homophobes'.

Microsoft should have found a way to block every one of these stupid Start Menu addons before Windows 8 even went RTM period they should be stopped at the OS level to not even be allowed to be install like a virus just shut them down as soon as you double click on the file.

bryonhowley said,
Microsoft should have found a way to block every one of these stupid Start Menu addons before Windows 8 even went RTM period they should be stopped at the OS level to not even be allowed to be install like a virus just shut them down as soon as you double click on the file.

Haha, genius!

bryonhowley said,
Microsoft should have found a way to block every one of these stupid Start Menu addons before Windows 8 even went RTM period they should be stopped at the OS level to not even be allowed to be install like a virus just shut them down as soon as you double click on the file.

And all should raise the arm and yell something they did in Germany some years ago?
The Windows Start Screen is somewhat ok, but it's still faster to click on links placed on the taskbar than swapping back and forward.
And the apps.... did you try out the Music app yet?
I dare you to stream some music with it while swapping to a desktop game, volume goes down instantly.
ModernMix fixes the volume issue and that you can't run apps in windows, but my guess is that you even want that blocked?

bryonhowley said,
Microsoft should have found a way to block every one of these stupid Start Menu addons before Windows 8 even went RTM period they should be stopped at the OS level to not even be allowed to be install like a virus just shut them down as soon as you double click on the file.

I'm glad the people at Microsoft are not this myopic. For now.

Mineria said,

And all should raise the arm and yell something they did in Germany some years ago?
The Windows Start Screen is somewhat ok, but it's still faster to click on links placed on the taskbar than swapping back and forward.
And the apps.... did you try out the Music app yet?
I dare you to stream some music with it while swapping to a desktop game, volume goes down instantly.
ModernMix fixes the volume issue and that you can't run apps in windows, but my guess is that you even want that blocked?

No not at all just the completely stupid and not needed Start Menu. I did not say anything about blocking anything else in my post. If you had read it you would have found that out for your self. Plain and simple a Start menu in Windows 8/8.1 is not needed for any reason period the end.

I wonder if the want for a start menu has more to do with familiarity than actual reasons for performance or such. I mean if there was never a start menu and always a start screen, would we be having discussions like this?

Looking at the screenshot above, I pat myself on the back for sticking with Windows 7. The start menu is a thing of beauty.

But wouldn't you rather have a completely separate, unnecessary interface that is little more than a second desktop with icons that can be used while wearing welding gloves?

Lord Method Man said,
But wouldn't you rather have a completely separate, unnecessary interface that is little more than a second desktop with icons that can be used while wearing welding gloves?
Definitely in those circumstances. It would have been wonderful if we were given a choice. A win for everyone.

Lone Wanderer Chicken said,
Windows 7 is 4 years old, its far from antiquated!

I'm talking more about the Glass aspect. At this point Glass is quite antiquated. Also, the Start Orb never quite fit the design of the "Superbar", and was quite out of place.

Edited by Dot Matrix, Nov 4 2013, 5:48pm :

If you use any third party add-on that brings back the Start menu, why not use one that gives you a choice
of all three versions of the Start menu, is massively customisable, and is totally free to download and use?

Classic Shell FTW! http://classicshell.net/

This is really getting old... move on already. The Start Screen and categorized app list in Win 8.1 rocks. If you want your stupid menu, stay on Win7.

j2006 said,
This is really getting old... move on already. The Start Screen and categorized app list in Win 8.1 rocks. If you want your stupid menu, stay on Win7.

I have to agree at this point. It is better (having now gotten used to it) and crutches like this only hinder people becoming familiar with it. There is no benefit.

j2006 I understand your sentiment and have embraced the start screen but understand that the techies who are set to hate it will. I welcome these start menu programs for one reason, to get all the non techies resistant to change off that blasted Windows XP. Once they're on Windows 8.1 they will open up to the start screen as Windows version progress, for now this, classic shell, whatever, just get them off NT 5.1 and on 6.2/6.3.

j2006 said,
This is really getting old... move on already. The Start Screen and categorized app list in Win 8.1 rocks. If you want your stupid menu, stay on Win7.
I would have to disagree. If Microsft would have given users a choice in choosing the Classic start menu vs the start screen, Windows 8 would have had better reception. Choice is a good thing for all of us. Choice also equals dollars.

j2006 said,
This is really getting old... move on already. The Start Screen and categorized app list in Win 8.1 rocks. If you want your stupid menu, stay on Win7.

Comments like this are really getting old...move on and don't reply

Some people NEVER use Metro apps or have a need for live tiles. Jumping back and forth between the Start Screen and the desktop is a pain.

farmeunit said,

Comments like this are really getting old...move on and don't reply

Some people NEVER use Metro apps or have a need for live tiles. Jumping back and forth between the Start Screen and the desktop is a pain.

This is one of the main complaints I hear in regards to Windows 8. The constant switching between desktop and start screen. It's a major turn off for people migrating to Windows 8.

that is MS mistake to retain the desktop.

From the start Win8 and beyond should be able to run windows "desktop" apps WITHOUT desktop. each and every app run just like metro app, full screen, and each show & switchable from the left border just like metro apps.

JHBrown said,
This is one of the main complaints I hear in regards to Windows 8. The constant switching between desktop and start screen. It's a major turn off for people migrating to Windows 8.

Upgrade directly to 8.1 after installing 8 or just 8.1 from the start. You can set it to boot to Desktop and even make sure that no matter what you do, it'll kick you out of any modern app back to desktop. That way there's no need to complain about the modern UI.

It feels particularly ridiculous to jump to the Metro Start Screen just to launch... another desktop application. I can understand the point if a user runs a truly mixed environment, but I doubt many do.

sinis said,
that is MS mistake to retain the desktop.

From the start Win8 and beyond should be able to run windows "desktop" apps WITHOUT desktop. each and every app run just like metro app, full screen, and each show & switchable from the left border just like metro apps.


The Modern UI options and apps are woefully underpowered and lacking compared to the desktop UI and programs at this point. They will definitely know better to achieve feature parity before performing the nonsense you are advocating.

Sadelwo said,
j2006 I understand your sentiment and have embraced the start screen but understand that the techies who are set to hate it will.

It's not that we hate the Start Screen, but that we like the Start Menu MUCH better because it serves our needs and workflow MUCH better than the Start Screen can afford for now. We'll see if subsequent iterations of the Start Screen can match or improve on the holistic experience of the Start Menu, which includes minimal UI transitions, seamless drag and drop with Explorer, precise customisability of Start Menu links and cascaded folders, and a cascaded Control Panel.

M_Lyons10 said,

I have to agree at this point. It is better (having now gotten used to it) and crutches like this only hinder people becoming familiar with it. There is no benefit.

I'm up for users to choose whatever shell they feel like. To say that X or Y is better than Z is subjective.