Start8 v1.1 RC available for download

Stardock Start8 lets you return the Start Button to Windows 8. Microsoft Windows 8 is shipped without the “Start” menu. Start8 brings back Windows 7-style Start menu with Windows 8 enhancements. Also you can view and launch installed applications (including Modern apps), All Programs menu. Start8 includes support for “jump lists”/recent documents for recently accessed programs (Devices, Documents, Music, Videos, Photos, Computer, and more). Pin favorite desktop and Metro apps shortcuts directly to the start menu for easy access. Start8 adds searchable Windows 8-style (Modern UI) Start menu options for Windows desktop applications, Modern applications, and documents. It allows automatically load directly to your Windows desktop on login (vs the start screen). In addition, you can also easily shutdown your PC without needing to access another menus.


  • Windows 7-style Start menu with Windows 8 enhancements
  • Pin desktop and Modern UI apps
  • Jump list support
  • Unified Search for Apps, Settings and Files
  • Boot directly to the Windows 8 desktop
  • Automatically matches the color of the taskbar
  • Skinnable Start button
  • Windows 8 Start screen accessible from the Start Menu
  • Optionally disable the Windows 8 desktop “hot spots”
  • Adds option for WinKey to show full screen metro desktop
  • Group Policy support


  • Configurable Start menu size
  • Windows 8 Start screen accessible from the Start menu
  • Clean, streamlined UI enhances Start8′s usability


  • Optionally disable the desktop Windows 8 “hot spots”
  • Supports WindowFX 5.1 start menu animations (currently in beta)
  • Choose a custom Start button skin and color

What's new in this version:

  • Added new start button images
  • Added option to disable multiple monitor corner stickiness feature of Windows 8 Added option to make right clicking the start button when at the bottom of the screen open the Win + X menu Modified custom places to support libraries Added support for automatically checking for updates every week (control from About page) Right clicking on empty areas of the Start menu shows the Configure
  • Start8 option.
  • Tweaked pin to start menu code
  • Added support for shell: link execution via search Modified jumplist code to handle case of pinning an item resulting in the unpinned items disappearing sometimes Modified jumplist code to handle the case of pinned items not showing after clearing recent docs lists Tweaked jumplists code to handle jumplists not showing for all apps when recently opened programs option is disabled in the OS.
  • Modified config UI to grey out the inactive start menu style.
  • Tweak to resolve a rare race condition crash on guest account login.
  • Modified code to make recently run apps list update directly after launches rather than after the next time the menu is closed.
  • Menu key on keyboard now opens menu for selected search results.
  • Additional workaround for slow recent apps list population due to Windows defender bug.
  • Added German and Chinese (Simplified) localization

Download: Start8 v1.09.3 (1.1 RC) | 4.6 MB (Free to try, $4.99 to buy)
Link: Start8 Home Page

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ViStart, ex7forW8, Start 8 and StartisBack is my primary menus I'll choose.
All other menus I've herd are just looks crappy, nothing original or calling various website's APIs.

I use start8 and love it its super fast no bloat or slowdown at all with constant updates and new features . worth every penny hands down.

I would not trust any other 3rd party free app running on my desktop no way

TurboShrimp said,
I use start8 and love it its super fast no bloat or slowdown at all with constant updates and new features . worth every penny hands down.


nice, modern and sleek look, but i never wanted an integrated itune-ish store in my start menu, so uninstalled it after a while.
Classic Shell is what i use now, has the same features of start8, and the ones i need and use and it's free!

ChrisJ1968 said,
Pokki is better it has always had the favorites feature

I like StartIsBack because of how minimal it is. Pokki is just too bloated for my tastes.

@tomasse. Maybe not free, but at $3 for 2 licenses, it's priced right.

for me, I like having the favorites area so i can find what I use most. great thing is, MS actually stimulated the creation of the start menu apps for win8.

so it was a blessing for both kinds of users. like geezers like me. I can't see myself working without the start menu

ChrisJ1968 said,
Pokki is better it has always had the favorites feature

Pokki is just a startmenu that calls various website's APIs. Nothing special about it
ViStart rocks, just because is free and looks original.

Another one is called ex7forW8. This will call the original Windows 7 explore.exe and the .mui files, not 3rd party!