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New Start8 beta for Windows 8 released

Editors note: Please read our disclaimer on Neowin's relationship to Stardock in our forums.

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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