The best method for reinstalling the Start menu and orb on Windows 8 CP

Note: this tutorial is an extended version of the tutorial published yesterday.

We’ve covered a lot of ways to restore the Start button and Start menu in Windows 8; but this one, may be the best one yet. If you’re trying to figure out why, it is because in the Developer Preview of Windows 8, you could remove Metro by deleting the shsxs.dll file, but this is not possible in the Consumer Preview. Metro is now also cooked with the Explorer.exe itself. This method categorises what you’d like to see then simply adds a button for it.

However, if you’re all feeling lazy to click the link (which is highly recommended), then we’d suggest doing these steps before implementing the Start orb:

Creating a Start menu toolbar

· From the desktop, right-click the taskbar, point to Toolbars and select “New toolbar.”

· Type or copy and paste the following path into the Choose a folder window:

  %ProgramData%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs


· Click the “Select Folder” button and you’ll get a Programs menu on your taskbar.

· Right-click the taskbar and uncheck “Lock the taskbar” if you want to move the new Programs menu around.

· Drag and drop the grip at the left side of the toolbar to place it where the traditional Start orb and menu would be – at the left side of the Start bar.

· Right-click the “Programs” text if you want to change or hide its name. After you’re finished, right-click the taskbar again and select “Lock the taskbar.”

· There’s one catch with this method — it won’t actually show all your programs. The Start menu will not show all your programs because it actually grabs shortcuts from two different places. In addition to the system-wide ProgramData location, there’s a per-user Programs folder at the following location.

  %AppData%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs

· As you can see from the screenshots, the Windows Defender shortcut — and a few other shortcuts do not appear in our toolbar menu.

· Create a second toolbar to list programs from this folder, or perhaps move shortcuts from the %AppData% location to the %ProgramData% location. Another option is creating a custom folder full of program shortcuts and using a toolbar that points at that folder instead.

The reincarnation of the Start orb

The next part of this tutorial is very easy so if you have already followed John’s tutorial from yesterday then you can simply follow this part. I’d suggest re-reading the steps in this article to ensure that you haven’t missed any steps.

ViStart is simply a third-party Start button replacement. It was originally designed to add a Windows 7-style Start button to Windows XP and cannow apply the Windows 7 Start button on Windows 8’s Consumer Preview.

ViStart wants to install other software when you install it – click the Decline button.

· Click the orb to see a familiar menu which is the best menu replica we've seen so far. However, we've not found a way to pin apps to the start menu but recently used apps will still show.

· Right-click the ViStart system tray icon and select Options if you want to configure it.

· You’ll find options for changing the default Web browser, email client and other program settings.

Why use this method?

ViStart takes over your Windows key. Pressing the Windows key opens the ViStart Start menu, not the Metro-style Start screen.

You can also still open the Start screen by moving your cursor to the very bottom-left corner of the screen, or from the Charms menu that appears when you hover your cursor over either the upper or lower-right corners of your screen.

Image credits: HowToGeek

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