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Start8 1.30

Start8 Editor's Review

Put the Start button and Windows 7 styled Start Menu back on your Windows 8 computer with this must have utility.

In the corporate world, we say that someone moved our cheese. Microsoft changed the way that Windows 8's Start Menu works, and it's really not sitting well with a number of people who don't have a touch enabled PC. If this is you, or if you really don't like the new interface, then Start8 is definitely for you. It’s a Windows 8 Start Menu utility, and its pretty awesome.

Start8, part of Stardock's Object Desktop, does two things – it puts a Start Button on the Windows task bar and creates a Windows 7 styled Start Menu on your Windows 8 powered PC. You still get access to the Windows 8 Menu with all of its Live Tiles, but at least while in Desktop Mode, where many will spend their time, you'll have a familiar interface to work with.

The nice thing about Start8 is that it's completely configurable. You get most, if not all of the same Start Menu options you're used to, and the utility works with both legacy and Modern UI (Metro-styled) applications. In other words, you can search for and pin Windows 8-styled apps to Start8's Start Menu and use them like any other application.

Pros: Puts the Start Menu back in Windows 8, very reasonably priced, Makes Windows 8 easier to use.

Cons: Very few Windows 8 compatible Object Desktop components exist.

Conclusion: Stardock has been creating some really awesome Windows software for the past 15 years or so. Start8 is part of its Object Desktop suite of Windows enhancements and is specifically for Windows 8. The only bad thing about Object Desktop, is that much of its components don't work on Windows 8 as of this writing. Those that do, seem really awesome and are highly recommended.

Start8 does a great job of reproducing the Windows 7 desktop UI without adding any real overhead. I'm running it on a Dell Latitude 10 ST2 Windows 8 Pro tablet, and it doesn't tax or burden the device in any way. This is a must have application for your Windows 8 PC.

What's New in Version 1.30 of Start8

- Updated for Windows 8.1 RTM compatibility
- Added self-contained menu skinning for Windows 8/8.1(though WindowBlinds skins will still work globally). See the "Which theme do you want to use" dropdown for an example. A library section for new ones is available at http://www.wincustomize.com/explor
- The included Start8ThemeEdit.exe (in the application folder) can be used to create new Start8 menu skins
- New default Start button image. The Windows logo is no longer available as a default selection
- New features under Control for "Start button shows Windows 8 menu unless docked" and "Start button shows Start8 menu unless in tablet mode" for slate and convertible machines respectively. Users with those machines must manually select one of those opti
- Windows 8-style start menu options are available on Windows 8.1 RTM. There are additional options for keeping the taskbar visible and defaulting to the Application view
 

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