How To: Get your woobie…..sorry, the Start Menu on the Windows 8 Desktop
If you are a pre-Windows 8 user who can’t imagine Windows “without” the Start Menu, or you have recently upgraded to Windows 8 and seem lost, I have good news. You can have your beloved Start Menu, and enjoy Windows 8 too!
Truthfully, the new Windows 8 Start screen, along with the Desktop Taskbar, are the right places to find shortcuts to your programs. But as you transition your way of thinking, this may help you to get over the learning curve. For me, I find it to be a convenient way to access seldom used programs and Windows Utilities. Programs I use every day get pinned to the Taskbar. Programs I want ready access to get pinned to the Start Screen, along with all the Windows Store Apps. But things like audio/video converter tools, readme files, admin tools, Office tools, etc. can all be accessed from the revived Start Menu. Helps to unclutter your Desktop, Taskbar and Start screen. Note that the Start Menu will “not” display any Apps downloaded from the Windows Store. Only installed Programs and Windows Applets will appear on this menu.
This is how you do it:
Right click the Taskbar (the area at the bottom of your Desktop). Click Toolbars, and then New Toolbar
When the New Toolbar dialog appears, navigate to the following folder;
Computer > Local Disc C (or whatever your C drive is labeled) > Program Data > Microsoft > Windows > Start Menu. Click on Start Menu to make it appear in the Folder: textbox
Click Select Folder and that’s it! The Start menu reimagined.
While your at it, you may also want to turn on the Desktop Toolbar, which gives you quick access to all your desktop shortcuts, Control Panel, Libraries, drives, etc. BTW, you can create as many “custom” Toolbars as you like. Simply create a folder under your “C” drive, copy some shortcuts (.lnk files) into the folder, and pin your new folder to the Taskbar using the steps above. I created a folder labeled Shortcuts a couple months back for easy access to my Microsoft Access applications and a folder I call QuickClick, which includes a bunch of batch files to update each application. Now that I have pinned Start Menu to the Taskbar though, I plan to incorporate these custom links to free up space on the Taskbar and eliminate redundancy.
For those that care to know, this also working on Windows RT machines. But as the list of programs is limited to Office and Windows Applets, the Start Menu does not offer all that much functionality.
So there you have it. Now there is absolutely no excuse to not upgrade or replace that aging PC with a new Windows 8 machine. Go for it.
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Curious Anthoney. As you loath the mobile/metro style, is it the concept of Apps, or mini-programs installed on a PC that turns you off? If not, how would you suggest they be presented in a more conventional desktop environment. As simple icons? Widgets? Just trying to understand what exactly turns you off regarding the Start screen, especially being a touch enabled device.
Regarding speed, I am a bit surprised. One thing to note is that Microsoft has been pushing out an unusually large quantity of updates, large updates. This might appear as a slow running machine, but it’s actually updates downloading and installing in the background. I don’t notice it on my I7 Desktop, but I do on my I3 Touch Notebook. And my office Pentium 4 (upgraded to Win8) slows to a crawl when updates are being downloaded/installed. Life would be good if all computers were running multi-core CPUs today. Actually putting together a little rant on the subject.
Yes I don’t know what it is but it seems to hang up. Granted its a low end i3 with only 4 gigs of ram and I am used to an i5 16 gig ssd gaming rig but still seems noticeably slower than my 3 year old work laptop while navigating folders. Boot up is speedy. Maybe an ssd will fix it. Also I dislike being forced into a single “app” at one time. I always have multiple windows open running a number of things. There is no way I could use windows 8 as it is intended for work. Everyday I have word, excel, PDFs and my programming application all open at once and viewing several things at the same time.
Isn’t it possible that the Metro interface the way it is is, once you force yourself to get used to it, the better way to compute that we all should adopt? By telling people about this and things like Classic Shell couldn’t you be stifling progress with individual users and progress in general, hedging it with a tip on how to water down your whiskey (in a method that includes emptying the whiskey from the glass altogether)?
Classic Shell is free by the way and, not unlike Shell8 and many many others (there’s practically an industry of software to revert Windows 8 to 7), quite popular.
Dunno. Maybe. IMO, nothing at all wrong with the metro interface. In fact, I really like it. Especially with a touch screen or mouse (trackpad, not so much). But in 2012, only a small part of my day is spent on the Start screen, doing lots of the same things I do on my phone. The majority of my day I spend on the desktop; working (not playing) in OneNote, Access, Photoshop, Vegas Movie Studio, Quicken, etc.
Maybe it’s an old habit, but I find it more intuitive, and easier, to click a few times on a menu sitting right in front of me on the desktop rather than; tapping the Windows key to open the Start Screen, scrolling across to a group of program icons, clicking said icon, and then winding up back where I started on the desktop. More specifically, I do a lot of work with Access development. Clicking the Access icon I have pinned to the desktop toolbar, or clicking the Access icon on the Start Screen, “replaces” whatever MDB I currently have open. But clicking on Access from the Start menu, opens a “new” Access window. I typically have 4 or more Access windows open at the same time. I know Windows-Shift-number will get you a new instance of an app on the desktop, but don’t think I can do that from the Start Screen.
This solution does not require any software, or the potential for downloading something you don’t want, like the Ask Toolbar. And I certainly wouldn’t want to download anything that made access to the Start Screen more difficult. The Start menu is no different than adding a shortcut to your desktop, except this one is loaded up with more shortcuts. No maintenance required.
Maybe by the end of 2013, or 2014, the Windows desktop will become less important. But I don’t think anyone, including big Steve, can say that today. But those who try to hide the Start Screen, have no idea what they are missing.
Thanks! I got my wife a new laptop and it has windows 8 and a touch screen. I can’t say that I am too enthusiastic about windows 8. Yes it has some nice features but I loath the mobile style os. It also seems to run slow. I don’t see companies embracing this os either.