RSS Feeds

Receive a regular RSS feed from our latest, most popular and recommended downloads

Latest downloads feed

Get a regular RSS from our most latest downloads

Most popular downloads feed

Get a regular RSS from our most popular downloads

Recommended downloads feed

Get a regular RSS from our recommended downloads


Subscribe to either one of our two newsletters for regular updates and information

Downloads newsletter

This is a weekly newsletter with download news, updates and other information

This is a monthly newsletter with software store information, offers and deals


Bring the Start menu back to your Windows 8 desktop

by Mike Williams

Our Rating:
Your Rating:
Login to rate
Based on 1 ratings
License: Freeware
Operating Systems: Windows 8
Languages: English, Chinese (Simplified), Chinese (Traditional), Czech, Dutch, French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese (Brazil), Portuguese (Portugal), Russian, Spanish, Slovak
Software Cost: Free
Date Updated: 31 July 2014
Watchlist: Add download to my watchlist
Downloads To Date: 3501
Developer: Areaguard
RSS News Feed:
Back in stock! Buy Malwarebytes Anti-Malware Premium v2 with a 1-PC LIFETIME license, only $24.95, from
Bring the Start menu back to your Windows 8 desktop

StartW8 is a free tool which can help make Windows 8 look and feel a little more like Windows 7: it allows you to boot to the desktop, restores the Start menu, and can effectively turn off the "hot corners".

Installation is easy. The Setup program started by offering a "Typical", "Custom" or "Complete" install, which made us wonder if it was also going to install a lengthy list of toolbars. But we shouldn't have worried, there's nothing here beyond a Paypal "Donate" button, and within a few seconds we were looking at the StartW8 settings screen.

The program is quite configurable. By default it will boot you to the desktop, and allow you to open the Start menu when pressing the Windows key (on the desktop), for instance, but you can change that if you like. There are options to turn off the "hot corners" individually, set the default Power button action or choose exactly which folders should be on the Start menu (Music, Videos, Computer, Control Panel etc) .

Perhaps best of all, StartW8 can be enabled for some users on your system, disabled for others, ensuring everyone gets the interface they prefer. (If Microsoft had thought to do something similar then this class of utility would have been entirely unnecessary, but that's another story.)

With Setup complete, StartW8 adds something like the Windows 8 logo to the left-hand side of the taskbar, and clicking that (or pressing Win) displayed a very good recreation of the Start menu. There are favourite programs on the left, system folders on the right, a "Shut down" menu with all the regular power options. An "All programs" menu expands to help you browse your installed programs, or you can use the Search box to locate them directly. And a "StartW8 Setting" entry recalls the program's Settings dialog for further tweaking, handy if you're not happy with something.

While all this works very well, integration with the rest of Windows 8 is a different story. If you want to switch to the Start screen, for instance, you apparently need to click Start > All Programs, but that only displayed a "Start screen" link on one of our test systems. And even clicking that didn't work (nothing happened at all).

Our test systems also had a link for the Windows 8 store, but instead of launching the Windows 8 app, they simply opened Internet Explorer on the desktop. This then displayed the regular Store app background, but stopped there.

If you never want to see the Start screen again, you may not care about this very much. Or you can always tell the program not to take over the Windows key, in which case tapping it will launch the Start screen, as normal.

For us, though, this all seemed a little unreliable, and we'd probably prefer to get our Start Menu replacement elsewhere.

What's new in

- Add new feature: Automatic refresh "All Programs" menu 
- Fixed bugs.


StartW8 is great at recreating the core Start menu, but we experienced significant problems in switching to the Start screen or regular Windows 8 apps. It's best for users who never want to leave the desktop

Your Comments & Opinion
Related Download Articles

8StartButton 2.6.6


Restore the Start button in Windows 8

Classic Shell 4.1.0

Classic Shell 4.1.0

Open Source

Install a highly configurable Start menu on Windows 7 and 8


Decor8 1.08

Trial Software

Customize the appearance of the Windows 8 Start screen

Start8 v1.47

Start8 v1.47

Trial Software

Restore the Start button to the taskbar of Windows 8

ViStart 7.0 running in Windows 8

ViStart 8.0


Enhance the Windows Start menu in XP – or bring it back in Windows 8 

Other Download Articles From This Category
FastStone Capture

FastStone Capture 8.1

Trial Software

Copy, annotate and save just about anything on your screen with this comprehensive capture tool

IceCream Ebook Reader

Icecream Ebook Reader 1.54


Browse epub, mobi, cbr, cbz eBooks

Icecream PDF Converter 1.41

Icecream PDF Converter 1.41


Convert many file formats to and from PDF

Icecream PDF Split and Merge

Icecream PDF Split and Merge 2.03


Extract or merge pages from your PDFs

From Softwarecrew

Please wait while my feed loads

See more posts...

Our Price: $22.95
RRP: $29.95
Saving 23%
Buy Now

Spotlight: Free Full Software

Unreal Engine

Free Full Commercial Software

Unreal Engine is Epic Games' game engine, a powerful suite of tools for developing anything from basic 2D games to professional RPGs, first person shooters and whatever else you like.

Wide standards support - DirectX, OpenGL, JavaScript/ WebGL - means your projects can be targeted to almost any platform: consoles, iOS, Android, Windows, OS X, Linux, HTML5 browsers and more.

There's a vast amount to learn, of course, and that's even before you start building your game. But there's plenty of documentation, tutorials, demos and sample projects to point you in the right direction.

The package is now entirely free, too - no annoying limitations, nag screens or anything else. Epic now only requires that you pay a 5% royalty after the first $3,000 of revenue per product per quarter. And even then, you "pay no royalty for film projects, contracting and consulting projects such as architecture, simulation and visualization."