Get A Real Start Menu In Windows 8 With StartIsBack

I’ve written about Windows 8 quite a lot in the past and on day 6 of my week with Windows 8 I explained how you can make Windows 8 work a little more like a traditional Windows desktop. Within that article I used a tool called Classic Shell in order to get my Windows 8 desktop back to how I like it. However, I’ve since found a much more mature and functional application called StartIsBack.

StartIsBack takes your Windows 8 desktop and turns it back to the classic desktop that all Windows users will know and love. But what really sets StartIsBack apart from the rest is that the start menu button can be customised, the colour of the start menu automatically changes to be the same as your taskbar and Windows borders and finally, you can customise it in exactly the same way as the Windows 7 start menu – adding & removing extra buttons like the run menu.

My Windows 8 Deskop Running StartIsBack

In the screenshot above I have customised the start button. If you want the same one you can get it from here. By default StartIsBack uses the Windows 7 default start button.

The installation of StartIsBack is extremely easy – it’s just a two window wizard and then everything is setup for you automatically. Once installed you will be logged off automatically. Then once you log back in, StartIsBack will automatically bypass the Windows 8 tiled menu and instead give you a traditional desktop like the one above.

If you want to tweak StartIsBack all you need to do is right click on your start button and select “Start Menu Properties”. In this windows you will be able to add/remove buttons from your start menu and also change to a custom start button.

StartIsBack Configuration Window

StartIsBack is a fantastic tool for anyone wanting to have a traditional desktop on Windows 8. It’s so good that it has cemented my plan to upgrade my one and only Windows 7 machine to Windows 8. Unfortunately StartIsBack isn’t free but it is extremely cheap, at only $3.00 for activation on 2 PC’s or $5.00 on 5 PC’s you really can’t go wrong.

You can download a 30 day free trial or buy StartIsBack from their website.

Are you using Windows 8 yet? Is there another tool that you use to make Windows 8 work better or do you prefer stock Windows 8? Why not come and discuss it some more in our forums.

Finally I’d like to thank my really good friend from work, Dave Norris for the tip.

Get A Real Start Menu In Windows 8 With StartIsBack
User Rating: 3.1 (1 votes)
  • Anonymous

    Yeah but Classic Shell is far more customizable, has far more power user features. This is just stock Windows 7 menu.

    • Kev Quirk

      That’s true but most users aren’t power users. They just want what’s familiar and this fills that void. I personally class myself as a power user but the default settings for windows 7 are fine for my needs.

      • Anonymous

        Don’t get my wrong. StartIsBack is excellent, but it is only likely to last for the Windows 8 lifecycle. When Microsoft changes Explorer again in Windows 9, it may not work as it depends on Microsoft code heavily.

      • Kev Quirk

        I completely agree. However, for the couple of bucks it costs, it’s not a massive hit to your wallet.

      • Frylock86

        StartIsBack is broken on Windows 8.1 (Blue) and its developer Tihiy has said it won’t work as 90% of the Start Menu code has now been removed in Windows Blue. Classic Shell on the other hand was just updated to support Windows Blue and will always remain free with a ton of usability customizations.

      • Kev Quirk

        In that case I think I’ll be moving over to Classic Shell come Windows Blue release day. :)

        That’s if I’m still running Windows 8 by that point haha.

      • Bob

        Regarding this – the author mentioned on their FAQ:

        What if Microsoft removes it and breaks StartIsBack?
        It’s almost impossible since it involves rearchitecting Windows 8 code which Microsoft won’t do until major changes to Windows.

        If this is to happen, we’re taking *very* heavy modification to the code here, the level of modification required isn’t something that would be included in a Windows Update. Service Pack possibly at a push, more likely Windows 9.

        I can see the headline for the Windows 9 release now though:

        “The community spoke – we listened! Start menu returns to Windows 9!”

    • Bob

      I wanted something that was as close as possible to the Windows 7 start menu. As customizable as Classic Shell is, I couldn’t get it to fully emulate all the behaviors and appearances of the stock Windows 7 start menu. Various others came close, ViStart and Start8, but I felt that this one really hit the mark. If you use each of them and compare to the Windows 7 start menu you will understand what I mean here.

  • scpdgearhead

    the thing I don’t like about windows 8 is you can’t easily toggle between pdf’s and web pages this annoys the heck out of me I find this program is made for touch screens and ipads and not mouse users