Win8 Start button options

Discussion in 'Operating Systems' started by kleinkinstein, Oct 29, 2012.

  1. HeXen

    HeXen Diamond Member

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    here is a shot with Stardock's Start8 and Decor8 which allows changing the start screen backdrop.

    [​IMG]
     
  2. GnatGoSplat

    GnatGoSplat Golden Member

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    I tried viStart again, this time the latest version, and it still left the text "Start" on the task bar where the start button was. However, I realized what it had done was it adds a "Start" toolbar which can be removed by right-clicking on the task bar and unchecking it. Kind of odd that it needs that since no other start button program needs it. It probably would be better if it would clean up after itself and remove that.

    Anyway, I still did not care for viStart. The start button is in a slightly different location while every other start button program seems to put it in exactly the same location as Windows 7. The start button also was in a lighter blue colored box as though the background outside the circle wasn't transparent. The Windows 7 theme still looked rather different compared to a real Win7 start menu. The font is slightly smaller and blurrier, the menus that pop up (i.e. shutdown options) looked different. The start menu background looked badly false-contoured as though its source may have been only 65k colors or less.

    I also found something I didn't like on Start8 - its Win7 theme is completely transparent, not translucent. All the images and text on my browser window were showing through making it hard to read the menu items on the right side.

    I tried StartIsBack with its Win7 theme, and so far I think it's the most accurate. Like Start8, it's a pixel-for-pixel copy of the Win7 start menu and its translucency matches Win7 as well, making the menu items on the right side easy to read no matter what windows are behind it.

    So far, I'm going to say StartIsBack is the best if you want a 100% accurate copy of the Win7 start menu. I don't see any way to change its theme to something different, though you can change the start button itself.
     
  3. Zillatech

    Zillatech Senior member

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    Use Windows 7 – it’s got a Start Menu :)

    Windows 8 = Productivity Killer!
     
  4. GnatGoSplat

    GnatGoSplat Golden Member

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    Windows 7 isn't new and shiny. :)

    Actually, I haven't deployed Win8 on anything yet, still evaluating it on a VM for now.
     
  5. Mem

    Mem Lifer

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    What a load of crap,I don't even use a Start menu on Win8, I don't need it and yes I'm a desktop/gamer user for 99% of the time.

    As you know there are plenty of Start menu options for Win8 if you do need it so your statement is completely false.
     
    #80 Mem, Nov 12, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 12, 2012
  6. ViRGE

    ViRGE Elite Member, Moderator Emeritus

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    I think I've mostly figured it out. I have my taskbar set to auto-hide; if you come in from the top-left the taskbar doesn't pop up, although if you click the start menu will finally pop up as expected.

    This seems to be a limitation/holdover of the hotcorner for the start screen. Stardock isn't actually removing that hotcorner, rather they're re-purposing it bring up the start menu instead. As a result it's inheriting the original behavior of the hotcorner, which in the stock UI does not bring up the taskbar.
     
  7. ImDonly1

    ImDonly1 Platinum Member

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    I like Start8, but haven't tried any of the other options so can't comment on those.

    If there was a similar free option, I would definitely switch. I'm still on the 30 day trial period.
     
  8. smakme7757

    smakme7757 Golden Member

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    Start8 only costs 4.99USD. Surely it's worth that much if you find it useful.
     
  9. gaidin43

    gaidin43 Member

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    No it is not worth the $5!!!!! I keep saying this because windows will put the menu back in or the other free options will get better with time. NEVER buy hack software like this. People are just trying to scam you out of your money for a next to useless bit of software. Free choices are always the way to go for minor additions like this.
     
  10. cmdrdredd

    cmdrdredd Lifer

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    Microsoft is not going to change the start menu. They would have left it in to begin with if they didn't want this to be the new norm for users.

    Power users can use win+x and get their functions and everyone else simply has a quick way to access their app list.
     
  11. smakme7757

    smakme7757 Golden Member

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    You want free go and download Windows shell from source forge. Don't just come in here with all guns blazing telling us that Start 8 is junk. Obviously it works, people find it useful and for $5 you get a nice piece of software at what could be considered a rock bottom price.

    Your flaming is unfounded.
     
  12. nitromullet

    nitromullet Diamond Member

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    I've tried a few options and here's my opinion:

    • ClassicShell - definitely usable, and recreates the various different incarnations of the start menu pretty well. Overall it really feels like free software though. I feel it has too many options to configure and not enough basic configuration options easily accessible. For example, you can select a start menu that looks like XP, Vista/7, or Win8 from the GUI; but you have to edit the skin file with hexadecimal numbers to change the basic color scheme of your start menu. Why the included Win8 theme is green is a mystery to me... I bet ClassicShell would be great if you're willing to put the time into tweaking it a bit.
    • Pokki - interesting and slick looking option for people not really looking to re-create the start menu, but open to trying something new. I must confess it's not really what I was looking for, and it didn't really feel like it was a functional start menu. It seems to be geared more towards pushing apps (similarly to the Start screen) than it is towards providing me with a functional menu to launch programs and manage my PC. It is very nicely done though, and definitely worth checking out if you're not looking for strictly a Start menu replacement.
    • Start8 - what can I say, if you're looking for a start menu for Win8 this what you're looking for. Simple, intuitive, and works like the start menu should. Five minutes after you install it you forget about it and the Start screen. I'm still in my 30 day trail, but I foresee me forking over the $5 to Stardock for this.
     
  13. GnatGoSplat

    GnatGoSplat Golden Member

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    If you're looking for a Win7-style Start Menu, try StartIsBack. I think it's better than Start8. Start8 had transparency issues with IE in the background. At least, it did for me. StartIsBack seems to be a near flawless reproduction.
     
  14. HeXen

    HeXen Diamond Member

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    i'll mention Decor8. got it myself and really like it if you want to change the start screen's background. I changed mine to match my wallpaper so it's not so...split personality feeling.
     
  15. nitromullet

    nitromullet Diamond Member

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    I haven't had any issues with Start8, and you can disable the transparently.
    Then again the only thing I ever use IE for is to download a different browser after a fresh install, so I wouldn't know about any IE issues.

    That being said, I might give StartIsBack a shot after my 30 day trial of Start8.
     
  16. nitromullet

    nitromullet Diamond Member

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    I decided to go ahead a give StartIsBack a try before my Start8 trial ran out. This is pretty solid as well, and will definitely meet the needs of anyone who is looking for a start menu replacement.

    I grabbed a Win 8 styled start button a classicshell user created and used it as custom start button with StartIsBack. http://sourceforge.net/p/classicshell/discussion/user_content/thread/09725bfb/ It integrates really well into the desktop look of Win8 desktop.

    Here's a comparison between the two that pretty much sums up Start8 and StartIsBack in case anyone is curious. http://fi.laceous.com/post/35876981007/start8-vs-startisback
     
  17. smakme7757

    smakme7757 Golden Member

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    I havn't tried Start8 on my own PC yet. My Wife has it installed, but i decided to just use Windows 8 "As is" and see how i go.

    After 4 days it doesn't feel any different than Windows 7. I have most used apps either on the desktop or on the quick launch bar. Any app that isn't there i just:

    Windows button + name of app + enter

    Exactly how i had it in Windows 7.

    Metro isn't really used at all apart from when i need to hit CTRL+C to get a menu up for some system settings, but otherwise it's the desktop all the way.
     
  18. jacktesterson

    jacktesterson Diamond Member

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    Start8 is a lifesaver for me. Took away the majority of complaints I had.
     
  19. nitromullet

    nitromullet Diamond Member

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    It really depends on how you used Win 7. Not everyone launches apps via search. I know I don't.
     
  20. smakme7757

    smakme7757 Golden Member

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    Why?

    Start-Programs-"Find name of application"-Pick icon-Click

    Windows 7 search was one of the things that made the OS so fantastic. Delving into the start menu was only needed when you wanted to find something abstarct, not commonly used.
     
  21. GnatGoSplat

    GnatGoSplat Golden Member

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    Me neither. Apps I use every time I'm on the computer like Firefox Nightly get pinned to the taskbar, and apps I use daily get a desktop icon. Apps I use weekly are front and center in the Start Menu because they were used recently. I don't install a lot of stuff I don't use, so apps that are just used once in awhile are pretty easy to find under All Programs. Only time I've ever used that search box is for the very rare occurrence that an app didn't install a Start Menu or desktop shortcut.
     
  22. Bat123Man

    Bat123Man Member

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    Advantages :
    - You can select which start menu look and feel you like best; Classic, XP, or Vista/7
    - Like in 7, has the Start menu search bar, my most-used feature
    - Basic settings includes control over what Windows key does (for me, Windows key alone starts Metro UI Windows Start Screen, SHIFT + Windows opens Classic Start)
    - Free and open-source
    - Default menu is transparent Aero.
    - Looks exactly like the Win7 start menu.
    - Has huge list of configurable options when you select "All Settings"

    Disadvantages
    - None that I have found yet, but have only been using it for a few weeks.
     
  23. GnatGoSplat

    GnatGoSplat Golden Member

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    Unless it's really improved a lot in the last 3-weeks, I didn't think Classic Start looks "exactly" like the Win7 start menu at all. To me, it looked similar, but different. Enough to cheapen the feel for me. It's hard to explain, but it's like a fake Chinese knockoff for example. Similar enough you can tell what it's supposed to be a copy of, but different enough that it feels like a cheap knockoff. It's one of those things that I would prefer a completely different looking Start Menu like pokki over one that is similar, but slightly off.
    ViStart was the same way, which is why I prefer Start8 and StartIsBack which are really darn good pixel-for-pixel copies. Start8 had transparency issues, but StartIsBack was perfect enough I could flip back and forth between my Win7 host and Win8 VM and not see any difference in the start menu. Not even one pixel is off.

    Well, I am OCD so little things bother me that wouldn't bother normal people.
     
  24. ViRGE

    ViRGE Elite Member, Moderator Emeritus

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    No, you're right. It was primarily created to emulate the XP start menu; skinning it to look like 7 can only go so far.
     
  25. nitromullet

    nitromullet Diamond Member

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    I just prefer use a mouse to launch most apps. Search functionality is cool, but I don't want it to be my primary means of launching apps. Also, not every PC I use has a Win key on the keyboard. My work computer has an IBM model M keyboard, and it has no Win key.

    No, no. I totally agree with you. I think you hit the nail on the head with respect to ClassicShell. It's almost there, but just not quite right.

    I actually like Start8 because functionally it works just as you would expect it to having used Windows for years, but they have a Win8 style theme that matches with the sharp edges of Win8. StartIsBack felt a little bit too much like running Win7 on Win8 for my taste, but I could see how that is desirable to some people.
     
    #100 nitromullet, Nov 30, 2012
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2012