Windows 8.1: Part III

Posted: March 18, 2014

Double Click

During the past few weeks, this space has been dedicated to Windows 8.1 — Microsoft’s latest operating system.

I’ve explained a few ways to make it operate more like Windows 7 (which is my favorite OS to date). I’ve gone over how to find programs and start them more easily. We’ve explored how to close programs and how to skip the Start Menu — or Metro Screen — entirely when the computer loads.

Now, the big question is finally answered: How do I get the Windows 7 start button back?

The process is fairly simple; however, Windows 8.1 alone won’t cut it.  The W7 start button and accompanying menu is no longer there. The button present in W8.1 has a few functions, but not like the previous version.  

It’s worth noting that Microsoft is rumored to be working on the addition of a new W8.1 that will have the functionality of the W8, but that’s not certain until the product hits the market.  

To get a W7-like start button, a third-party application must be installed — and the options are abundant.  Keep in mind, some are free and some are paid (guess which is my favorite).

Even the paid versions cost less than $10, so it won’t break the bank either way.

Two I’ve tried include StartW8 ( and Classic Shell (, which is slick but has more options than needed and is more difficult to set up.  

Start Menu 8 ( is the best free option.  Download it and double click the file to install Start Menu 8.  During the install, a prompt will appear asking if you’d like to install another application. While it’s a good program, you likely won’t need it.  Once the install finishes, the new start menu should appear.   

There is also a “Settings” window, which allows for customization.  I suggest remaining with the default, but I recommend clicking the “Start Button” menu item and changing the buttons icon, just for fun.

If you keep the default settings, the button will automatically launch every time the computer is started. If you wish to return to the Start Menu 8 settings, click the start button, then “Settings” and change what you wish. You can also delete the desktop icon for the program, as it’s no longer necessary.  

Have fun now that you have a more user-friendly version of Windows 8.  

Contact Ron Doyle at

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