How to keep both an old style Start Menu and the Start Screen in Windows 8 (Trick)

Windows 8 - Start Menu and Start Screen

In this Windows 8 How-To article you’ll learn a simple trick to add an old style “Start Menu” to launch Windows applications, while keeping the Metro style Start Screen enabled. 

I am one of the many users that really likes how Windows 8 is coming along: the new Metro style design and the chromeless apps, the Ribbon Office style menu, the new Storage Spaces, the Reset and Fresh your PC and all the other features that are built in the upcoming version of Microsoft’ OS.

All the good features aside, there are a lot of users that dislike the new Start Screen, or how most people know it for the “Start Menu”. In a previous article I showed you how to disable the Start Screen and bring back the old Start Menu with a simple tweak in Windows’ regedit and with just one click with a gadget called StartMenu. These are great solutions, but what about having an old style like Start Menu that can list all your programs without having to leave the Windows desktop and keeping the Metro style Start Screen at the same time? I think that this can be compelling to many users.

Essentially the way that you do this is by just adding a simple toolbar on the right side of the Taskbar that can list all the applications in Windows 8 and it updates automatically when a new application is installed. Keep reading to learn more.

How to create a toolbar in the Taskbar to list all your programs

1. Right-click on the Taskbar, select Toolbars and choose New toolbar

Taskbar - Toolbar Menu

2. In the New Toolbar window type the following and press Enter:

%ProgramData%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs

Start menu folder Windows 8

3. Then just click Select Folder to finish. That simple!

This not only is going to make quicker to launch a desktop application, like opening Microsoft Word or accessing the advanced options in Control Panel — you won’t have to go to the Start Screen, type Control Panel, then scroll down and click More Settings; too many clicks–, but also you don’t have to change between different environments just to open a desktop app. And this can also be helpful for those users that are not so thrilled about the new Start Screen in Windows 8.

Remember to be the first to leave us a comment on this topic and to share other tricks for Windows 8 if you’d like.

About the author

Mauro Huculak is a Windows How-To Expert who started Pureinfotech in 2010 as an independent online publication. He has also been a Windows Central contributor for nearly a decade. Mauro has over 14 years of experience writing comprehensive guides and creating professional videos about Windows and software, including Android and Linux. Before becoming a technology writer, he was an IT administrator for seven years. In total, Mauro has over 20 years of combined experience in technology. Throughout his career, he achieved different professional certifications from Microsoft (MSCA), Cisco (CCNP), VMware (VCP), and CompTIA (A+ and Network+), and he has been recognized as a Microsoft MVP for many years. You can follow him on X (Twitter), YouTube, LinkedIn and Email him at [email protected].