StartW8: Yet another Start Menu alternative for Windows 8

Start menu in Windows 8

StartW8 for Windows 8: Since Microsoft decided to remove for good the Start menu from its operating system, users have looked for ways to re-enable this iconic menu, but because there isn’t a way within Windows 8 to bring it back, many developers took upon themselves to create alternative replacements; now we have an array of Start menus you can choose from, more than we could ask for. Some of them just add a new menu that mimics the old one and others bring the original menu and button back, plus disabling the Windows 8 Modern UI like Ex7ForW8.

The issue is that most users were already familiar with an interface, which everyone mastered throughout the years and Windows 8 changes all that, causing (many) people to have to learn new skills. I am sure that if you’ve used the new operating system for sometime now, you are pretty much comfortable to the new Modern UI, but if you still cannot figure out or the new Start screen just isn’t your taste, today you can try StartW8. StartW8 is a well designed alternative to the old Windows 7 Start menu. The program is free and the installation is pretty simple — just your typical next, next, next…

utility configuration

Once the installation completes, you’ll notice a new window icon in the lower-left corner of the screen, in the same place where the old iconic Start button was, and the program’s settings will also appear. There you have two sets of options: Basic settings, is the place to configure if you want to log-in directly to the desktop bypassing the Start screen and assign the default action for the Power button, and from the Menu items you can set which items the menu will show, e.g., Documents, Control Panel, Computer, Music, etc.

StartW8 settings


  • Bypass the Start screen log-in straight to the Windows 8 Desktop
  • Added Windows Start menu in Windows 8 design, but with Windows 7 functionality
  • Activate menu with Win key
  • Configure the shut down menu: Log off, lock and turn off buttons
  • Traditional search field
  • Add locations
  • All user configurable
  • Support for silent installation
  • Multilingual support

After you finish configuring StartW8, you will once again get access to All programs, Documents, Computer, Control Panel, etc., also recent programs start to populate; the search box works as expected, and the Shut down menu is there like in the old times.

Win 8 Start menu

Things to know

This utility doesn’t disable the new Windows 8 interface, StartW8 is just an add-on. You’ll still be able to use the hot corners to go back to the Start screen and use the Windows 8 apps. One thing though, the Windows keyboard key gets re-mapped for the new menu, but like I just mentioned, you can use the hot corners to get access to the Start screen.

Download link

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].