Windows 8

Windows 8

If you miss the start button on Windows after upgrading to the latest version, a simple hack can fix the problem for you. Windows 8 was released with much grandeur and hype, but all of it came crashing down for a lot of people on experiencing the new touch centric UI. A big disappointment was the omission of the Start button/menu from the desktop. I miss accessing my applications through the start menu, and I do not want to clog my desktop with applications short-cuts.

Even after using the new Windows 8 for the past couple of months, I occasionally end up pressing the ‘Windows’ key on the keyboard, expecting my ‘Start’ menu to magically appear. I also end up missing the easy way to shutdown or restart my pc from the start menu. Finding the new shutdown option in Windows 8 is monotonous, especially if you are in a hurry.

There are many third party apps, both free and paid, to get back your ‘Start’ button. The Windows 8.1 coming by the end of the year should bring back the ‘Start’ button, but until then here is a simple hack that will help you get similar functionality on your desktop without using any third party apps. This method will only help you browse and access the application installed on your system.

Here are the steps:

  • Open File Explorer, click on the ‘View’ tab, and check the boxes next to ‘Hidden items’ and ‘File name extensions’.

  • Now goto the Desktop and right-click on the taskbar and select Toolbars.

  • In the Toolbars drop-down menu, select New toolbar.

  • In the ‘New Toolbar- Choose A Folder’ window, navigate to C:\Users\username\AppData\Roaming\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu and click ‘Select Folder’ button. (Username should be your user account name.)

  • Now you will be able to see a ‘Start Menu’ toolbar on the far right of the taskbar.

  • Clicking on its double arrow will allow you to browse through the list of folders and programs installed on your system. You can launch them by simply clicking on the folder/program, like it used to be in the old ‘Programs’ menu.

  • Scroll down for the demo video

Keep in mind that Custom toolbars will be completely deleted the moment you hide them from display (by right-clicking the taskbar and unchecking the custom toolbar).

I have been using this hack and I personally find it quicker to access programs through my custom ‘Start Menu’. Many of you might be already aware of this hack, but this one is for all the users who aren’t. Credit for this hack goes to all the users who figured it out before me.