For those who have tested out the newest Windows version, Windows 8, you may have noticed that a classic Windows feature – the Windows start menu with the start button – is absent.  The decision to change the start button is part of a new overall Windows 8 User Interface, which is a dramatic change from the Windows 7 interface and all previous Windows operating systems.  Read on to learn more about this change: Why Windows decided to change the start button and menu, how you can access the same functionality from the new Windows 8 interface, and how, if you miss this feature, you can add back the start menu and start button on Windows 8.

Why did Microsoft change the start menu and start button in Windows 8?

In previous versions of Windows, like Windows 7, Microsoft reported fewer users using the start menu, so Microsoft made the change to the Windows start menu in the new version of its product.   When using Windows 8 there are many other ways to access the programs and apps that were in the Windows 7 start menu and the start menu of earlier versions of Windows.  Using Windows 8, you can use the desktop to pin apps you use most frequently instead of having to go into the start menu to access these.  You can also use the Windows 8 charm bar to access apps quickly and easily.

What can I use instead of the start menu or start button?

There are a number of commands you can use to bring up some of the features available in the old Windows 7 start menu.  The Windows 8 Charm bar is the best way to access some of the functions previously available in the start menu. To access the charm bar, simply drag your mouse to the top right corner of your screen.  You’ll notice that a menu will pop up on the right side of the screen, this is the charm bar.  Click on settings to access what you previously had in the Windows 7 start menu, including the ability to restart and shutdown your computer. Learn how to use the charm bar and how to shut down your PC in Windows 8.

Additionally the new Windows 8 User Interface makes it easy to access your favorite apps by pinning them on the left-hand side of your desktop screen.  In earlier versions of Windows, like in Windows 7, you could pin programs and apps to the start menu so that when you clicked on the start button, your favorite apps would appear.  In Windows 8 this step is removed, so that you can pin your favorite apps on your desktop for easy access.  To pin an app click on the app and drag it to the left side of your starts screen, under the desktop icon.  While users who have grown accustomed to the traditional Windows and Windows XP interface may miss going to the start menu to access these favorite apps, the way that the new Windows 8 UI is set up it’s actually quicker to access your favorite apps using the pinning method.  Find out how to download apps for Windows 8 and pin apps using the new Windows 8 UI.

How do I access the Control Panel?

The Control Panel, which, on previous versions of Windows sat in the start menu, is still available in Windows 8. All you need to do to access the control panel is start typing “control panel” from either of your Windows 8 screens, and it will show up in the Windows 8 search bar.  This control panel is the same as it was from previous versions of Windows.

How can I get the start button for Windows 8?

If you miss the start button and the start menu, Soluto enables you to bring back this familiar feature. Using Soluto, you can set your PC to start up in Classic Desktop mode, restoring some of the functions from previous versions of Windows, including the start menu and start button.  This can be done after you install Windows 8, and then register and download Soluto to use the Windows 8 settings feature.


  • Mary Parker


  • Kaleemullah Khan

    i love soluto…

  • kenneth

    try .

  • Unhappy

    “Microsoft reported fewer users using the start menu”. What a load of crap! They could have at least given us the option to choose! Microsoft are just trying to be more like Apple. The settings menu is almost the same as the settings I have seen on an iPad.
    Shame on you Microsoft!

  • Howard Barnes

    run this link and get windows 8 start button , Bill Gates is full of crap. .The truth is ,our kids buy more pc’s than older folks ,so nothing will be easy for us from now on. When my pc bites the dust I will go Mac.

    • Coenraad Loubser

      HAHAHA! If you think Mac is easier than PC you’re going to be even more upset. The ghost of Steve Jobs gives even more of a crap!

    • frustrated

      Keep up, Howard — Bill Gates is gone. He stepped down in 2008 to focus on his foundation.

  • Guerrero de la vida

    There’s no way; only installing a third party program.

  • Andy Thomason

    pissed off and hate it but then they knew we would hate it and will gladly buy the next one that comes out that gives us what we want, not this new shit we cant stand . its a known truth that ever other windows is the one you want . win ME sucked XP was great Vista sucked win 7 was great . now 8 sucks and what ever they come out with in a hurry to replace this one will be great. like with MSN moving to Skype. I have over 150 contacts on that account and not a single one likes the move to Skype but MSN did it anyway :(

  • startbuttonlover

    absolute crap! without a start button, we can´t start our daily life!

    • frustrated

      Cup o’ Joe, click o’ Start. The perfect start to a morning ;-)

  • Mark Albert

    I think it’s a step backwards.. I can’t tile many of the apps and I can’t add a particular file to the start menu. bleh

  • JGC253

    “type in ‘control panel’ in the search….” Yeah, that is a LOT easier and faster!!

  • Bill

    1) Go to Desktop

    2) Right click on task bar. Choose Toolbars, then New Toolbar …

    3) In the Choose a Folder Dialog, click on the Address Bar (where you see the folders at the top)

    4) Paste C:ProgramDataMicrosoftWindowsStart Menu

    5) Click on the Programs folder and click Select Folder

    6) Bada Bing. Its on the right side with a name, but works the same as the standard Start Menu

    • Kala

      AWESOME Bill !!! Thank you SO Much !!!

    • Kip Reitz

      Bill. You lost me on step 2, Choose a Folder dialog. There is no Choose a Folder dialog. If you can, please e-mail me at with a more detailed explanation. You could reply here, but I feel I would not know how to get back to this page. Thanks,


      • Bill

        Hey Kip,

        In step 3 what i meant is to click on the area at the top of window, where the current folder is shown. Click on the end and it will show you a text version of the folder, so you can paste over it. HTH. Bill

      • guest

        This is what I did:

        1. I pressed the windows button that leads you to the Start page.
        2. Right-click then click view ‘All Apps’
        3. Scroll to the right until you find Windows Accessories.

    • Keith Voyce


    • frustrated

      Brilliant! Screw the start “menu” and just show the menu folder structure instead.

    • Susan

      Thank you, so so much. I just cannot stand scrolling back and forth to desktop and the apps page, and this solution pretty much eliminates that need. Many thanks, kind sir.

      • Valerie

        I found a better way, at least for myself! And this is an issue I have been dealing with, with my new vaio windows 8. I’ve hated it! So I followed Bill’s solution and love it, but in the process learned that if you right click on the lower taskbar a boxed menu appears. Within this menu there is an option to select properties/toolbars. Now there will be prechosen options there. Check desktop. This is a START MENU!!! YES A START MENU! But it is called desktop. HA!! There it is!

        • Valerie

          and if you so happen to disable your touchpad like I did, press fn f1, learned that today too!

        • Shirley

          THANK YOU SO MUCH!!! I’ve been following (trying to) the other instructions for almost an hour, yours took only 2 minutes! GIRL POWER!!! Lol

    • Estel

      thanks, a very usefull solution for us in anguish

    • Dave

      Bill, that trick was helpful, thanks. Main thing that toolbar is missing is search. I’ll end up getting a third party start menu, as I have hundreds of installed tools and programs (and thousands of files), and I get to them by typing a few characters in the start menu search bar.

  • xhyena2

    you can also get the basic functionality of start button with out installing any software or doing registry hacks:

    • Psm

      I must be one of the odd ones who don’t mind the start screen and tiles. I’ve pinned most of what I use on the desktop task bar anyway and find the big moving away from XP which I had, hasn’t been as bad as I first thought.
      I think it’s plain use and if you stick with it like you did with earlier systems, you’ll get the hang of it-I did.
      The only problem I initially had was Microsoft overly doing their logging in questions etc when you first use the machine! I’ve just installed a Windows 8 pc for an elderly lady who, like me, moved from XP and the questions were a complete farce and damn nuisance, but apart from that no problems.

  • richard

    what is this – a subsidary of micosoft – windows 8 is the most useless update for any desktop platform EVER – the only thing worse is building a mobile phone platform into a desktop one that has no advantages whatsoever to the average desktop user – NONE

  • Donna Doomer

    I don’t care how much I read I just keep getting more and more lost. Windows 8 makes me feel more stupid than the very first day I turned on a personal computer many many years ago.

  • cozofdeath

    It’s a sad day for MS and everyone that uses Windows 8.

  • matthew Curtley

    quite the same, but if you want to try something that makes it easier
    and faster to launch apps on Windows 8, download Gestures2Launch from
    a company called Linpus. Try write on the screen to launch an app.

  • frustrated

    +1 for “what a load of crap”. OBVIOUSLY people don’t launch their apps from the start menu most of the time. That is because they put a shortcut or quick-launch for the apps that they spend most of their time using. That does not mean these same people don’t use the start menu to launch all of the other apps! Nor does it mean that they create a shortcut on their desktop for each and every app they use.
    Sounds to me like Microsoft is finding out what a royal screw-up Metro was. And now, instead of saying “we were wrong, we will fix it” they are making up “reasons”. Acting like they did all of this market research and found out people don’t want the start menu. Now they just can’t understand why people do want the start menu after so much in-depth research.
    Well, I’m calling BS. Microsoft lost touch a long time ago,

    • Tom

      Microsoft did do market research about the use of the Start button. Only problem wa they asked Mac users. LOL

    • Ami

      Oh amen! I couldn’t believe I read the sentence about how pinning to the start menu got eliminated in Win8 cause you can pin things to the desktop. Well, duh, you can put shortcuts on the desktop in other Windows, which is what I have done for years. No, I don’t use the start menu much (XP and Win7 and 95 for that matter), cause I put shortcuts for most-used things, including the Control Panel (typing it is easier???), Accessories, etc. And it’s a lot easier than customizing that desktop.
      For many other things I actually go into Computer – throw-back from Win3.1 days and still much a habit.

      Besides, what’s so difficult about pinning to the start menu anyway?
      Unlike the rest of you, I already had heard BAD about Win8 and got Win7 instead, but I have messed around with it in the stores.

  • Onlooker

    The thing that Microsoft seemed to overlook when they created Windows 8 was all the people who aren’t these mainstream teenagers and business “gurus” that make up their target audience. They overlooked the power users who intend to use their PC’s for an actual computer, not a bulky phone to check their Twitters and Facebooks.

  • Bill Gates Hater

    Dear Microtards
    That was a fucking stupid decision. As dumb as anything you have ever done.
    Hi Linux!

  • fuck

    how am I supposed to know which appare installed on my pc and how to unistall a software without start menu???

  • Dude 333

    MS is “overthinking” this thing trying to protect themselves from alternatives. It’s sad, really pathetic. And foolish – I have stopped using Office for the same reason and, as soon as I figure a way to do so, will stop using Windows.

  • bonjour

    The best tool to get start button in windows 8 is Vistart, below is the step by step tutorial with screen shots

  • LOL

    I guess you young whipper snappers are learning an old adage we old farts learned a long time ago, “If it aint broke, DON’T FIX IT!!!

  • sagai raj

    in windows 8 if i go to change settings its starts start menu y is dat so…???

  • Chad Warden

    Everyone at Microsoft is mad gay and looks like a dealdough. Windows 8? Don’t even gimme dat sheet.. iight? I aint tryna play ma games wit no i-pad, na mean nigga?

  • keith

    I totally agree with all that has complaints about win 8. Just about the time you get where you can get around, they chg the system. My desktop has Vista and I love it, my new laptop came with wind8 and I hate it !!!

  • Zulkarnaini Ibrahim Askandar

    is so nice i like it 100%

  • Scott C Ensor

    It’s the rule of every-other with windows. 98 good, ME bad, XP good, Vista bad, 7 good, 8 bad. Who’s bright idea was it to get rid of the start button? “You know what we should do? Annoy everyone and render every keyboard in the world useless, that’s what we’re gonna do.”. No good!

  • shoaib


  • boba

    Well it is time to move to Linux and avoid sending Microsoft-NSA private info


    There is an easy solution. Follow below steps:

    1) Get to your desktop, and close all programs.
    2) Create a New Folder on your desktop, and name it “Start”
    3) Open Windows Explorer, and navigate to the following location:
    C:UsersDefaultAppDataRoamingMicrosoftWindowsStart Menu
    Copy the contents of this folder into your “Start” folder on your desktop
    4) Repeat Step #3 for the next two folders. When prompted to overwrite, select overwrite all.
    C:Users%USERNAME%AppDataRoamingMicrosoftWindowsStart Menu
    C:ProgramDataMicrosoftWindowsStart MenuPrograms
    5) Right click on your Taskbar, and select “Toolbars” then “New toolbar…”
    6) In the Folder Select Window, navigate to your Desktop, and select the “Start” folder.
    7) Right Click on the task bar again, and un-check “Lock The Taskbar”
    8) Right Click on the word “Start” that’s in your task bar, and check “Show Text” and “Show title”.
    9) Use your mouse, and slide the toolbar all the way to the right side for Windows 8.1, or the left side for Windows 8.0.
    10) Click on the double-arrow icon next to the word “Start” in your Taskbar. VIOLA!!! A Start Menu.

    Now that you have it created, you can easily add or subtract or move things around in it or rename things by merely adding or deleting items or moving or renaming within the “Start” folder on your desktop. TO add an extra flair, you can modify the “Start” folder to have an icon that looks just like the Win7 Start Menu.

  • Jay Sarmiento

    That step is so bad. “Windows 8′s Start Screen is worse than the Start Menu.” Why not bring it back to Windows 8.2 or 9?

  • manish

    just install classic shell on your windows 8 yu get everything in start utton as in windows 7

  • Sevilla Tristan
  • Sevilla Tristan
  • Diamond Dave

    Windows 8 SUCKS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Rahul Bhujbal

    the person would have been utter idiot who has taken the decision of removing classic start button from windows…. I am thinking of returning my laptop…. because changing the OS will take it out from warranty conditions…. Windows.. really disappointed with this… not expected from you…

  • ceciel

    This article did nothing to tell me how to access the programs that do NOT show up in the charms or on the app screen. FAIL!

  • Ron

    Agree windows 8 desktop os crap!

  • hboos


  • PhilC

    Windows 8 desktop is a total mess but there is fix to bring back W7 look & feel.
    Start8 gets the job done –

    I purchased new notebook a couple days ago with W8 on board.
    I was shocked to find Microsoft did away with desktop start menu….I was freaking trying to use W8.
    Did some internet search how users were dealing with it leading me to Start8 application.
    It provides W7 look & feel , Easy to customize its a win win couldn’t live without it.


  • Hyomoto

    Uh, reports showed that users were ignoring the start bar? A key feature that was nearly perfected in Windows 7 and a principle component of day-to-day use … that was the feature Microsoft decided no one was using?

    Riddle me this, if it was so ‘unused’ then why are there so many people complaining about it missing?

  • David Mumladze

    Just bring it back!!!

  • Shilpa Hirani

    I predict that tablets die out long before laptops do. I could see ultrafast smartphones with docking stations replacing everything in a decade or so, but until something can come along to emulate the ease with which laptops make actual work convenient, I don’t see tablets replacing them. SBI Admit Card Tablets are fads for people with purses who like to surf the net and watch movies and don’t know where the ‘any key’ is. If I’m gonna schlepp something around that won’t fit in my pocket, I’ll just go for the laptop bag.

  • TaintedGlove

    “Charm bar” sounds like a gay cofee house that adds Baileys to everything on a bad CBS sitcom. What is UP with people being so freakin’ tone deaf dealing with their customers? SMALL incremental changes, people. NOT complete overhaul of how people are used to doing business with you. IDEA: How about OFFERING people (with the annoying little popups), “Would you like to have a push-button dashboard of your Start menu programs put onto your desktop? It will look like this (displays preview of how control buttons would appear). Then it waits a week and asks you if you want to make preview windows of your information pages INSTEAD of trying to cram down your throat the lame-ass pages they pick that only patrons of Charm Bar would use. Swear to gawd. Stupid.

  • Bryan McCormick

    i have a windows icon and a home icon, but the windows button on my keyboard only accesses the tile screen under the windows icon, is there any way to bring up the home icon interface with the keyboard? i haven’t been able to find an applicable shortcut but figure there has to be a way to appropriate one, thanks

    • Ted Kritzler

      I just figured out a way to do exactly that. Right-click on the task bar, select “Toolbars”->New Toolbar, and browse to C:ProgramDataMicrosoftWindows and select the “Start Menu” folder. Then it will show up on the task bar (just to the left of the systray) just click the >> to open up a menuized version of that folder that looks like windows 7′s. And yes…when you click the actual “Start” button in windows 8, it’s a hot fucking mess.

      • Bryan McCormick

        ehh i’ve gotten used to it, i get it- hot tiles, i’ll read its news sometimes… i downloaded this pokki program that imitates the start menu effect well enough it’s purely righteous bitching at this point, i want the start button to bring up the pokki index… i don’t know if there’s some ini coding i can change or a way to set hot keys like shift+windows=Pokki
        i feel like there should be but i get too disgusted with all the things in my life currently on shelf, this is just going directly to recycle

  • Conan the Republican

    For the love of almighty freaking God, I cannot find ANYWHERE help on what should be a simple issue. In Windows 8, you have the option to go to a classic Windows-style desktop. In that Windows desktop there is the classic start button, for God’s sake. Somehow, I idiotically managed to delete that. DON’T SAY IT: “It can’t be deleted”. It’s gone. How in the HELL do I get it back? Anyone? Bueller? BUELLER?

  • Pete

    “. . .the way that the new Windows 8 UI is set up it’s actually quicker to access your favorite apps using the pinning method.”

    In previous versions of Windows, this thing called “shortcuts” allowed the same functionality. And you didn’t have to drag your mouse to the corner first! Yawn. . . nothing new except for extreme annoyances.

    Can’t wait to retire after which I will be able to dump Microsoft and Windows for good after having to suffer with that company’s quadriplegic products for over 25 years.

  • ken s


  • Clem

    The only change in windows 8 is the removal of the desktop/start experience. WIthout this, Microsoft could not sell a new version of the operating system. It’s about $$$$$ only! No new functionality in windows 8. Just clunkier to navigate. They had to change something!

  • Clem

    It’s like the xbox. Just a new box that does not support old games. No new functionality. Graphics are the same. People believe they are getting a better product. WRONG!!!

  • Ahenjir Solomon Ternenge

    Window 8 is annoying