As a very experienced user of Microsoft’s Windows operating system (OS), and a tech guy, I felt it important to give Windows 8 a try. I installed Windows 8 on a middle-aged Toshiba Satellite laptop computer that had previously run Windows Vista, and Windows 7. The laptop does not have a touch screen.
My main issue(s) with Windows 8 as delivered center around the lack of a Windows-style Start Menu. The Start Menu is the launch pad for virtually everything one would want to do on a computer outside of running applications from desktop shortcuts. In previous versions of Windows users could click on the Start Menu, then select applications or explore sub-menus to complete an action. Say you want to change certain settings in the System or Security, or check and modify a Hardware setting: go to the Start Menu, click Control Panel, and select what you want to work on.
With Windows 8 the user needs to Search for just about anything they want to do beyond the basics. If you don’t happen know the name of the action you need to complete, well, you have to start guessing. If you don’t know a feature or setting is even available, well, I guess you’ll never use it; you don’t know to even search for it. Reminds me of Microsoft’s own TV ads for their Bing vs. Google search on the theme of deciding vs. searching. Thing is, you really can’t decide if you don’t know the choices, and you can’t really search if you don’t know what you’re looking for! I guess that is simple but not very useful.
So I wanted my Start Menu back.
Stardock is a software company that’s been around since 1991 and makes nifty applications that help users get more out of their computers. They created Start8 and yes, its purpose is to give Windows 8 users the Start Menu they need if they are running a computer and not a tablet.
For a mere $4.99 I now have a Start Menu replete with my less-used applications on a list, direct access to the Windows Control Panel, easy access to system utilities, in short, it makes Windows 8 into a good desktop OS for anyone above the level of Beginner!
And I didn’t have to wait for Microsoft to issue Windows 8.1 — due later this year — to bring back the Start Menu.