Reviewed on May 30, 2013
StartW8 is a start menu alternative for Windows 8. Many people associate the Start Menu with Windows operating systems since it has been used for more than two decades. However, Windows 8 uses a modernUI that has removed this feature. As a result, several third-party applications have been designed to create a Windows 8 Start Menu, some of which are paid.
Although StartW8 is one of the free programs, it is a powerful tool that does not only bring the Start Menu to Windows 8 but also adds some special features. In addition to bringing the Start Menu, it allows users to search for specific programs or files on their PCs quickly by using keywords.
- Automatic switching to desktop upon signing in
- Adding Start Menu similar to that of Windows 7
- Using Win key to activate menu
- Conventional search field
- Buttons for locking, logging off and switching off
- The possibility of ignoring the hot corner
- All-user configurable
- Favorite apps
- Support for 25 languages
- Ability to disable the StartW8 Start Menu for the current user
We installed StartW8 smoothly and it became active without restarting our computer. The program immediately placed the custom start button in the usual lower left corner. Its appearance closely resembles that of Windows 7 Start Menu but someone who is used Windows 7 will detect the difference relatively easily.
Clicking on the Start button revealed a number of familiar features, including:
- A list of installed programs
- A side menu
- Search bar
- Power button
Although we could switch from frequently used programs to display all installed programs, the process did not take place automatically when we hovered the mouse. However, the context menu included some useful shortcuts, including Command Prompt, Run and Windows Explorer. The power button gave us such options as Sleep, Hibernate, Lock, Switch User, Sign Out, Shutdown and restart. Many applications in the same category do not offer as many options.
The configuration panel is pre-set to suit many ordinary uses. The panel is divided into two sections that we could use to set the default action upon clicking the power button, how the operating system should behave after we sign in and customize the side menu.
We could enable hotkeys under the Basic Settings panel to launch the Windows 8 Start Menu if we switched to the modernUI. Although the program did not interfere with the function of the hot corner button located at the lower left corner, it gave us the option to disable it.
- Smooth installation that does not require re-starting
- Straight booting into desktop
- Giving the option to switch to modernUI easily using the mouse
- Easy access to various power options
- Providing different customization options
- Relatively slower response to commands
- Inability to add personal shortcuts
- Lack of automatic update system, and manual updates require a re-start
StartW8 is an effective start menu alternative for Windows 8 users who don't want to use the modernUI.