X

Restore Start menu in Windows 8 or 8.1 without any additional software

“OMG! There is no Start menu in Windows 8?” she yammered.
“Yes, there is one… kind of,” I replied.

No, the colorful blocky Start screen thing was not good enough for her, and she was not too fond of learning how to customize or use it properly.

So here’s an alternative solution that one can use even on locked-down company computers. Yup, no free or paid programs required, just some mouse clicking. It works like a charm both in Windows 8 and 8.1, and it takes about one minute only. The end result looks like the classic Start menu back in Windows 95, 98 and Me (or Windows NT 4 or 2000).

Quick overview video of showing the classic Start menu in Windows 8 and 8.1

Here’s a short video of the process, more details are included below the video.

How to restore the classic Start menu in Windows 8 and 8.1

First, go to Desktop (keyboard shortcut Windows Key+D) and right-click or touch and hold on an empty space of Taskbar. Expand the Toolbars menu and click New toolbar.

Right-click on Taskbar, expand ‘Toolbars’ and click ‘New toolbar’

In the New Toolbar – Choose a folder dialog, type %programdata% into Address Bar, press Enter key and navigate to the Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs folder.
Click Select Folder.

Enter %ProgramData% into Address Bar and navigate to Microsoft, Windows, Start Menu, Programs folder. Click ‘Select Folder’.

Now the Programs toolbar appears on the right side of Taskbar. It looks very similar to the Windows 95-era Start menu. If you like it this way, stop reading.
To move the fake Start menu all the way to the left, right-click on some empty area of Taskbar again and clear the Lock the taskbar option.

Right-click on Taskbar again and untick ‘Lock the taskbar’ option

Now a grab handle appears to the left of the new Programs toolbar. Drag it all the way to the left – and I mean all the way to the left.

Drag both sliders all the way to the left to move the new toolbar

And there you have it – classic Start menu in Windows 8 or 8.1! Click the small double-arrowhead button on the right side of it to open.
If you want to, lock Taskbar again to remove sliders by right-clicking or touching and holding on an empty space of Taskbar and enabling the Lock the taskbar option.

And here it is – classic Start menu in Windows 8

Yeah, it does not have those fancy shortcuts to your Libraries or Control Panel, but it still seems way better for the lamenting blondie.
Haters gonna hate. 😉