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How-To: get a start menu and quick launch in Windows 8 & other tricks

Last response: in Windows 8
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February 13, 2013 4:51:50 PM

Many of us may have noticed that several hacks and registry tricks that worked in earlier versions of Windows 8 no longer work in versions after the developer preview. However, that does not mean that you can't have a start menu in Windows 8! Here are a few ways to customize Windows 8 quickly, painlessly, and perhaps most importantly, freely.

Start menu:
Even in the current version of Windows 8 and Server 2012, The hacks no longer work because the very code for the start menu has been removed, so in order to get a start menu, you need to install a new one rather than change a registry setting.

Installing a new start menu is a very easy thing to do. There have been programs to get the Windows Vista and Windows 7 start menus in previous generations of Windows as well as install much more customization-friendly start menu alternative programs for several years.

Installing a start menu with Classic Shell:
This is as easy as going to win.softpedia.com, searching for Classic Shell, downloading it, and installing it. I'll make it even easier by showing a link strait to it:
http://www.softpedia.com/dyn-postdownload.php?p=194993&...
Classic Shell is also one of the few programs that can let you bypass Metro at log in so that when you log-in, you go directly to the desktop. There are many other programs that can give you a start menu such as ViStart/ViOrb, Start8, and more and a few of them also let you bypass Metro at log in too. There are many other features among these programs and Classic Shell is one of the most feature-rich of them all with dozens of other settings that you can customize if you choose to, such as re-installing some Aero themes.

How to get the quick launch from Vista and XP in both Windows 7 and Windows 8
This one is easy because the quick launch functionality was never removed and is actually made easily available by MS. You don't need to install anything nor even make any registry hacks. For this, you simply right-click on the task bar, hover the mouse over "Toolbars", click "New toolbar", and choose a folder for the short-cuts of your quick launch bar to include. In order to make it look like the quick-launch, you next right-click on the text of the new quick-launch and un-check the "Show title" and "Show Text" options. Congratulations, you now have a quick launch again. In order to get more programs in it, you can either put a short cut into the folder that you chose for the quick-launch or you can simply drag and drop a short cut into the quick-launch toolbar.

In order to get the quick launch like in previous versions of Windows that is recognized by programs that send short cuts to the quick launch, do the above, but use this as the directory path:
"%AppData%\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch"
a b * Windows 8
February 13, 2013 5:18:47 PM

Very good. I used Classic Shell for a bit, but was trying to get more used to Win 8 :)  so disabled it.

Classic shell is one of the better start menu replacements/restorers in the case of Win8. My only issue with many of those programs was the fact that hitting START on the keyboard gave a menu, but did not unhide the taskbar.

I may be a minority in hiding the taskbar(been doing it since Win95).

Either way, you just took care of a good 90% of the Windows 8 complaints and may win a goodie bag for it :) 
February 13, 2013 5:23:13 PM

I only started hiding the taskbar on my laptop when I needed the screen real estate (1280x800 is really not a convenient resolution and I'm too cheap to buy a new laptop so long as this one still works) for a browser game, C&C Tiberium Wars, to fit on my screen :lol: 

Otherwise, I don't hide it, but I think it's very commonly hidden on some OEM systems as a default. Thanks, I read and enjoyed your tutorial too :) 
Related resources
February 13, 2013 5:40:43 PM

I know its not free but in my brief foray into Win8 I used Startdock's Start8. Its a fantastic peice of software that not only adds whatever style of start menu you want but can also disable those annoying "Hot Corners" on the screen that bring up Win8 menus, which punkbuster in certain games reads as a disallowed driver, kicking you from the game.

Start 8 is free for a month after that its a single $5 payment. http://www.stardock.com/products/start8/
February 13, 2013 5:42:17 PM

Classic Shell has those features and much more. I don't see any point in paying for what is freely available.

Also, I happen to like the hot corners myself, but I have tested Classic Shell's disabling of it to verify that it works and I've tried various start menu styles too.
a b * Windows 8
February 13, 2013 5:42:58 PM

Well I am sure it was something along the lines of 640x480 - 800 x 600 when I started Windows 95 :p 

I am a creature of habit. Even set Vista to have small icons and show text for each program, Had some cool side effects(the green bar effect[copy/past/update/install] looked cooler on a rectangular bar and the icon color following the mouse was more noticeable because of it as well).

I was sure I had to make my OWN quick launch in Vista as well. In win7, I just finally started to pin programs.

OLD school
February 13, 2013 5:45:06 PM

nukemaster said:
Well I am sure it was something along the lines of 640x480 - 800 x 600 when I started Windows 95 :p 

I am a creature of habit. Even set Vista to have small icons and show text for each program, Had some cool side effects(the green bar effect[copy/past/update/install] looked cooler on a rectangular bar and the icon color following the mouse was more noticeable because of it as well).

I was sure I had to make my OWN quick launch in Vista as well. In win7, I just finally started to pin programs.

OLD school
http://imageshack.us/a/img80/193/quicklauncheh4.jpg


Heh, even in 7 and 8, I don't pin as often as I use the Quick Launch that I put back in :)  I do use some of the hot corners in 8 now, but the Quick Launch is easily one of my favorite ways of launching programs. Being able to have so many icons in such a small, secluded spot is just too convenient to give up. I still can't get over how cool it is to have the recycling icon in my quick launch and that it even lets me delete stuff by dragging and dropping them onto the recycling icon in the quick launch, but heaven help me if I'm off by a few pixels and what I'm tryign to delete gets a shortcut in the quick launch instead of getting deleted :( 
a b * Windows 8
February 13, 2013 5:48:22 PM

One of my first 7 computer still has quick launch :) 

Now whenever I sit at an XP system, I always hit start and start to search then remember. How did we use that for so long :) 

Ohh yeah, had to organize back in the day. Start search eliminated the need for that.


Funny thing is METRO gives you a need to organize again(at least to make it look nice).
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