How To Restore The Missing Windows 8 Start Button

The Start button in Windows has changed in form over the years, but we could always count on it to function as a convenient launch pad for all our programs, applications, and tasks. So what does Microsoft do now that we're all addicted to using the Start menu? It removes the item in Windows 8, of course, hoping to nudge users into sticking with the Metro Windows 8 UI -- boo!

Don't worry if you're not as stoked as Microsoft about ditching the Start menu. It turns out you can have your cake (Windows 8 and all the speed improvements that come with it) and eat it, too. There are a handful of ways you can restore the Start menu in Windows 8, provided you're willing to install a third-party program.

One of those programs is Stardock's Start8. Currently in beta, Start8 is free to download but will cost $4.99 in final form when Windows 8 ships later this month. The neat thing about Start8 is that the Start menu automatically matches the color scheme you have selected. There's also a handy option to bypass the Windows 8 UI completely and boot directly to the desktop, complete with Start menu, though be warned the feature doesn't work in virtualized environments.

Image Source: ClassicShell

Two other popular programs include Power8 (open source and free to download) and ClassicShell (also free). None of these three programs should affect the overall performance of Windows 8, minus the miniscule amount of resources they consume.

If you're not feeling any of those, yet another options is ViStart 8, which the developers bill as being "The ultimate Start menu for Windows."