RetroUI is another app that doesn't merely resurrect the classic Start menu, but tries to one-up it, with mixed results. Clicking the RetroUI Taskbar icon brings up a tile grid that's reminiscent of the Windows 8 Start screen (above), but occupies much less screen space and comes outfitted with fly-outs that borrow from the original Start menu (Libraries, Computer, Control Panel). Also included are handy shortcuts to the Modern UI Task Switcher and Charms bar. Another Taskbar icon opens an icon-grid view that displays only Modern UI apps and major system locations.
The behavior of the RetroUI menu takes a little sorting out. Legacy desktop apps at first appear only in the Programs fly-out, but they can be pinned to the tile grid. There's no "pin to" option added to right-click in Explorer, though, and Search is still only done through the Modern UI interface. But there is a nice feature that forces the Taskbar to show up on the Start screen and when Modern UI apps are running, which no other program shown here could do.
Cost: Free 7-day trial; pricing starts at $4.95 per seat
ViStart offers little beyond the re-creation of the vintage Start menu's look and behavior. It works well, but doesn't provide much more than the most basic behavior. For instance, there's no right-click Explorer integration to allow apps to be pinned to the menu.
The options within the program itself are also minimal. You can change the orb image and override the Windows key behavior, but that's about it. If you want to make any other major changes to the program's behavior, you have to edit the program's XML configuration file. The Start button and menu are skinnable, however, and a number of skins have already been developed for the app.
StartW8 is a good classic Start menu re-creation, albeit with the "flat" Windows 8 visual style, no orb graphic, and few customization options. It lets you skip directly to the desktop after logging in, but it doesn't disable charms or hot corners (not even the Start screen hot corner). StartW8 also lacks Explorer right-click integration. Pinning programs to the Start menu is difficult to figure out as well. On the plus side, StartW8 does a decent job of restoring the classic Search functionality.
This story, "9 Windows Start menus for Windows 8" was originally published at InfoWorld.com. Follow the latest developments in Windows and mobile technology at InfoWorld.com. For the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld.com on Twitter.
You may still be better off sticking with Win7 or Win8.1, given the wide range of ongoing Win10...
Early results look promising: the many-hours-long Win7 waits may be behind us
Now that we're down to the wire, many upgraders report that the installer hangs. If this happens to...
Inertia, more than any other factor, now binds creative and power users to the Mac
We've seen this 'one device for everything' movie before, and it ends just as badly this time
Long before self-driving cars triumph, new and enticing auto-related products will lure you into...
The newest edition of the powerful Python-to-C compilation framework adds speedups harvested from the...