How to add a Start Menu to Windows 8 Desktop

The omission of the Start menu from the desktop mode in Windows 8 is one of the most controversial talking points of the new operating system. I’ve been using Windows 8 for the past few months on a non-touch laptop and have found there aren’t too many things I need to do in the desktop mode that can’t be achieved by pinning programs to the Taskbar, or using Win + x shortcut (see below).

Win + x shortcut

However, i do miss the Start menu for browsing for programs I use less frequently that I haven’t pinned to the Taskbar, so lets add a Start menu!

With Windows 8 having been publicly for nearly a month now, there are starting to be a few Start menu programs available. I’ll add some links at the end of the post so you can try them out.

The program I’ve been trying is Classic Shell. Click the link to download it. The version tested is 3.6.2. Following the wizard to install it. Once installed have a read of the readme file. You’ll now have a Classic Start menu 🙂

Classic Shell Start Menu

One thing to note, the Windows Key now opens the Classic Start menu, so if you want to get back to the Metro Start menu, hold shift and click the Classic Start menu button. Classic Shell also has the ability to boot the computer straight to the Desktop mode. Take a look at the Classic Shell Settings as these are both configurable settings along with many others.

Classic Shell Start Menu Settings

Below are a few links to other Windows 8 Start menu alternatives and blog posts that i have come across. I’ve not used any of them yet, so if you have and liked them let me know. look at the alternatives menu item.

4 thoughts on “How to add a Start Menu to Windows 8 Desktop

  1. Russell Brown

    Installed classicshell v3.6.5. Real easy to do. I now have windows working like it used to. Particularly good is that it avoids the metro start menu. It also suppresses the ribbon in explorer

  2. Cathy

    Sorry but love going back to the Win 7 mode but have followed instructions yet the wretched charms on the right keep sweeping into view every time I move the mouse cursor on the mouse pad from right to left. This is the most exasperating thing ever as it defocusses you from the program you are in and you have to click back in and try moving the mouse where you want it to go only to get the same action again.What on earth are these MS guys thinking? Bonkers on a PC

  3. lp

    Hello “Mr. Oxford.” I really like your website — it has helpful tips and I love your Oxford graphic. my only issue is that the ads you have included from wordpress are a bit sleazy and I normally avoid sites with this type of content.
    I dislike complaining and seldom post to any site but I thought you should know at least one response — topics like “dirty little secrets,” “unmask people’s past,” etc. downgrade the sincerity and validity of your content. Usually when I see something like this, I just skip that site entirely. For whatever reason I just wanted to give you a heads up–assuming that it matters to you. Take care…


      lp, thanks for taking the time to comment. The ads help pay for the hosting of the website so are a necessary evil, but i can see your point of view. I’m in conversation with WordPress to see if it is possible to make them more targeted to the content/topic of the blog post.

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