Free Windows 8 Start Menu (pokki)
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Pokki is a free digital distribution platform and Windows Shell extension by SweetLabs, Inc. that alters the start menu to a look and feel like the second generation start menu used before Windows 8. The extension also adds additional functionality to the start menu including search, favorites, and popular applications.
In October 2012, Pokki for Windows 8 was released which included functionality to restore the Windows start menu which was replaced in Windows 8 by the start screen. As of January 2013, it had about 1.5 million users.
I have been using Windows 8 for quite a while now but without a touch screen monitor it makes it difficult to really like the Windows 8 start screen and I did find myself missing the Windows 7 start button. There are some tools online including freeware and paid applications that add a Windows 7 start menu to Windows 8 but Pokki so far is my favorite application for adding a Windows start menu to Windows 8 and it is freeware!
When you click on the Pokki Windows 8 start menu button you will see a list of folders/options to the left bar and your favorites on your right. You can search and click the * button next to the application to add it as a new favorite so that it shows up as a quick launch button in the Windows start menu Pokki button.
Pokki is actually a redesigned start menu. I has a better pinning system for frequently used programs. You can install apps directly from the start menu and even add widgets like Facebook and Gmail to display emails and status right on the start menu. And the best of all is - it is completely FREE.
Pokki does more than just being a start menu replacement. Right click on the Pokki start button to select "settings" and it gives you a gold mine of options. By default pokki will configure windows to boot directly to your Desktop instead of going to the Metro UI screen.You can link the "Windows hot key" to the Pokki start button, disable hot corners or associate hot cornets to open the Pokki start menu as well.
StartMenu8 will give you back the classic Windows 7 style start menu. It is fairly configurable and gives you some Windows 8 specific toggles that are very useful. StartMenu8 skips the Windows 8 Start screen and goes straight to the Desktop by default. It also disables hot corners. You can change the Start button icon and choose which links to appear on the right side of the start menu.
The classic shell is a very experienced player in the Start Menu field. It was earlier used to get back the XP start menu in Windows 7. But now it is enhanced to support Windows 8 as well. Nothing much to be said about it as what you get is the exact same Windows 7 start menu.
Vistart was first developed to bring Vista's start button to Windows XP. But it works fine for all later releases as well including the latest Windows 8. Once installed, you will have the good old Start orb in the usual bottom left position. Vistart also re-maps the windows hotkey (on your keyboard) to the start menu instead of the Metro UI.
SweetLabs, which incorporated its version of a Windows 8 Start menu in its free Pokki software package in October 2012, has announced that it will now be pre-installed on all of Lenovo's Windows 8 PCs. Specific financial terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Stardock Start8 can be downloaded for a small fee, but you can check it out for 30 days with its free trial. Start8 has a familiar, simple design but is easily customizable. One of these options allows you to have the Metro Start Screen pop up as a menu.
Power8 is another free app. It also offers a familiar look and feel to previous Windows Start menus. It has a small file size and is customizable, however you will need to know how to do coding to customize this opensource software.
As a result, Microsoft backtracked on this move by stating that Windows 10 will see it re-introduced and as usual, the community took it upon itself to right the situation. A plethora of add-ons for Windows 8 that bring the start menu back have been available for some time and can make the whole Windows 8 experience look and feel much more familiar, even better in some cases.
Pokki is a free digital distribution platform and Windows Shell extension. It was made by SweetLabs, Inc. It gives computers running Windows a mobile app-like interface. It is available for Windows XP and later; the Windows 8 version takes over the Start screen to imitate a look and feel of the second generation Start menu in earlier versions of Windows.
In October 2012, Pokki for Windows 8 was released as a free software download to bring back core things to the Windows Start menu that had been removed from Windows 8. It had about 1.5 million users as of January 2013.
Pokki is a rogue application that supposedly enables the classic start menu in Windows 8. This functionality may seem legitimate and useful, however, research shows that this potentially unwanted program (PUP) infiltrates systems without permission and continually records various information.
Microsoft has replaced the famous START MENU /BUTTON in latest Windows 8 operating system with START SCREEN. This is done to give users a seamless experience across the various touch and types devices available in the market. This change is welcomed by users having touch-screen devices but not by users who don't have the touch functionality in their systems. If you are thinking to uninstall Window 8 or planning to downgrade your system to older operating system just because Start Menu is missing or missing Start Button in Windows 8 is holding you back from installing it on your system, then hang on. Don't proceed further before reading this article which will present you a list of applications which are available on the net to get back the Start Menu (Windows XP or 7 style start button) on Windows 8 and their comparison too (see also How to get Shutdown, Restart & Logoff shortcuts in Windows 8). List is being sorted on the basis of free or paid apps available to restore old start menu in Windows 8.Also Read: How to update Windows 8.1 for freeApplications to Bring Back Windows XP or 7 Style Start Menu in Windows 8 (FREEWARE)Wentutu Start Menu: First in our list is, Wentutu Start Menu, a freeware utility, that helps users to get the Windows 7 style start menu in Windows 8. Wentutu Start Menu has the functionality to directly boot into the desktop mode completely disabling the new start screen in Windows 8. Wentutu Start Menu application is very easy to use and can be exited anytime by selecting the "Exit StartMenu" option under Shut down button. You can configure Wentutu Start Menu on Settings Window according to your needs.This utility works great on Windows 8 system except for Start button blink problem which will occur whenever mouse cursor is hovered on Wentutu start button. Wentutu Start Menu for Windows 8 currently supports 14 languages. Download Wentutu Start Menu app. Wentutu Start Menu app installation on Windows 8 VideoStartW8 Menu App: Second in the list is StartW8 Menu, another freeware application that lets users to bring back the traditional Windows 7 style Start menu in Windows 8. This application allows users to fully customize the Start menu along with the functionality to disable the Metro UI on Windows 8. You can choose which menu items to show in StartW8 menu. StartW8 Menu app currently supports 18 languages. Download StartW8 app StartW8 app installation on Windows 8 VideoClassic Shell App: Third in the list is reliable classic shell utility which has been there since Windows Vista & 7 editions, to provide users Windows XP style start menu in Windows Vista & 7. Classic Shell is been further updated to make it compatible with Windows 8. Classic shell offers three styles of Start menu for Windows 8: 1) Windows classic 2) Windows XP 3) Windows Vista/Windows 7. Classic shell app has two settings mode: 1) Basic settings 2) All Settings. You can change to all settings mode to customize the Start menu settings and vice-versa. Classic shell also provides direct access to Metro apps in desktop mode. In case you messed up with settings, reset the Start menu skin to default under Skin tab in basic settings. Download Classic shell Start Menu app for Windows 8. Classic Shell app installation on Windows 8 VideoWin8StartButton App: Win8StartButton is a tiny application, which provides the seamless experience to users by creating Start Menu's GUI exactly like Metro Graphic User interface (GUI), it's more like a mini Start screen of Windows 8. Win8StartButton has all the functionality that are available in other applications, the only downside of this app is that few option names are only in German language, for example, un-installation message. Download Win8StartButton app.Win8Start app installation on Windows 8 VideoClassic Start 8 App: Classic Start 8 is another freeware app, has the all familiar features of Windows 7 style Start menu, including one click access to Search box, Recent Programs, Control Panel etc. Download Classic Start 8 app Classic Start 8 app installation on Windows 8 VideoPokki Start Menu App: Last in freeware list is, Pokki Start Menu app for Windows 8 which has a distinct GUI than other applications mentioned above. Pokki app has features like Direct boot to Desktop mode, disable all hot corners, Banner notification pop up etc.All in all, Pokki start menu for Windows 8 app provides awesome user experience. Pokki app also has an in-house apps store to download apps. Download Pokki for Windows 8 App Pokki Start Menu app installation on Windows 8 VideoThere are two more free apps available on the net: 1) Start Button 8 2) ViStart Windows 8 Start menu. Unfortunately these apps didn't work as expected. Thus could not find mention in our list.Applications to get Windows XP or 7 Style Start Menu in Windows 8 (PAID) StartIsBack App: First in paid list is, StartIsBack app, which brings back the Windows 7 start menu with same features and functionality along with fully customizable settings. Download StartIsBack App 30 days trial version. StartIsBack app installation on Windows 8 Video Stardock Start8: Second in list is, Stardock's Start8 which offers to get back Windows 7 style start menu in Windows 8. Start8 has the features like pin desktop & metro apps to start menu, boot directly to Windows 8 desktop mode, automatically matches with the color of taskbar, unified search box etc. Download Stardock Start8 App 30 days trial version.If you wish to continue it further, purchase the license key for $4.99. Stardock Start8 app installation on Windows 8 VideoComparisonIn paid apps category, Stardock's Start8 app is clearly an upper hand on any other paid apps listed here or available on the net. In free apps there is stiff competition between Classic shell start menu app and Pokki start menu app. Users comfortable only with traditional start menu should go to classic shell app, on the other hand users who love to try new app while maintaining the same old layout, can try Pokki app. 2b1af7f3a8