There’s one main thing to complain about when it comes to Windows 8 – that Microsoft changed EVERYTHING. When I first started using it about 18 months ago, I wasn’t a fan at all. But there’s one simple change that’s made it tolerable and given me back a normal experience.
Windows 8 is a monumental shift for one main reason – there’s no “Start” menu anymore, instead, there’s a Start Screen, which gives you access to your programs and other useful information. The problem is that it’s not intuitive (I recognize that’s debatable), and it has an annoying learning curve. After 24 hours of using the Start Screen, was still struggling to find programs quickly. It’s a terrible implementation.
To address this issue, in Windows 8.1 Microsoft added settings to allow users to add the ability to start at the desktop instead of the Start Screen, and to show Apps automatically when loading the Start Screen. The problem with that change is that the option is buried in the menus. You could right click the taskbar, go to Properties, choose the “Taskbar and Navigation” tab, then check the box to “Show Apps Automatically When I Go To Start”. However, this isn’t a really good solution, so don’t bother with all those steps.
The other major issue with Windows 8 has to do with accessing the system settings, typically found in the Control Panel. In Windows 8, the Control Panel is accessed through the “Charms Bar” (known as Hot Corners on Mac), which requires moving your mouse to the top left corner of the screen to access a fly-out menu, then choosing settings.
All of these changes were created to eliminate the need for the Start Menu, although it may be brought back in a future Windows 8.1 update sometime in 2015. But if you found this discussion difficult to follow, then you see the ridiculous logic. Enter the Program “Classic Start Menu”.
Classic Start Menu is free and wonderful. It gives you back the normal Start menu in Windows 8, that’s it. It’s a small program, functioning behind the scenes and with little fanfare. It gives you back exactly what you want, and nothing else.
I recommend downloading Classic Start Menu from Ninite.com (along with other great programs), and once it’s installed, you’ll see your Start Menu exactly where you’d expect it to be, and you will be able to get back to work just the way you used to.