Menu
Don't wait for Windows 9: How to get a Start Menu, windowed Metro apps today

Don't wait for Windows 9: How to get a Start Menu, windowed Metro apps today

Here's how to bring a Start menu and windowed Metro apps to Windows 8.1

Between the release of the PC-friendly spring update for Windows 8.1 and the newfound introduction of universal "buy once, play anywhere" Windows apps, Microsoft is doing all it can to spur the One Microsoft vision while, well, letting a PC be a PC and a tablet be a tablet. But, sadly, the most anticipated improvements have yet to arrive.

At Build 2014, Microsoft operating system head Terry Myerson teased bringing the Start Menu to Windows 8, along with the ability to run universal Metro apps in desktop windows rather than the full screens they consume today. (See screenshot above.) Myerson didn't say when the features were going live, however--only that they'd eventually appear in a later update for Windows 8.1 users. Does that mean later this year? The Windows "Threshold" update rumored for April 2015? Windows 9? No one knows.

But you don't have to wait to get those killer features. With the first universal apps hitting the various Windows Stores this week, here's how to bring a Start menu and windowed Metro apps to Windows 8.1 today.

The return of the Start Menu

A slew of Start menu replacements hit the web the second the Start Menu-less Windows 8 hit the streets, but when it comes time to put your cash on the line, the decision boils down to just two programs: Stardock's Start8 and Classic Shell.

Those reviews have all the nitty-gritty details, but you'll probably want to start with Classic Shell since it's donationware. Classic Shell includes options for both Windows XP- and Windows 7-style Start menus, along with numerous customization options. You can tinker with what's listed in the Classic Shell Start Menu, or even change the look of its Start button to an icon of your choice. Cool stuff, indeed.

Start8, meanwhile, offers either a Windows 7 Start Menu or a Modern UI-tinged Windows 8 Start Menu that's more in line with what Microsoft itself is cooking up. The $5 Start8 app is more polished and easier to use than the open-source Classic Shell, which is chock full of ugly buttons. Start8 still offers plenty of options and features, though, and you can't go wrong with either program.

Windowed desktop Metro apps

Sure, the recent update to Windows 8.1 adds plenty of mouse-friendly features, but it still doesn't let you use Modern apps in desktop windows. If you want that capability today, you only have one place to turn: The utterly superb ModernMix software.

Again offered by Stardock--do you get the feeling that the folks at Stardock weren't impressed by Windows 8?--ModernMix exists solely to let you run Windows Store apps in desktop Windows. It's wonderful if you use Windows 8's native apps, such as email, calendar, and Music, all of which stick to the Modern UI.

ModernMix runs like a charm even with the updates recently introduced to Windows 8.1. It's well worth the $5 admission price.

Bringing it all together

There you have it: For less than the cost of a pizza, you can have Windows 9's most-anticipated improvements right now. And once you've welcomed a Start Menu replacement and ModernMix into your workflow--especially paired with the Windows 8.1 spring Update's tremendous tweaks --you might just be surprised how well those newfangled Modern apps translate to the familiar desktop experience.


Follow Us

Join the newsletter!

Or

Sign up to gain exclusive access to email subscriptions, event invitations, competitions, giveaways, and much more.

Membership is free, and your security and privacy remain protected. View our privacy policy before signing up.

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags Microsoftoperating systemssoftwareWindowshow-toWindows 8Windows 8.1

Featured

Slideshows

Meet the leading female front runners of the Kiwi channel

Meet the leading female front runners of the Kiwi channel

Reseller News honoured the leading female front runners of the New Zealand channel at the 2018 Women in ICT Awards (WIICTA) in Auckland. The awards honoured standout individuals across seven categories, spanning Entrepreneur; Innovation; Rising Star; Shining Star; Community; Technical and Achievement.

Meet the leading female front runners of the Kiwi channel
Meet the top performing customer-centric Microsoft channel partners

Meet the top performing customer-centric Microsoft channel partners

Microsoft honoured leading partners across the channel following a year of customer innovation and market growth in New Zealand. The 2018 Microsoft Partner Awards recognised excellence within the context of the end-user, spanning a host of emerging and established providers.

Meet the top performing customer-centric Microsoft channel partners
Reseller News launches new-look Awards at 2018 Judges’ Lunch

Reseller News launches new-look Awards at 2018 Judges’ Lunch

Introducing the Reseller News Innovation Awards, launched to the channel at the 2018 Judges’ Lunch in Auckland. With more than 70 judges now part of the voting panel, the new-look awards will reflect the changing dynamics of the channel, recognising excellence across customer value and innovation - spanning start-ups, partners, distributors and vendors.

Reseller News launches new-look Awards at 2018 Judges’ Lunch
Show Comments