Windows 8 Start Menu

First Impressions - Windows 8 Start Menu

by Larry Neal Gowdy -June 08, 2012 (updated October 6, 2013)

Where's the Start Menu in Windows 8??

Windows 8 Start Menu

Windows 8 Start Menu folder.

As computers continue to be replaced by wireless pads and cell phones, so is the programming being given less emphasis for desktop computers. Whether we like it or not software companies must focus on what is most popular, and so it is understood that Windows® 8 is primarily aimed towards the wireless user. One of the items that got the axe in Windows 8 is the start menu. The start menu might have been the single most important menu in every operating system in the past, but it's gone now, well, at least until we put one back in.

Windows 8 Start Menu and Power Off Icons

Windows 8 Start Menu and Power Off Icons.

There are several different methods of creating a start menu, but the one that I am showing is very simple and ought to work well enough for most people.

Windows 8 Start Menu and Power Off Icons

Windows 8 Start Menu and Power Off Buttons in Metro.

The fast and easy way to create a start menu is to simply double click on the "My Computer" icon on the non-Metro desktop (or single click on the Metro screen) to open the folder that shows all of your folders. Right click once on your main hard drive (usually C:\) and choose "new" to create a new folder on the hard drive. Name the folder "Start Menu" or whatever you prefer. Open your new folder and drag your program icons from the desktop and/or taskbar into the folder. If you do not have an existing icon for a program you can enter into the Programs folder, locate the program you are wanting to use, right click on the program file (i.e. notepad.exe), create a shortcut, and then drag the new shortcut into the Start Menu folder.

After creating the new folder you can right click on the shortcut icon and choose to use a different icon. I chose to use the Microsoft® wave since it reminds me of previous start menu buttons.

Too, since I frequently access hard drives and folders, this type of start menu works fine for me. I still have access to all of my favorite programs plus I also have instant access to all files. I renamed the power-off shortcut as "ZZZ Turn Off" so that it would be listed alphabetically at the bottom of the folder. You can change the size of icons and layout to suit you own preferences, plus resize the folder itself to fit on the screen anyway you want.

To get the start menu link onto the Metro screen all you have to do is right-click the shortcut icon and choose "Pin to Start".

After Windows 8 is released late this year it is expected that several different start menus will be created by different people, but for now a simple folder should work well enough until someone makes a fancy one that has all the features that we want.

And if you are curious about the Power Off button in the graphics, How to Turn Off Windows 8 lists six ideas on how to power off Windows 8 and how to create power off icons.

(Update June 9, 2012: after using the new Start Menu shortcut a while I decided to go ahead and move it (and the power off icon) onto the taskbar by first placing it within the links toolbar (right click on the taskbar, choose properties, then choose the "Toolbars" tab, click on the "Links" box to make the links toolbar visible, click "OK", then drag the Start Menu icon into the links toolbar within the taskbar.) I deleted the two link icons that were already present in the links toolbar, leaving only the Start Menu and 'Turn Off' icons. Now use the mouse to drag the links toolbar to the top of the taskbar. I may later move the Turn Off icon back down to the quick accress section of the taskbar so that I will not accidentally click it while working.)

(Update October 06, 2013: After around a year of using Windows 8 on my computers and on customers' computers, I have found a preference to no longer use any start menu. The Stardock® Start8 menu works well, but I have grown accustomed to keyboard shortcuts, and now I find myself not wanting a start menu at all. We all have different preferences, but luckily for me my preferences are very much liking Windows 8 straight out of the box.)

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Copyright©2012-2013 by Larry Neal Gowdy.
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