The Windows Developer Preview (a.k.a pre-beta version of Windows 8 ) has shown a dramatic change to the Windows Start Menu, in fact, it has been renamed to the Start Screen and it is the first thing you see when you log on to Windows.
The basic idea of this is to a) improve the touch experience on Windows Tablets/Slates and b) merge the usefulness of Windows Vista-era gadgets with the low resource usage of Windows Phone Live Tiles. You can read loads more about the changes on Microsoft’s official Building Windows 8 blog.
Unfortunately, this is slightly jarring for everybody used to the old way of working. Many people have blogged ways to hack the OS to bring back the old Start menu or install new software to provide an equivalent menu. I personally love the changes and certainly don’t want to hack or install unnecessary apps on a pre-beta OS. The problem is, due to the lack of “metro” style immersive apps, or problems with the Start Screen loading on unsupported hardware (e.g. graphics cards), it can be handy to have something similar to the Start Menu present.
A very simple way to do this is by using a feature available since the taskbar debuted in Windows 95!
- Right-click the taskbar
- Select Toolbars > New Toolbar…
- Point it to “C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs”
There you have it, a zero maintenance, familiar Start Menu sitting happily side by side with the Start Screen.
You may want to check out my related article Windows 8 will be Great on a Slate but is it too Late?