Parallels 9 allows users to add-on a start menu to Windows 8

Lenovo isn't the only company kicking Microsoft in the shins with start menu add-ons. The world famous virtual machine software, Parallels Desktop, allows users to add a start menu back to Windows 8 with the single click of a button in its latest iteration.

Users who install Windows 8 onto a virtual machine can also install add-ons which emulate an "old Windows" style start menu by navigating to settings. The Windows 8 start menu, known as Start8, works in both Coherence and "Like A PC" modes.

As companies try to bypass Microsoft Windows 8's start screen with a more familiar interface they might just be tearing down Microsoft's bridge to the future. If experiences between various machines are different from company to company, we might begin to see an unorganized crumbling of different navigation - as seen with Google Android's various launcher skins (HTC Sense, Samsung TouchWiz, etc.).

Do you think companies are going too far by implementing start menus into Microsoft's latest operating system?

Source: Arstechnica


Reader comments

Parallels 9 allows users to add-on a start menu to Windows 8


Yup, but that's a bit different. Seeking a 3rd party solution for your specific problem is one thing. This is Parallels though, which allows you to run the OS on a Mac, etc. So it's a bit more egregious than just installing an app.

Oh, alright. When I finally get a PC, I'll check this out (hopefully a new mac too), so one will have the button and one won't. I'm tired of my slow mac with its Intel Core 2 Duo.

Samsung also provides a start dock similar to that found in Vista. It even has a start menu. It's called Quick Starter.

Its just sad, people are weak these days, a tiny change in the scheme of things can knot the knickers of consumers. Soft as bird crap i say. Just go with it, its was even previewed before release, ms deserve the respect of at least trying to understand what the tiles are about.... Its another part of the house, like "windows'

MS take note! User is the King. If Windows users demand having it back, you should give that option. Yes, I am big fan of Start menu. No need to take it away!

This is exactly the point.  The start menu really is superior to the start screen on a standard PC.  There is no getting around that fact.
But on a tablet device, the start screen shines.
Thus, if you use your PC in a standard way (keyboard, mouse, desk, etc.) then all this Metro crap is really just a distraction.

The thing is that users are not demanding it. The companies are Just putting crapware on their PCs.
I know a lot of people (most of which are casual users) that do not regret the Start menu at all.

Exactly, nobody really cares anymore, sites just write these articles for the hits. This crapware has ALWAYS been on PCs. My last laptop was a Sony with Windows 7. It had some weird wavy launcher at the top of the screen for quick access to various programs. I removed it pretty much instantly. This isn't any different. And anyway, this is the beauty of Windows, it's customisable, if you want to add an old style Start Menu, then there's lots of options to do it. It's not like it destroys Microsofts' vision, people can use their computers as they wish.
It's time we all moved on and articles like this stopped appearing. It's like every time someone writes a program to edit text (Notepad++, Ultraedit, Textpad, and the gazillion others) there would be articles saying "so-and-so company is destroying Microsofts' vision of how we edit text". Microsoft provide the groundwork, people have different ideas about things and provide other solutions.

I think the companies selling the products have a better understanding of how many users are demanding it, in comparison to your anecdotal evidence. Couple that with the outrage on the web and you got yourself a solid case.

Uh, where has everyone been while this little thing called the Windows 8.1 Preview has been available? Users wanted a Start button, and everyone who doesn't already have Preview will have the option to have it back in October, all without the need for some third-party add-on.
Really, the only people still complaining about the lack of the Start button/menu are the same people who never caught on that you can press the Windows key and start typing the name of the application you want, typically 1-3 letters is all it takes before the app magically appears at the top of the list. The pressing Enter gets you on your way. Easy-peasy, and no sea of nested menus or apps to wade through. This feature has been available since Vista. Really, people it is time to get with it already.

Many users really do prefer using the mouse to navigate. My grandma and parents fall into this category. They have never had interest in taking a hand off the mouse to start typing. They like menus. For them, the smaller start menu would be preferable to the large start screen. That's why it should be an option, at least for mouse-driven systems. The start screen is much friendlier to a touch screen than a mouse.

People say they want to navigate the Start menu. But it's painful-painful to watch, and painful for them to find what they are looking for. The thing is the capability is built in to the Start menu to make it easier to naviage, but no one uses it. How many people ever pinned their commonly use applications to the Start menu or to the Taskbar. Even in a work world surrounded by developers, I appear to be the only one. Max 2 clicks and the application I want is running. (Or max 4 key presses for speed.) Meanwhile, my hear my cohorts repeatedly sigh in frustration as they search the Start menu...

That's exactly what MSFT does not need to do! Windows 8 is an excellent upgrade from Windows 7. If MSFT listened to users for technical they wouldn't have pushed a GUI or Internet Services! Years later the Ray Ozzie memo still rings true!

User is not king. If the user was, we would rarely have innovation. Anyways, the search in Win8 far exceeds any start button. People just need to adapt!

Wonder if MS will find a way to block that. I hope not. I haven't gotten a W8 tablet/laptop but personally I'm glad the new way Windows is heading. Iono I just don't see the big deal. Guess some can't transition better than others.

You could always reskin the heck out of Windows. I've used Stardock products to really customize windows to the point where it was unrecognizable. Good or bad its always been a very easy OS to play with.

Start8 is great! Using desktop metro doesn't work me at home or the office. Win 8 is definitely not made for the corporate environment Microsoft's biggest mistake. Even after a 900 million loss will they ever learn?

Hope so. Too bad that companies with this "we know better than our customers what they need" only learn it the hard way. Like Nokia a few years back, "touch screen interface will never replace keyboard."

Good for you. Start8 is just redundant for me and serves no useful purpose. But if it makes you more comfortable for you then great. Just great.

Native VPN and drive encryption support, easier RDP solutions, heightened security...

You, sir, are absolutely right. Microsoft's colorful new start screen most certainly clashes with the drab colors of your "corporate" BMW and ergo is a complete failure.


Microsoft's downfall is their inability to realize that we are a society comprised chiefly of lemmings, in which innovation is seen as a step backwards. If Microsoft would only see this and conform to making prettier, more over-prized, sub-par products they could be popping champaign with the Apple crew.

Blindly following something in the name of "innovation" is just as lemming-like. People should be allowed to like what they want and not just be expected blindly follow every shiny new thing. Personally, I'm not a fan of the start screen at work as I find it far more cumbersome and less efficient than the old start menu. I'm sure it works great on a tablet, but not so much for desktop users. I still prefer Windows 7 as it's still the best OS that Microsoft has ever done!

There is a difference between blindly follow and understanding the 'innovation' and advocate for it. You would think of the Windows 8 is good for touch screen, but I see the start screen that brings me a plethora of information with a click of the start button.
Imagine what the live tiles can bring to your workflow or in future all programs games will be in the start screens utilizing the live tiles. But the developers will not be bother to push the limit if everyone just backtrack to the start menu.
Start menu, launch weather app to check weather... Really?

Yeah, I hear what you're saying - but there should be an option for everyone though. People have worked with the start menu for almost 20 years and like the way that it worked. The start screen just feels like the bad old days of the desktop, with thousands of icons cluttering everything. Yes, you can customise it, but I've already seen numerous people that don't and it's just filled with crap. On Windows 7 I turned off ALL icons on my desktop, and have < 20 items pinned to the taskbar.

On W7 if I need an item in the start menu, I press Start, type the first few letters, select the item and I'm good to go. It remembers what my most used items are, and they're generally what I click on first. The W8 start screen doesn't have the most recently used stuff, and it's jarring to be dumped out to a full-screen display instead of something that sits neatly in the corner.
It really does feel like two OS's joined together - that's easy to see when you try to run a full-screen app and use your desktop on a second monitor. The full-screen app will switch out in favour of the desktop, which isn't what you wanted at the time. Yes, you can dock it, but only at a restricted size (MS is fixing that).

I do like the live tiles, and that's primarily what I use the screen for anyway. It's general app launching, finding stuff quickly, and the disparity between full-screen apps and the desktop that bothers me. Don't get me started on the charms bar!

You should be very pleased with the 8.1 improvements then. Click Star Button and type to get your program (capability has been there in 8.0 but the "button" has not). Extending the desktop background to the Start Screen will resolve the jarring experience (I still don't see how this is a complaint - but fine, it's taken care of), and if you prefer as you indicate you do, you can even set your Start Screen to be the all apps listing and set the sort to be "most used". Also, you should like that the Start Screen can now remain on your second display, as well as any Modern app when using the desktop on another screen. Yep, I see now how 8.1 will appeal to the masses! I like 8.1 a lot, but until now hadn't considered how important these more subtle improvements were. Great work MS!

From my own perspective, everything I mentioned is really just minor grumbles rather than serious complaints... It's great that they seem to have ticked all the boxes in 8.1. Can't wait! Thanks for the info

This made me LOL, so thank you for that.
Clearly the points that I made were "blind." Certainly no desktop can or will ever benefit from VPN, drive encryption, RDP and improved security. Much less in the corporate environment!
But seriously, thanks for proving my point Mr. Lemming #8452. Instead of fully reading my comment, researching the new product and understanding what it's about you just go and jump on the hate bandwagon.
There isn't a single thing that the old Start Menu did which the new Modern UI doesn't do better. It's more customizable, provides better information faster, more easily searchable and better organized. Of course, all these qualities are useless for non-touch desktops and the corporate environment. Jeez...
I really couldn't care less if people who refuse to learn new things and accept innovation are given options to stay in the past. Just stop clogging the internet with posts about how 56k modems are better than broadband and you want MS to bring DOS back because that was so much more efficient....

In XP you could use the Start screen in classic mode or the new start screen. I preferred the new, but many users preferred the old. Why Microsoft decided this time not to afford users a choice I don't understand. Choices are good for those of us with enough brain power to make decisions. I suppose I just answered my own question. There aren't many of us non-morons left it would seem.

I was referring to the latter part of your comment re: the start menu screen, which is the topic of the article and what people are complaining about. The other stuff you mention is nice, but irrelevant to the conversation, and I never said any of those things weren't benefits.

How am I on the "hate bandwagon"? I have Windows 8, both at work and at home. I said "I'm not a fan of the start screen at work as I find it far more cumbersome and less efficient than the old start menu". Everything you mention is fine for touch screens, or personal use, but it gets in the way and slows me down when I'm trying to get things done. I didn't express my outrage over Windows 8 as a whole - I just said I wasn't a fan of the start screen. Quick, grab the pitchforks! Someone doesn't like the same thing you do!!!

You seem to love putting words in peoples mouths to prove points that only exist in your head. DOS and 56k modems? What are you smoking? You should call yourself Straw Man, because you certainly love straw man arguments.

My point was that blinding following "innovation" is just as lemming-like as those refusing to follow it. Just because something is "new" doesn't mean it's "innovative" - that's something the Apple keynote speakers don't realise! haha

I think the start screen has potential, it's just not quite there yet but could be after a couple of revisions with more focus on desktop users.

You replied to a comment I made in reply to Jim_MAY. He said:

Win 8 is definitely not made for the corporate environment Microsoft's biggest mistake.

This comment struck me as ignorant, so I proceeded to note some major improvements that Windows 8 (and Server 2012) offer the corporate environment. 

I called the new Modern UI innovation not because it is new, but because it is innovative. Over the years the start menu has become outdated and near-useless. As you yourself mentioned in another comment, in Windows 7 searching through the un-organized list of programs is rather pointless when you can simply search for what you want and get to it much more quickly. I continue to use Windows 7 at work and try to avoid hitting "all-programs" like it's a productivity plague.

Yes, Modern UI is Microsoft's attempt at merging touch interfaces with the desktop environment. It is my opinion that this is a great goal for both Microsoft as a company and all of us that use their products, but that is besides the point. What I meant by saying that you were jumping on the "hate bandwagon" is that you, like almost everyone else against Modern UI, are entrenched in a train of thought dictating that because Modern UI is touch-interface-friendly it must be less efficient on the desktop.

In my experience, there is absolutely nothing that I miss from the old Start Menu. Anything it did I can do in Modern UI, typically more easily. I use the interface in my desktop PC as well as my girlfriend's laptop. I have a Windows 8 Phone which has a similar interface, and have played around with the Surface RT, which I happen to think is a brilliant product. The interface is sleek, modern and efficient across every platform. 

Maintaining the look and feel and the user experience across the whole spectrum of products is Microsoft's vision, one which is much more innovative than companies like Google and Apple allow for themselves. The latter part of my comment, the one you claim to address, was intended as a jab at said companies (Apple in particular) who rely on marketing to make everyone believe they're innovating rather than actually doing it. 

I apologize for the assumption I made in replying to your comment (that you were an uninformed end-user who is simply spouting off complaints without even trying the product). It is simply how it came off, given your assumption that I was suggesting people blindly assume anything new is innovative. I do, however, maintain that what you and many others keep saying - that Modern UI sacrifices desktop compatibility for touch-screen functionality - is completely wrong.

Choices... choices are generally good, but not always. I like Windows over OS X because it offers choices. I like Windows over Linux because it doesn't offer so many choices that simple tasks become a hassle. In this case, Microsoft's vision is to unify their platform so as to streamline usage for everyone. If they offered people the option to revert back to the old interface then they would be shooting themselves in the foot. 

The beauty of Windows, though, is that there's always a 3rd party alternative to fix what you don't like. That's fine. Like others have said, if it bothers you enough that you will go out of your way to install a less-than-perfect 3rd party application to resolve it, then suit yourself. To have big-name companies like this (and Lenovo) including alternatives as a standard, though, is a bit scary as it may have the (unintended?) effect of stunting the platform's growth.

As for your straw-man argument comment, you gave me a simplistic complaint and I provided a simplistic retort. I wouldn't take that as an argument :)

You make a lot of very good points, and I agree with most of them... But I did have a few comments:

"because Modern UI is touch-interface-friendly it must be less efficient on the desktop"

I might be mincing words here, but it's about cause-and-effect. I (and others) don't go from seeing it is touch-friendly to assuming it will therefore be less efficient. I start with realising that it actually IS less efficient, after repeated use, and believe that the reason might be because it was made touch-friendly first.

The start screen is actually the thing I dislike least, as it does have many good points. But the more I used the charms-bar and app-switcher, the more I hated using them. I shouldn't have to go to the corner of the screen and waggle about to make some hidden thing appear. It's unintuitive and less efficient than clicking a button.

I had to look up the keyboard shortcuts and use those instead. It's definitely easier that way, however, I think this is a workaround and not a solution - especially for less technical people who can't/won't remember keyboard shortcuts.

I'd prefer to have it bound into right-click or middle-click or even some gesture that I can make anywhere on the screen. But the reality is, that the easiest way is to put a button on the screen for people to access.

"that Modern UI sacrifices desktop compatibility for touch-screen functionality - is completely wrong"

I just think that they didn't quite hit the mark with it. It's not a failure, they're probably 90% there already - they just need to tweak it a bit more to suit desktop users. 8.1 will hopefully address a lot, if not all, of the issues.

"If they offered people the option to revert back to the old interface then they would be shooting themselves in the foot"

I agree and don't think they should revert back... they should just give people a lot of the things they liked from Windows 7 such as the most used programs. It sounds like this is addressed in 8.1 too. 

At this point let's agree to disagree, and reconvene after 8.1 is released ;)

I disagree. I don't miss the start menu at all. my start screen is fully customized into neatly organized groups of desktop applications I use most often and some live tiles for quick glancable info. i access it with the press of a button and know exactly where I've placed every tile for every program I use, programs that coupled with the performance enhancements of W8 and my SSD load up instantly in the desktop environment. far more efficient and faster than scrolling through an alphabetized list if you ask me. don't miss it at all. only thing I thought was counter intuitive for a traditional mouse and keyb was not having a visual cue of where to click to bring up the start screen as most desktop users wouldn't rely on a hardware button to go home like on mobile devices. I like they are adding a button instead of having to guess there's an invisible hotspot below the corner.

Well thankfully I worked in an environment that required us to use Windows 8 and we all loved it. Even the manager! (For context, I work as a development team leader for a company providing software to the fire and rescue services in the UK)

You mean like going from command line to a GUI? It maybe going from Windows groups in 3.1 to the Start menu? Or making a crazy crayola GUI that removes 8 bit and 16bit legacy support? All those things had people saying if it isn't broke don't fix it also. Guess what? Change is mandatory for progress. I will be using all these comments like yours when I remind people yet again how they always complain when something is changed only to try and hold onto that change in 6 years later....

What I meant was that the start menu right now perfectly fine and we shouldn't have to try to fix it, just let it be.

I would be fine with this if it was a MICROSOFT MADE CLEARLY MARKED SETTING. Right now, Windows is becoming fragmented. Sad.

Thankfully this appears to be opt-in (as opposed to Lenovo's deal which is an opt-out scenario). I see no harm in giving users an option to get a Start menu replacement. After all, that's one of the reasons Windows is so popular: you can customize it to your heart's content. But when you force it down people's throats, that's when I call foul.

Furthermore, this doesn't look half as hideous as the other options. It stays true to the "flatness" of Metro UI and the overall look is simple and similar to the menu in Windows 7. I'm all for flexibility if the user requires it but it is pretty obvious some ways are better than the others...this is one such example. Almost looks like Microsoft made it (even has a shortcut to the Windows 8 Start Screen).

That said. I see absolutely nothing wrong with Windows 8's Start Screen and can find no reason to 'replace' it. Oh well.

Block customization and personalized addons? Be liken apple? Heresy I say... Go back to to mac!!!

I was worried that I'd miss the start button, but that wasn't a problem. You can just right click the bottom left and have more options than W7 (or at least more that I use).

There is a "Windows button" on the keyboard as well as the right "Charm menu". How many more Start/Windows buttons do you need.

Actually, I agree with sholokov. I use RDP every day. I have no issues with 8. There are many ways to get to the start button.

RDP could be a pain. Teamviewer has been updated to include shortcut buttons for start and charms (similar to a shortcut button for Ctrl-Alt-Del). Maybe RDP could be updated to include that too?

Yeah it is extremely difficult with windowed RDPs. It is the only reason the start button needed to come back.

Personally I couldn't wait to get rid of the overrated heap of crap (in my opinion of course!). If you really wanted to find something the search would never work properly and you'd end up having the entire screen covered in cascading folders and menus ... ughh! Of course I realize I'm in an apparent minority here, but we all didn't love the f#$king start menu!

The companies are just doing what Microsoft refuses to do: attend to their customers wishes.
Maybe when tons of them are doing that, Microsoft will stop acting like the stubborn child and put the Star Button Menus back in Windows desktop mode.
That "bridge" is a bridge that will colapse sooner or later. Furthermore, these add-ons don't go against the Metro-screen idea. They just add functionality to the desktop mode without the stupid screen-jumping that Microsoft has imposed on W8.
The only thing Microsoft should frown upon is the huge amounts of money they charge for these apps...BUT, again, it's a service and only those willing to pay will pay for it.

Microsoft engineers observed the way users used windows, they listened to feedback, and using this data they created the start screen and the ribbon bar in explorer. Quite literally they created this by listening to users. Go look up some of the blog posts of MS engineers.
I for one respect that MS is sticking to their design- it's better, and you don't have to like it but if you want to use something less efficient then go ahead and do it yourself.
The biggest problem is people don't want to try new things, so how could they reasonably expect people to try the new interface if they allowed you to use the old one? It wouldn't matter if the new interfac shit money- people like you would rather use the old one than try something new (god forbid).

When Win8  first came out I gave Start8 a try on my non-touch laptop, but once I got used to the Win8 interface using my Surface (without Start8) I found the Start8 menu mostly uneccessary even on a non-touch PC.
However for the old start menu to be completely obsolete, Microsoft needs to make it easier to find certain Windows features and advanced user controls in Windows 8 insted of having to use the Search feature, because Search is only useful when you know what you are looking for and I for one don't care to keep remembering the names of all MS Win tools for me to find them.
Secondly Microsoft also needs to put back into Win8 advanced wifi network configuration feature UIs that are in Win7 without having to use command prompt in Win8 to use them.

Win+X, boom. Yes, you can customize it.

What "advanced UI" is present in 7 but not 8 for network? I think you just can't find it...

Next time try to use Bing to search for it yourself before dismissing it as not true.
This is just the first link I found there a lot of others that mention this deficiency from Windows 8 as well.
And it is a major issue for those that just can't bother doing it throug command prompt. Not to mention that you can no longer set up ad-hoc wifi networks in Win8 something I use often on my Win7 Desktop.

I have been able to manage every type of wireless network I could in Win 7. I have been able to connect to our corporate WiFi that uses mac adress SSID visibility and it uses AD passthrough authentication. That's about the most advanced WiFi I have ever encountered.

Ad hoc isn't actually an issue though, unless you have older hardware. You can use netsh to create a network where your computer is the router, but your wireless adapter needs to support it. I've encountered one machine that didn't support it though. I'm sure if I looked I could find a third party program to set up true ad hoc.

The problem with netsh is that you need to use cmd because MS did not bother to create UIs for it, which is a real shame as I don't really like working in cmd.

Oh come now, learning a few basic commands is so easy a caveman can do it, and typing is always faster than mousing around a UI.

However if you really couldn't be bothered to remember, it's as easy as writing two batch scripts- one to turn on hosted wlan, and another to turn it off.

By better you mean something that looks like a cheap imitation of a badly done XP skin and adds no useful functionality?

I like the live tiles of the START screen. What I don't like is when you install software it's automatically pinned making it unorganized. It's annoying especially if you have named groups.

windows 8.1 rtm and its leaked on internet and you keep talking about win8.0? you need to find whats new in 8.1 really :)

This shit needs to stop. People need to grow up and adopt. I use Windows 8 all day, and I'm a front end developer and designer.

Well sadly, some don't. If Microsoft wants sales, they need to allow this stuff. Why do you think they are adding the start button back? Not because Microsoft feels it's good, they are listening to the complaints that windows 7 is better because it has a stupid button. -_-

Wpcentral editors have you lost all ability to see clearly and think critically? "tearing down Microsoft bridge to the future" LOL They are doing what Microsoft should have done. Allow the option for the old start menu! Hell Microsoft use to offer the classic shell for those windows users who refused to move to aero and look where aero is now - gone. So stop making a big deal about companies and OEMs who is in the business of making money and that means they need to make their product attractive. Blame Microsoft for their shoddy rickety bridge to the future that tossed users who don't know how to swim into the deep metro ocean to drown!

The reason Microsoft did not want to put the "option" in was because they knew that the majority of people would put it back on and simply ignore the new interface. They were trying to get rid of the old thinking of how design and digital interaction worked. So I would say that wpcentral was correct in saying "tearing down Microsoft's bridge to the future".

They nailed it. This is just more people refusing to learn something new. Almost everyone that uses it, eventually sees it is better without the UNNECESSARY and cluttery start menu.

The Start menu as you knew it from 95 to Win 7 is not needed. I am glad they didn't bring it back in 8.1. When you actually sit down and learn the differences 8 is vastly more productive and quicker doing power user tasks than 7 was. I am more if a power user than 99% of the computer users out there and can do everything I did before faster and easier. The start menu is tired and old, let it due in piece. Dint be lazy and learn something new.

W8 wasn't meant to be more of the same. This was a bold step for Microsoft. I, for one, like the new interface. Give it a chance, stop trying to make it what it was.

Since this is installed on primarily a Mac users system it makes sense for them not to be confused. They get very confused by the lack of a button or icon. Us Windows users just uninstall the Poki software.

Idk why everyone talks so much trash about win8 its actually so nice and clean.. I dont even miss that start button

So you're telling me you have your entire taskbar filled with icons? Don't they realize older folks don't like change? Personally, without a touch screen I'm getting quite sick of Windows 8's navigation features. I'm seriously considering investing in Start8 and Modern Mix.

Don't listen to these smart-asses. Windows 8.1 will help a lot if you really need your start button.
On the 8.1 preview (which won't be exactly the same as 8.1 when it's actually released in October) when you right click the Start button, it bring up a list like the old start menu with settings & control panel links, a shutdown down button and some other things.

Don't you realize that as you run programs, your taskbar shows you what programs are running?

And I actually have an old umpc with a really tiny resolution I made into a car radio. I use the taskbar for the media controls- play/pause/next/etc. If the start button were there, I wouldn't have enough room for all the icons. Why do you need a visual indicator? Do you forget where it is? Do you forget you have a button dedicated to it on your keyboard?

I think its more about having a list of program & things that aren't currently running.
Hopefully no one has trouble finding programs that they are using. LOL
And it's not about having the Start button visually present, but what happens when you click the Start button.
I have no problem with it, but I see how it's not as convenient for a lot of people.

Yes, when my tablet is in portrait mode I frequently run out of taskbar space. The only good thing about the wasted spot is that now win+x is easily accessible when you don't have a keyboard.

I see this one provides access to the start screen rather than disabling metro completely, which is a step up from the others. I think. Haven't actually tried any others. I recognize that the start screen is logically superior to the start menu in every way, but we can't all be perfect.

Metro/modernUI apps have their uses, yes even on desktops, and when people finally stop bitching and moaning about "ugh apps on a desktop!" they'll see the usefulness too.

Do people really have that much of an issue not having the start button? I almost never used it in xp and by win8 I completely lost the need for it. For crying out loud what is everyone 90 and have bad time adopting to small tweaks like that?

You know, if fear of new wasn't so strong, people would figure out how to work Windows 8 rather quickly and wouldn't need this.
If people really use these add-ons that much, then it will do one of two things (or both), it will fill a need and make people happy or it will force MS to make a solution beyond what they have already done with 8.1. Either way, no big deal as I see it.

So what the big 'future'? 
To be in a water tight compartment with little or no option to customize was the reason i never liked Mac OS and iOS. 
Adding mere start menu is not a fragmentation but actually a 'bridge' between those who are power users and those traditional Windows OS users who are not tech savvy. Anyway it is an option - so who dont need to use can leave the option but for those adopting the new operating system and are traditionalists (that start button is a headstart which will help them to adjust and of course they will slowly try out the new Metro UI). If the Metro UI is superior it will stand strong but if it is inferior it will eventually crumble... if  the metro UI is as good as it is claimed to be no need to fear everyone will eventually jump to it.
If they want to make the Windows UI truly Metro let them do away with the Desktop Mode and place more options on the Metro UI, with no need to click and open the Desktop mode. MSFT herself could not achieve the true Metro environment . So adding a mere start menu is not a big disaster.

So I really don't understand what the big deal is with the Start Button. Ppl just need yo get over it. Is it really that important? No.

You know, I've found that I don't need it anymore once I learned the new UI, but it sure was convenient particularly on non-touch PCs, and I can understand people's frustration when you spend 15 minutes looking for control panel the first time. LOL

The search couldn't be easier. Type "control panel". Its also ALWAYS been on the side bar of file directory. That never changed.

I find no real reason for a program/addition like this. The Windows 8 Start Screen is better in many crucial ways. However, some people clearly want the flexibility and I'm not opposed to a neatly done way of implementing this.

This particular one is rather nice because it tries to stay true to both, the Metro UI and the Aero interface. The design is something similar to Windows 7's menu (except a little flatter). They even have shortcuts to Metro apps and the Start Screen itself. In short, it allows the finicky ones the means to access their programs without being thrown into the Start Screen (their biggest gripe) while still retaining the core element of Windows 8 - Metro. Nicely done and I rather like it. Too bad Lenovo decided to install junk like Pokki instead of something actually useful like this.

It's obvious that they are putting the start button there to sale more computers, How many people do you honestly know with Windows 8 on their computers? I know maybe 5; I've had people ask me to re-install Windows 7 on computers that came with Windows 8. It's not that anyone is a fanboy or an idot, the facts are the facts; the majority just doesn't like the Metro UI on non touch devices.

Hypocrites, have no problem with their droids or pads but somehow Windows 8 is so difficult to use people go to these lengths to keep it in the stone age. Just go back to dos, luddites.

Just seeing pics of the old start screen mixed in with the Windows 8 look just bugs me lol. I really do not get the big deal about this whole Start button BS or whatever lol.

Can someone please find any evidence anywhere of anyone saying they just loved the Start Menu on any version of Windows before it was removed from Win8?

It's classic... You miss it after you don't have it.... People already take it for granted :(

Win+X people really need to learn this. Every other tech at work has finally embraced windows 8 after I was able to show them Win+X. It is way more useful than start.

Yeah. Windows 8 should be like this. They dont suppose to add the live tile. Just they should make Windows 7 with metro Design.

Microsoft should put the Start button back, but make it optional.  Just check a box and you have the current system.  Surely it can't be that hard to do.  You shouldn't force consumers into change suddenly.  Let them slowly adapt.

This is really getting annoying. It's like when win95 came out the first time everyone would b...h about the start button. Why is it there, why did they make the menu, why just not leave it as it was in win3.1. Where would we be now if companies started implementing the win3.1 look in win95? So this thing with the start button and the menu now is prety much the same thing. Win8 is great as it is in fact it si much more. Leave it as it is. And if someone really can't live without the stupid old age start button let them search online for addons which i'm sure are plenty to find.

Why is the presence of one little s/w so annoying? MS didn't put it in (even optionally) so someone else is.
If you don't like it you can always get rid of it.

Start button.  For people who are too lazy to press the windows key, or bump their mouse on the edge of the screen.  C'mon now.  It's not that hard.  If it is... I weep for our nation's PC users. 

i saw that. but i still cant leave with metro things. i want complete removal of all thhat shit in windows 8 for non touch devices

No, the whole point of live tiles is to be glanceable. You can see updates to various data sources (calendar, weather, etc.) without needing to open the app. Since their utility is based on zero interaction, what on earth does the input method have to do with their usefulness? Just because I have a keyboard doesn't mean I suddenly want to be required to browse to three websites to check the news, weather, new RSS, etc.

Why do you insist on perpetuating this insufferable, idoti, BS as some sort of artificial crisis. Mocrosoft has allowed these options from the start and has also allowed its OEMs to customize the desktop experience for years. It has become an increasingly bad joke that the supposed staff around here are either too illl informed about what OEMs have done for a very lomg time, too incopetent,, or too intent on generating fabricated site hit controversy to even bother to acvurately report this story.

I hate the start menu, i never used it. Those slide out menus where annoying as fuck. J
I really don't get the appeal. I feel its more about people not accepting change.

Definately not a good development. Microsoft is making sure Windows has a future as a consumer platform. Because businesses are ran by consumers. In the end losing the consumer market could lead to MS losing all of it. These companies have a shortterm vision. but its not as if PC sales werent declining before Windows 8. If anything Windows 8 came right on time.. if only it was more available on fitting hardware.
And that is where Microsoft is dropping the ball. They are on the right direction when it comes to touch and mobility. However consumers arent there yet. And the desktop will never disapear compleetly. So Windows 8's interface needs to be adaptable to multiple devices. Microsoft isnt doing this, instead they are forcing a toich interface on non-touch devices. Instead there should be qn option to make the startscreen and hidden UI elements rearrange for non-touch devices. Like the charms being onscreen in a taskbar and the start menu being tile + text in rows. Of course on touch devices youd\'d stil have the current Windows 8 startscreen.

I think the point is that navigating Windows for most people is not intuitive enough and when you take away what took a long time to learn people feel lost.. while I adapt to change easily, others don't and still need what they are used to.. It should probably be left as a Windows feature but disabled by default and later removed when touch screens were more common and understood by your everyday user.

I can see the companies offering such features will have to battle copyright and patent issues with Microsoft. I for one feel completely comfortable to use Windows 8 the way Microsoft designed it. Good luck to all these companies trying to make Windows 8 a better place for others...

Lack of start menu destroyed windows 8. Ms dropped the ball so hard catering to casuals and not business and power users

Why do you think Windows 8 is not good for power users or business? What exactly about Windows 8 hinders your productivity? I'm curious. Because everytime I hear someone say this they can never provide an answer. I usually hear "because it's different"... which is exactly what I heard when Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows 7 were all released. It's the same old, same old.
The fact is, try Windows 8, group your tiles, get rid of your desktop icons, setup multuple displays with multiple taskbars, and you will see just how MORE productive the environment becomes. It's great for power users.
Now, I will agree removing the start button and making it the bottom left corner was not a great move. But removing the menu driven start menu, which has seen little change in nearly two decades, was the best move Microsoft has made to date. I'll take grouped tiles over a start menu with folders and scrollbars any day!
All I want is the start button. Because trying to get your mouse in the corner of Server 2012 in an RDP session on my right monitor is painful!

I think its unfair to compare this with Android custom launchers and UIs because they are kind of "baked into" the system as far as most casual users are concerned (not everyone roots their phone).

On the other hand, bloatware on PCs can be easily uninstalled.

And its nothing new either... OEMs have been doing it since forever. The absence of the Start Menu just opened up a new category of bloatware, that's all.

I don't really understand what the problem is with the new start screen. I'd much rather see a group of tiles than clicking start, all program, searching through a list with a scroll bar, clicking some folder, another folder, and then launching an app. I'd always end up pinning my apps to the start menu and then my start menu would be from top to bottom of the screen full of apps. I'd much rather have my apps grouped with tiles. My desktop is now empty. I guess you could say my start screen is now where I keep all my desktop icons... And the taskbar is where I pin my frequently used apps. I think the start screen is a solution to all the frustrations I had with the start menu.
I guess the whole start menu vs start screen fiasco is no different than trying to teach users to use filters rather than folders or search rather than browse.

Exactly, I love how the start screen displays information much more clearly rather than trying to cram everything you can think of in a small region. I mean, if you have a huge screen, why not use it? I have a surface pro but when I come to work, I attach a keyboard and mouse and an external screen so i basically use it like a desktop machine, but I still prefer the start screen over the start menu just because it doesn't cram everything together and it gives me a much nicer overview. I just never understood what the benefit was of the start menu over the start screen. Even for people who are not technically inclined like my grandfather I think the start screen is an improvement: he alwas was confused about where his programs were in the start menu. Now with the start screen, I organized it so it only shows the programs he uses and links to the websites he frequents the most, all the rest is hidden and the big tiles mean that everything is clearly legible for him.

The Start Screen is actually what attracted me to Win 8, and with Win 8.1 it's even better.  The ability to keep the same background on the Desktop and Start Screen makes it feel more like a more heads-up, less jarring app launcher and info center - similar to (but more useful than) the Mac OSX launcher. 
I have a feeling that John Q. Homeuser doesn't actually care that the Start Menu is gone.  Enterprise users probably notice it more since they probably aren't running many Modern UI apps at this point.  The Start Menu really isn't optimized for touch with all of the hover actions, but enterprise users probably aren't using much touch at this point either.  Some of my colleagues at work are like this.
I 100 percent agree with the addition of the Start Screen/Search charm to move toward the future.  I think there could have been a reimagined, paired down Start Menu-like launcher added to the Desktop environment.  In the meantime, I just remind my colleagues that they have a number of ways to launch apps from the Desktop including the Taskbar, shortcuts on the desktop, or a folder of shortcuts pinned to the Taskbar.

This is huge for me from a productivity stand point. I had to remove W8 due to it basically not working in coherence on my mac. This could solve that problem.

All of these comments disagreeing about whether people want the start menu should make it pretty clear... SOME people want the start menu. Yes, Microsoft does want people to get used to the Modern UI and like it enough to buy touch devices with Windows 8 on them. But SOME people still want to buy laptops and desktops and use a mouse, and the start menu is better with a mouse than a start screen. SOME people would prefer to continue using the mouse rather than letting go and trying to type the name of programs. Power Users might be happy doing all these keyboard things, but I know my grandma certainly would rather use her mouse to open up a program, and the start menu is, in my opinion, a better option than the start screen for finding programs with a mouse. Scrolling horizontally in the start screen with a mouse is awkward.

On my Surface, I happily use the Start Screen and Modern apps, but on my laptop and desktop, I rarely leave the desktop mode, and I certainly don't want to just to open a program... that I'm going to be using in desktop mode. It's an unnecessarily jarring experience to be ripped out of desktop mode into the Modern Start Screen and/or Modern apps when you're working with several apps in desktop mode. It doesn't make sense that you open a photo from a folder on the desktop, and suddenly you're in a Modern photo viewer, and then, when you close it, you're tossed to the Start Screen rather than back to the desktop folder you were browsing.

Agree. I have a Windows 8 touch screen Asus laptop and prefer the new UI but when I'm using my desktop with a 24" monitor without a touch screen and working in Photoshop Element I prefer a Start button when using a mouse. I just think Windows 8 works better for most people when you have a touch screen. If you don't have a touch screen then the Start button for many makes doing work projects easier.
I installed Classis Shell www.classicshell.net on my desktop and now have an excellent start button similar to Windows 7. Its free (donations accepted) and have recommended and installed it in many desktop installs mostly for those who have been frustrated using Windows 8 in a small business environment . It's another choice for the person who has grown comfortable over many years using a start button and does not yet have a touch screen. 
Microsoft thought eliminating the Start button on Windows 8 and replacing that with a modern new UI was the right thing to do to improve the everyday computing experience. How is that doing epically with W8 upgrades? The marketplace and millions of potential new users spoke by not purchasing Windows 8. Its all about what most people want and not engineering whats best for the average customer.

After installing win8 first thing I did was installing start is back. With the menu I never have to see the modern interface. I love win8 now.

This is awful, so reactionary...Why can't some people embrace change? It's not that different, come on.

There are pros and cons, in my view.
I am very tempted to throw an add-on like Parralels but, at the same time, I am willing to give Microsoft the benefit of the doubt.
Whenever I want to launch an application, I hit the Windows key on my keyboard and, *instantly*, up comes the Main application menu, with the usual tiles. The code that does this is lighting fast. At that point, I pan around to see whether the application I'm looking for is there, in a tile. But it's usually faster just to start typing the first few letters of the executable, like w and o for Word, at the keyboard.
At that point, the Search box shows up to the right with my freshly typed characters in the search field, and a filtered list of application appears on the left side of the screen, by order.
Nine times out of ten, the application I am looking for is the first one highlighted. If that's the case, I can just hit Enter and voilà!
If it's obsure, system accessories or third party utilities, best best if to start from the C:\  drive and work my way through Programe Files and so on, the usual pre-Windows8 way.
I confess I am discovering new ways to be productive with Windows 8 everyday.
All our PCs are Windows 8 in our house, with the addition of a Surface RT (works like a charm) and Asus eeSlate EP121, also running Windows 8, and 8.1 Preview.
I might consider Parralels Start menu add-on at some point but, out of the box, I can't complain.

If your interested in a Start button for Windows 8 you might want to also take a look at Classic Shell www.classicshell.net
It's free and gives you the functionality of Windows 7 start features..  

Look Microsoft, what's taking so long to open left side of my screen to quick look apps I.e. Facebook, outlook schedules...ect. This could set Windows Phone into the stratosphere for convenience!