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[GUIDE] Windows 8 Tools

post #1 of 3
Thread Starter 
If you are not interested in Microsoft Windows 8 Operating System (OS), do not continue reading. For those who welcome change and/or interested with Windows 8 and are looking for tools to further enhance your personal experience, you came to the right place.

Whether people disagree or agree, it's a fact that Windows 8 is by far the most advanced and fastest OS released by Microsoft. What most people fail to realize is that there are plenty of great tools that can help make their Windows 8 experience even better. It'll just keep getting better from here.

Here are the following tools...in no particular order of which one is better than the other:

Start Menu

1. Start8

Start8 is developed by Stardock Corporation. They are known for creating other popular tools such as WindowsBlinds, WindowFX, ObjectDock, etc. I believe Stardock's Start8 interprets the Windows 7-style Start menu the best. I guess the only downside is that it cost $4.99 USD (however you can do a 15-day trial before you decide to buy it).

Feature Overview


  • Windows 7-style Start menu with Windows 8 enhancements
  • Search for Windows 8-style (Modern UI) apps
  • Pin desktop and Metro apps
  • Boot directly to the Windows 8 desktop
  • Windows 8 Start screen accessible from the Start menu

2. Pokki

Pokki is the most unique out of all the available Start Menu tools. It presents the Start Menu in a very colorful and user friendly way. They not only provide a Start Menu, but also have a section to install hundreds of free apps (I think it's like Google Chrome's App Store feature). The pro of this tool is that it is completely free.

Feature Overview

  • Pokki Menu. One click access to the most important stuff on your PC.
  • App Store. Get hundreds of free apps and games for your PC.
  • Featured Apps. Fun and convenient apps built for your desktop.

3. Classic Shell

Classic Shell provides the user with a lot of customization to their Windows 8 OS. Check out their website to read more. This tool is completely free.

Feature Overview

  • Highly customizable start menu with multiple styles and skins
  • Start button for Windows 7 and Windows 8
  • Toolbar and status bar for Windows Explorer
  • Caption and status bar for Internet Explorer

4. StartMenu8

From the website:

Start Menu 8 is specially designed for Windows 8. It offers a perfect solution for users who work with Windows Start Menu all the time and are not accustomed to the new Metro start screen in Windows 8. This smart tool brings back both the start button and Windows Start Menu, and offers the option to skip Metro start page, allowing users who only work on desktop to boot to Windows 8 desktop directly. It's the best start menu replacement for Windows8. This tool is completely free.

Feature Overview

  • Easily Switch between Metro and Desktop Interface
  • Faster Access to Programs and Files
  • Customizable, Easy, and FREE to Use

5. StartW8

StartW8 is developed by SODATSW, who are known for their data security services. StartW8 provides a bunch of features and customization for their own version of the Start Menu. This tool is completely free.

Feature Overview

  • Automatically switch to desktop immediately after signing in
  • Added Windows Start menu in Windows 8 design, but Windows 7 functionality
  • Activate menu with Win key
  • Log off, lock and turn off buttons
  • Traditional search field
  • Favourite applications
  • All user configurable
  • Support for silent installation
  • Option to ignore the lower left Hot corner

5. 8StartButton

8StartButton is developed by Totalidea Software. They created their own unique way to display the Start Menu. Check out their website for screenshots. The downside of this tool is that it cost $9.95 USD (licensed edition)/free edition has less features.

Feature Overview

  • Fully functional start button
  • Fully functional start menu
  • Highly customizable
  • Fully integrating into Windows 8
post #2 of 3
I use Classic Shell on my Dell XPS 12 tablet/ultrabook convertible and on a Win 8 VM (using Oracle Virtual Box) on my main Game PC; have had no problems with it: recommended.

However, your statement: "it's a fact that Windows 8 is by far the most advanced and fastest OS released by Microsoft.". Based on some benchmarking I recent performed, the statement is NOT true for gamers. Based on my benchmarks, basically, Win 8 is mostly Win 7 under the covers with a fancy GUI pasted on it. See the following for my bench results. Start at post #395 on page 10: http://thessdreview.com/Forums/operating-systems/1127.htm
Edited by OS-Wiz - 4/1/13 at 11:46am
The Money Trap
(17 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i7-5820K ASUS X99-Deluxe 2 x EVGA GTX980 SLI 4 x 4GB Corsair Vengence DDR4 2400 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveOptical Drive
Games = Crucial 256GB M4 SSD OS = Samsung 256GB 830 SSD Backup Western Digital HDDs  Samsung 223 
CoolingOSMonitorPower
Phanteks PH-TC-14PE  Win 7 x64 Ultimate  Dell U2412M 1920x1200 Antec TPQ 1200W 
CaseOther
Cooler Master HAF 932 UPS: APC BackUPS XS1500 
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The Money Trap
(17 items)
 
  
CPUMotherboardGraphicsRAM
i7-5820K ASUS X99-Deluxe 2 x EVGA GTX980 SLI 4 x 4GB Corsair Vengence DDR4 2400 
Hard DriveHard DriveHard DriveOptical Drive
Games = Crucial 256GB M4 SSD OS = Samsung 256GB 830 SSD Backup Western Digital HDDs  Samsung 223 
CoolingOSMonitorPower
Phanteks PH-TC-14PE  Win 7 x64 Ultimate  Dell U2412M 1920x1200 Antec TPQ 1200W 
CaseOther
Cooler Master HAF 932 UPS: APC BackUPS XS1500 
  hide details  
Reply
post #3 of 3
Thread Starter 
It may vary for some users, however the overall benchmark results typically show Windows 8 with the more desired result (no matter how low the gains are for some benchmark categories, it still is an increase). There are way more credible sources than me such as TechSpot, CNET, etc. that can confirm it. As for benchmark for gaming, I do agree that there are advantages that Windows 7 constantly has over Windows 8, but that may just be a matter of time.

Classic Shell is pretty cool, especially for free software :-)

Cheers!
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