Windows 8 custom start menu

bring the start menu on W8Where did my start menu go in Windows 8?
Its quite a known fact that Microsoft has removed the start menu in Windows 8 and will continue to dissuade any and all possible workarounds as momentum for metro picks up. After some lengthy testing, I honestly suspect new Windows 8 users are going to have a difficult time navigating the UI without the crutch known as the “start menu”.

In all honesty, I’m going to miss the start menu in Windows 8! I have spent several months testing the various windows 8 builds and I’ve gotten tired of  hitting the “windows + r” keys to bring up the run prompt. And as a result, I figured now would be a good time to write an application that will run under the users context and display “all” available menu items where a simple click of the mouse will launch the desired app. No need to Pin the application to Metro unless you want to .  The look and feel is just like the old school menus and the functionality is all there as expected. And there is no need to mess around with registry keys and such. Simply double click the application or pin it to Metro should you please [right-click on W8SM.exe and select “pin to start”]

Information: Please note, this application was designed in Visual Studio 12 to operate on Windows 8 but will work on any OS with the .NET framework 4.5.  The source code and installer are both available via our SourceForge page. Please also note, if you are looking for any specific feature adds or code changes please let us know. If its legit, we will gladly add to the next release. If you have an interest in further building out the W8 Start Menu application. Click here to visit our SourceForge site and download the application/code.

Features recently added:

  • [feature] quickly minimize start menu
  • more start menu control for you
  • [feature] quickly resize start menu to is original size
  • [feature] access the run prompt with one click



As a Virtual Infrastructure “Engineer/Architect” type - I care deeply about implementing proper virtualization solutions and supporting end users. Technology is a challenge, and it's fun to navigate its waters. Writing code to automate things is a priority for me, and something I enjoy doing when I'm not working. -- Feel free to swing by our SourceForge site and check out some of our efforts. Until then - cheers friends!

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9 Responses

  1. Peter says:

    Looks like a good try but I just can’t get into a UI styled for a phone put on a desktop. I know so many people who take great pride in customizing their desktops and some work areas it’s the last place people can display a family photo. It just doesn’t have that desktop use in mind. Metro will either die quickly or help sales for apple even Linux a lot. Even among Linux users people prefer Linux Mint to Ubuntu’s Unity which is basically a similar attempt to put a tablet interface on a desktop.

  2. R.Gorges says:

    This is great! The application is simple and brings back the start menu features I have been missing with the latest Windows 8 release. I especially like the feature which allows you to pin an application to the Metro UI. That way I can synchronize the admin tools I use on a daily basis with that of metro and the start menu application. Good work on this! I look forward to more updates.

  3. G.Miles says:

    The start menu application is great although I do have one suggestion, can you add a logoff button?

  4. Laurence says:

    Omas Mims, thank you for your offering. Has there been any more development on your W8SM project that you are willing to bare and share with others?


  5. T.Mims says:

    Absolutely! I’m amazed at how much momentum the project has picked up since Windows 8 was officially released. There is a scheduled release next month, did you find anything you would like added. Feature, bugs, etc…

  6. Laurence says:

    Hi T. Mims,

    Well then, next month I most definitely will check out the next release of W8SM. I am wondering if W8SM will become more closely aligned or alike to the once and still familiar Win7 start menu in its appearance and feature-set, including a start button no less. 😉 Or do you intend to take it on a different route?


  7. T.Mims says:

    Laurence, I believe the goal here is to keep bringing back some of the desired features of the start menu we all miss with Windows 8. Check out the current production release.

    Start menu or no start menu: There are a few conflicting beliefs out there. Some people seem to like the whole Modern UI (once called Metro) look and feel, and some people can’t stand it. I don’t mind it all but I personally believe it’s foolish to have the Modern UI look and feel in Server 2012. And on my W8 build, I use W8SM. Once the OS starts up and I’m successfully authenticated against the domain and the Modern UI pops up, I immediately exit out (Windows button + Esc on the keyboard) and use the Start Menu. Much more soon, and thanks for the note!

  8. Chris R. says:

    how do I uninstall Windows 8 custom start menu

  9. T.Mims says:

    Chris R. – Just reboot your computer or end the process. The application is not installed (its a stand-alone application).

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