RAW Computing

Add a Start menu to Windows 8 desktop

After using the Start menu in Windows for the last 17 years, it is hard to use Microsoft's latest operating system without it. Although there is the Start screen, it is not the same and for those people that really miss the Start button, here is a very simple technique to get it back again. No software is required.

In Windows 8 (and previous versions) builds the Start menu from the contents of folders on the disk drive. Using the facility to turn a folder into toolbar on the taskbar, which has been in Windows for years, we can create a pop-up Start menu.

The folder is hidden, so first we need to make it visible. Open an Explorer window, click View and then tick the Hidden items box. This shows hidden folders.

Now right click on the taskbar and select Toolbars, New toolbar. An Explorer-like window opens and you can navigate to C:\ProgramData \Microsoft \Windows \Start Menu \Programs. Select the Programs folder and click the Select Folder button.

You will see an item at the right side of the taskbar called Programs. Click the double-headed arrow and it displays a Start menu.

Windows 8 Start menu

The Start menu in previous versions of Windows is actually built from two locations and C:\ProgramData \Microsoft \Windows \StartMenu \Programs contains items that appear on all users' Start menus. Each user has their own private Start menu items too and this is stored at C:\Users \YourName \AppData \Roaming \Microsoft \Windows \Start Menu \Programs. These locations are still there in Windows 8.

There are two options and you could add another toolbar for this menu. Alternatively, you could move anything that is in the private location to the public location in C:\ProgramData where they are accessible by everyone.

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