Restore the Start Menu and disable Metro UI in Windows 8

Restore the Start Menu and disable Metro UI in Windows 8

Summary: Once you do this, Windows 8 starts to look and feel a lot like Windows 7.


Question from today's mailbox:

Is there a way to get the old-style (Classic) Start Menu back in the Windows 8 Consumer Preview?

I've lost count of how many times I've been asked the question over the past few days, and thanks to the good folks at AskVG, we have an answer. The answer comes in the form of a tool called ViStart, a tool initially developed to give Windows XP a Windows Vista/7 style Start Menu.

Note: If you are going to install ViStart, be careful during the install process because it offers you third-party programs (Babylon toolbar and Registry Cleaner Pro) that you might not want to install.

Install the program and the familiar Start Button (or orb) is back. However, there's a problem because the button overlaps with the Taskbar.

The trick around this is to create a new blank toolbar on the Taskbar to shift the other icons across. How to do this is detailed over on AskVG. Once you do this, Windows 8 starts to look and feel a lot like Windows 7.

I've tested ViStart on a couple of Windows 8 installations and it seems to work just fine.


Topics: Software, Microsoft, Operating Systems, Windows

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  • but why?

    What advantage does this offer over just running windows 7? Does the "under the hood" overhaul of win 8 make this worth it?
    • Windows 8 Under the Hood Changes

      Microsoft may have focused mostly on Windows 8's Metro UI aspects, but they've given just as much care to make the things you already do in Windows 7 that much better, an example is copying over files which is now unified into one dialog box and can run concurrently and you can pause one copying if you want the other to complete first, this is just a single example of how Microsoft has improved the overall non-Metro UI aspects of Windows 8.
      • Congratulations Adrian!

        After a long while, you have at last posted something useful. I say this sincerely.
      • Huh?

        "Microsoft may have focused mostly on Windows 8's Metro UI aspects"

        Yes, that's why they've completely redesigned the network functions, the power management functions, the boot sequence, implemented a completely new API, and essentially rebuilt Windows as a hypervisor OS.

        But, you're right, other than that, they've only focused on the UI.
      • But still....

        All of this could be accomplished with a familiar desktop. Even the store could be accomplished with a familiar desktop. To rationalize the irrational has made ericjraack a top rated post.
      • And where did they get this from?

        MS ripped this idea from the KDE desktop on Linux! Shamelessly! Proves that MS is a follower, not a leader. Having a netbook and a touch interface is also old news, see KDE again!
        FANBOYS = PATHETIC??????
        Johan Safari
    • Probably most useful for new PCs.

      You buy a new PC that's running Win8 and desperately want the UI that you already know back.
    • Exactly

      The whole point with Windows 8 is the Metro UI with the Live -based services. Having a Windows Phone since 2 weeks makes it all make more sense - it all really works as it should.
      The Preview Release seems like Windows 7 & 8 combo, with the old v. 7 functionally left back to provide a safe escape...
    • Because!

      @ mike2k:

      I'm going with Windows 8 because everything runs about 12 - 15% faster than Windows 7 x64 on my core i5-2410M Sandy Bridge-based laptop. That alone is worth the price of admission.

      Unless Windows 7 SP2 really brings some performance and thread scheduling (kernel tuning) enhancements by mid-2012, I'm pretty much ready to go with 8.
  • This works!

    Fix Windows 8: The OS sux on a desktop. Metro is full of crap. It is bulky and awkward on a desktop. You can fix this and regain your desktop and power buttons with Wizmo and Vistart (google how to set it up in win 8). Windows 8 is solid and fast once you get rid of the metro dog. It really works poorly with a mouse . . .
  • This

    Effectively kills the point of running the beta. Why take the time to download and install a *time-bombed* OS, if all you're going to do is spend time and fret over reverting back to an earlier OS?
    The one and only, Cylon Centurion
  • A good start!

    This is good! Worked "As Advertised"
    Now waiting for a fix to boot directly to classic desktop...
    I know this is beta,but it's good to know that it can be done.
    I hope it will be also possible on Retail.
    • Why Don't You

      Why don't you just stay with Windows 7 and bury your head in the sand.
      • ..because

        Because,if I buy it,I want to be able to use it both ways.
        I'll get to know 8,on my own terms.
        Some things I already like,some I don't...
      • Why Don't You

        Sticking with Windows-7 is not burying one's head in the sand. Some us have real productivity requirements on your laptops and desktops--using real keyboards and mice. Touchy-feely interfaces, designed for tablets aren't going to get the job done. This will give Microsoft another chance to get a new Operating System/Interface right (VISTA round two?)
      • the sand, Huh?

        You see the user is alienated, and as soon as Windows 7 is obsolete he decides Apple or some competing system is now desirable to relearning an OS he has become accustomed to. In the sand attitudes have lost Microsoft users. How does this help your market share? How does this compete with the billions Apple has made? All many users desire is an operating system they can use not to become accustomed to a mobile phone platform they may never use.
      • Really!!!

  • Man, I'm glad I'm a Mac user...

    Can you imagine such a poorly designed user interface be shown to Steve Jobs. He would have fired the developer on the spot. And to top it off, an awful work around to bring back an interface feature that should have never been removed. What a POS GUI. I really feel for Windows users. They went from lame to ??ber lame and ugly.
    • Don't count on it. Launchpad got put into Lion...

      • Your funny......

        Launch pad is not in your face at start up. It has to be opened up like a program, and can even be removed very easily if you see no use for it. The Apple desktop is very much like itself from the day OSX was released, and the iOS experience has not yet overshadowed OSX. Metro is an experience that users will have to become accustomed to and may just be akin to the results of New Coke and Crystal Pepsi. Many including IT will be screaming for Windows Classic. This will not be good for Microsoft.