Stardock to deliver a Windows 10 Start menu replacement

Stardock, the company that created a popular Start menu for Windows 8, is back with a beta of a Start menu replacement for Windows 10.
Written by Mary Jo Foley, Senior Contributing Editor

Even though Microsoft is bringing a Start menu back to Windows with Windows 10, Stardock Corp. is still planning on offering users an alternative.

Stardock, the company that built a Start menu replacement for Windows 8 known as Start8 , has made available a free beta version of its coming Start10 menu app. The Start10 beta is available now for Object Desktop subscribers, according to Stardock's site, and requires the Windows 10 January Technical Preview to work.

Start10 will allow users to add a classic or enhanced Start menu to Windows 10, and to access both desktop and Modern/Metro-Style apps from the Start menu. Start10 will enabled unified search for apps, settings and files and also provide a skinnable Start button.

With the Start-menuless Windows 8, the need for a Start menu replacement seemed fairly clear-cut. Many users wanted and needed a familiar, easy way to navigate the OS. But why introduce an alternative Start menu for an operating system that will have one?

The new Windows 10 Start menu isn't the same as the current Windows 10 one, which includes tiles and omits jump lists and context menus, Stardock CEO Brad Wardell noted on Twitter.

Wardell told Neowin.net that he sees Start10 as a total replacement for Microsoft's Windows 10 Start menu, not a complement to it. Wardell also said he sees the market for Start10 as being desktop, not tablet, users.

I've already seen several people on Twitter claiming Start10 is unnecessary. Some think Stardock should wait to see the final version of the Start menu in Windows 10 before rolling out a replacement menu.

Wardell's response (via Neowin):

"I've yet to meet a power user who is happy with the current implementation of the Start menu on Windows 10. A desktop OS is not about launching apps. I can do that on a tablet or an iPad. A desktop OS is about managing your 'stuff' -- your data. We really need Microsoft to understand this distinction. What Start10 is designed to solve is the issue of ensuring that it is always easy and convenient to get to your stuff."

The final version of Start10 should be available around the time Windows 10 launches (which is believed to be this coming fall). It will be priced at $4.99 standalone, or available as part of an Object Desktop desktop enhancement subscription.

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