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For Windows 8 Users, Stardock Revives the Start Menu 370

jones_supa writes "By reinventing the Start Menu in Windows 8, Microsoft has caused some resistance to the new Start Screen. For those longing for the classic way of doing things, Stardock comes to rescue. The Start8 is a piece of software which replicates the functionality of the button and menu found in previous versions of Windows. Supported is starting applications, the Run and Shutdown features, and search."
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For Windows 8 Users, Stardock Revives the Start Menu

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  • Validity? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by mws1066 ( 1057218 ) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @10:53AM (#39287645)
    People get set in their ways, no question about it. Plenty of OSs don't have a start menu and they're quite usable. While I don't think the start menu is inherently bad OR good, I think people get way too hung up on the way a proprietary OS used to be - up to the point that they mod the hell out of the interface. I use MacOS and Windows 7 and Windows XP and Linux all quite regularly. People need to give more and be a little bit more mobile.
    • Re:Validity? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by SJHillman ( 1966756 ) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @10:57AM (#39287701)

      There's also something to be said for a familiar interface between systems. Although I don't take it to the extremes that some people do, I set up my Linux box to have a similar layout to my Windows box in terms of menus, icon placement, what-action-gives-what-result, etc. My Win 7 laptop is also set up similar to my Win 7 desktop even though one has a 14" screen and the other has three 22" screens, which makes for a different usage case. It's just a lot easier when going between otherwise dissimilar operating systems.

      • by Hatta ( 162192 )

        Exactly. And this is why I install Cygwin on every Windows system I have to use. Bash is pretty much the same everywhere.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      It's called muscle memory; it lets you play violin, and do regular tasks efficiently on a computer.

      Until they change the interface.

      • I took all of ten minutes to discover and pick up the new window managing gestures in Windows 8. All, um, three of them?
    • Re:Validity? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by cccc828 ( 740705 ) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @11:14AM (#39287959)
      While it is no problem for the slashdot crowd, less tech-savvy users have huge problem with even the smallest change.

      Here is one example:
      I have a friend in his 50ties who just started to use computers and the internet. He barely known what a search engine is, and often has problems reading the small font of tool tips etc. He used IE8 and was used to type into the "Google Box" to search. Along comes the change to IE 9 and all of a sudden he has to use the URL bar to search. He has problems with that. This is not what he learned and how he expects things to work.

      He also had problems when his mail client changed the Icon to write e-mails from "Mail" to "Compose".

      A Hammer is a hammer is a hammer. In the real world tools do not change how they are operated.
      Even cars did not change their UI in the past 100 years. And the elements that did change, are often not used by everyone. How many people do you know who do not know how to set their clock correctly? Who do not use their GPS? VCRs are/were known hard to use, because each and every one has a different way to program a recording.

      While *I* love new UIs and shiny things in general, there are lots of people out there who cannot abstract computers and are lost when small things change.
      • I'm not sure I find it funny or what when I see all these tech guys who are supposed to be good at abstracting problems not able to grasp the idea of metaphors. When you say "A Hammer is a hammer is a hammer," I get you. People can look at the shape of it and grasp immediately what it does and don't have to ask many questions if they need to use it for the most ubiquitous of reasons around, driving in a nail. Whether it be a ball peen hammer, claw hammer, framing hammer, whatever. Even if they might not kno
      • by steelfood ( 895457 ) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @04:20PM (#39292777)

        I have a friend in his 50ties

        Did he get smothered by his ties?

    • Re:Validity? (Score:5, Insightful)

      by IceNinjaNine ( 2026774 ) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @11:19AM (#39288065)

      People get set in their ways, no question about it.

      Yeah, that whole brake pedal, clutch, steering wheel.. I'm just "used to it".. they should definitely tweak it a bit.

      People need to give more and be a little bit more mobile.

      Newsflash: people need to get work done. A good friend of mine still uses Emacs and is super productive. It's a tool, not a toy. Maybe they should provide some compelling evidence that it's worth retraining folks for the new stuff. Most of the newer UI technologies on desktop machines provide little additional productivity IMHO.

      Disclosure: I'm a Slackware user running Openbox to primarily launch terminals.

      Kids... lawn.. off..

      • Maybe they should provide some compelling evidence that it's worth retraining folks for the new stuff.

        There is an entire industry dedicated to training and retraining folks for rollout of new versions of Excel and Word and Windows, and Microsoft makes a small fortune certifying and recertifying people. I think the evidence is clear that it's worthwhile to *someone*. Just not the average user. :-)

    • I'll admit I get personally stuck in my ways... I tend to find efficient ways to work and it messes up my mojo every time MS needlessly messes about with things.

      All of that, I can cope with.

      However, it REALLY sucks when you're trying to support a computer novice. I already regularly (a dozen or more times a day) have to say something along the lines of "Ok, are you windows vista/7 or xp user? Vista? Ok, go to c:\users\YourUserName\AppData\Local\...

      or say things like "ok, go to START -> All Programs ->

    • by DrXym ( 126579 )
      I don't think the problem is the start menu has gone away per se but that what has replaced it is completely inadequate for the task. It's not space efficient, it does a terrible job of presenting "classic" style apps, it lacks the compactness and finesse of the existing task bar, and the metro apps suck balls. Some things stuff like control panel is also a confusing mess of new overlay style control panels with simplistic switches and old style windowed panels all accessible through different routes. It ju
    • People get set in their ways, no question about it.

      I like my gas pedal on the right. Now get off my lawn!

  • by sideslash ( 1865434 ) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @10:55AM (#39287665)
    Stardock, please bring back the Win3.x Program Manager!
  • by GameboyRMH ( 1153867 ) <> on Thursday March 08, 2012 @10:58AM (#39287705) Journal

    Same as ME and Vista, skip it.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Thursday March 08, 2012 @10:58AM (#39287713)

    i kinda understand why Microsoft taking this stance on start menu, they need to get the Metro UI on desktop so that developers will make applications for Metro, and in turn it will help the Win8 Tablets gain massive apps in short period of time

    • Re: (Score:3, Funny)

      by 0123456 ( 636235 )

      i kinda understand why Microsoft taking this stance on start menu, they need to get the Metro UI on desktop so that developers will make applications for Metro, and in turn it will help the Win8 Tablets gain massive apps in short period of time

      Why would a desktop user want to run a Metrosexual app that's designed for a tablet?

  • by weave ( 48069 ) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @11:03AM (#39287775) Journal

    I can see the bitching from users already. I tried Win 8 myself and was immediately stuck on how to quit an open app or even how to run another one and switch between them. It's just not obvious, and that's going to be a problem.

    When Office 2007 was rolled out at my org, even with loads of advanced notice and training, the phone was ringing for weeks "How do I print?" "How do I copy/paste?" etc, etc....

    I have a better plan. Keep Windows 7 deployed for as long as XP was before upgrading users.

    I should, however, be thankfully to Microsoft for all of the job security they provide.

    • by DigiShaman ( 671371 ) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @11:19AM (#39288053) Homepage

      Click and drag the screen to exit. Look, Windows 8 is a forcible union between touch pads and computers. It's an epic fail in implementation from the get go. If you're serious about applying major UI fixes to an OS not already released to the public, I'd say you have your priorities backwards. A better route would to not order any new machines with the OS preloaded. Just stick with Windows 7. The world shouted down Vista and we (the consumer) won that battle just as we have one the battle against Windows ME. The known fact that Microsoft releases a turd once in a while has been accepted as the new norm. So pull yourself up from the bootstraps and bypass this OS entirely. It's real easy!

  • Almost (Score:5, Informative)

    by dinfinity ( 2300094 ) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @11:07AM (#39287819)
    A pity, looking at the screenshot, I was hoping that it would actually enable a taskbar while using the Metro interface. Instead, it just displays the start screen in a quarter of the display area - a size for which the Metro interface is ridiculous. Vistart ( [] - no affiliation) is a better alternative if you want the start button back.
  • by backwardMechanic ( 959818 ) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @11:09AM (#39287853) Homepage
    It's good to hear that the Windows users out there are suffering as much as us Gnome3 users. Why is it so hard to understand, most of us don't even want to be aware of the UI, it should 'just work'.
    • It's only fair for Windows users to have to endure a clusterfuck like Gnome 3 and Unity as well.

      • Honestly, I'm beginning to think it's a sick joke by desktop developers to make everyone hate the desktop and use something easier to program.

    • If it comes to UI, I would trade "just works" with "can be customized via a settings dialog" any time! But nooooooo...yes, I'm looking at Gnome and Windows in the same devilish manner...
    • Oh, Microsoft understands it, but our convenience isn't their primary concern here. What they want is to get everyone who uses Windows to get used to a particular interface that can be directly transferred to portable devices. Once that happens, which devices do you think people will buy--the ones with unfamiliar interfaces that people will be awkward and uncomfortable with or the ones that work exactly like the computers they use at home and work?
  • Registry (Score:3, Informative)

    by munozdj ( 1787326 ) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @11:10AM (#39287877)
    I had the urge to change the metro interface to the classic one in my copy of the Developer Preview and, after some googling (google is my friend indeed), I found that it only requires changing a certain value in windows registry. So this Stardock changes only that? Seems to be just a glorified way to set a registry value. Citation! []
  • by Dakiraun ( 1633747 ) <dakiraun@ya[ ].com ['hoo' in gap]> on Thursday March 08, 2012 @11:11AM (#39287881) Homepage

    A lot of folks tend to banter back and forth over classic vs. the more modern metro and metro-like shells (such as Unity or the iOS, or Andriod). What it really comes down to is the type of user behind the computer. The more modern mobile/touch interfaces like Metro are an application-centric approach that caters best to a user who is interested in doing a specific thing quickly and easily. Older interface types with taskbars, window lists and so on are task-centric shells that cater more to power-users and/or administrators who tend to have a lot of things going on at once, and who need to be able to manage all the open applications with ease.

    As such, task-centric shells are likely to always be preferred by the one group while the more average user will prefer the updated shells (even if some of them will initially complain about the need to relearn things). The most effective way to manage this situation is simple - just make sure to offer both worlds.

    A good example of this is that recently Mint Linux made the move to Gnome 3, and with it, a more Application-centric shell. They provided a number of applets, and soon after a fork of Gnome 3 (Cinnamon), that were able to offer the user either extreme, and even multiple points between the two shell types. Ubuntu, on the other hand, did not really offer a choice and forced the users' hands in shifting to Unity. The result was a very large shift in popularity to Mint as the current preferred Linux distribution (as seen on Distrowatch's listings). As long as Microsoft offers a choice, I think they'll be able to keep both worlds happy. Well... as happy as can be expected for running Windows anyway. ;)

  • by macraig ( 621737 ) <> on Thursday March 08, 2012 @11:16AM (#39288007)

    I'm already using a third party FOSS replacement, Classic Start Menu [], in Windows 7 to replace at least one critical bit of capability that Microsoft revoked: folders in the root of the start menu. I've relied for years on being able to create and manage folders in the start menu as sub-folders to manage shortcuts. I eliminate at least one click, I can organize them by task or function, and I don't have to deal with the confusion of developers' sometimes unintuitive ways of placing their apps in Programs.

    I expect the author of Classic Start Menu will shift with the tide when Windows 8 arrives and produce a new version, so I will likely just keep using it if he does and it continues to prove necessary for me. That way I eliminate even the learning curve of Stardock's rendition.

    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by jader3rd ( 2222716 )

      I've relied for years on being able to create and manage folders in the start menu as sub-folders to manage shortcuts.

      Have you ever found it faster to type the name of the program you're looking for? Press the Win key and start typing. Don't even need to waste time by using a mouse.

      • by OzPeter ( 195038 )

        Have you ever found it faster to type the name of the program you're looking for? Press the Win key and start typing. Don't even need to waste time by using a mouse.

        This assumes you can remember the name of what it is you are looking for. Different people remember things differently. I am more of a visual person, so I was happier with muscle memory to navigate between folders in order to get to something. And with everything organised hierarchically it was easy to get to what I wanted.

        I do like the way MS redid things for W7 when I can remember the name of what it is I am looking for. But this deprecates browsing a system to see what is there. And that brings you

  • by Guppy06 ( 410832 )

    Third-party tools also gave Windows 7 back the "Classic Start Menu" that had been available from Windows 95 through Windows Vista.

    Note the insignificant installed based of these tools.

    When push comes to shove, this is a third-party application, which, while of great interest to a small number of devotees on their personal machines, are not a realistic (let alone desirable) option in a managed network environment. And as you're forced to use the new UI at work, you'll be less inclined to reject it at home.


  • I managed to skip Vista, and clung to my XP laptop as long as I could until it failed then I was forced to replace it with 7. 7 was basically what Vista should have been.

    Some times, I feel like the OS makers don't know what they're doing. While I seldom ever use the Start menu on Win 7 (I pin the apps I use to the task bar), it doesn't mean I never use it.

    Even more irritating are the changes from Snow Leopard to Lion. I understand the theory behind queueing, but I almost never want any application to
    • It's the fucktard "interface designers" who've been smoking their crack for too long that are fucking this up.

      Office 2007's "Ribbon" was the first salvo in this war of dumbing down and obfuscating an organized, intelligent deep interface. And may the stupid ass hair responsible for that atrocity burn in hell.

      The new Win8 interface is simply an extension of the "we're too stupid and lazy to expose functionality to you easily" mentality (emphasis on "MENTAL") happening at Microsoft.

      Basically, like MacOS, it'

    • The OS makers most likely know what they're doing. However, I suspect that they're being given their marching orders by the business oriented folks, who, as others have theorized, may well well want to use the Win8 platform to drive the windows based tablets and phone application markets.

  • While it's a cool product, Stardock's Windows mods are well known for destabilizing the system. Basic Windows operations mostly go off without a hitch.

    But if you're doing high end gaming on a system, all the their products install can make your experience an endless, frustrating bughunt.

    Were it just for a group of PC's in an office where no gaming should be happening, I'd say "cool".

  • MS makes hammers and screwdrivers. They want everything to be a hammer. So now there's a secondary market for customizing your mandatory hammer to look like a screwdriver again.

    Maybe instead of going lowest common denominator, MS should enhance their development wizards and such so that an app can be easily generated for either platform or something...

  • I used the windows 8 developer preview and I noticed that metro was completely optional. As in, you can turn it off entirely. It's a gimmick if you're using a mouse. If you're using a touch screen like some of the newer HP desktops, it's useful.

    I don't know what the fuss is about, I'll probably upgrade to windows 8 when the time comes.

  • by scottbomb ( 1290580 ) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @01:26PM (#39289925) Journal

    Back in the early 80s, our computers were, for the most part, text-based. The OS was strictly command-line. Some software incorporated graphics, but your OS was pure text and cursor.

    Then Apple made the world "ooo" and "ahhh" with the GUI. It was an instant hit. MS followed suit with Windows.

    when Windows 95 came out, the vast majority of the computer-using public was very happy to see the new Start menu. It sure beat the Win 3.1 way of doing things.

    Notice: for every one of these innovations, they were overwhelmingly accepted by the public as IMPROVEMENTS.

    Fast-foward to 2011. People are starting to notice Linux, most use Ubuntu. Someone at Cannonical decides that the PC needs to function like a smart phone so they totally break the UI with Unity. (Yes, I know ome people love Unity..... but they are in the minority). Many Ubuntu users flee to Xfce, KDE, Mint, or some other flavor that has a UI they like. Notice how this contrasts with the above-mentioned innovations. Shuttleworth can talk all day about how "slick" Unity is but the majority of his users hate it. Does he decide to change it or at least offer an alternative? Nope, his ego prevents that... Tells us to "get used to it".

    Remember.... Steve Jobs didn't have to tell us to "get used to it" when he unveiled the Mac. The public loved it. Bill Gates didn't have to tell us to "get used to it" when he unveiled Win 95. Again, the new innovation was well-received.

    And now Microsoft, in all their wisdom, jumps on the "let's make the deskop look like your 'droid/iPhone!!" bandwagon. Again, are we seeing people "ooo"-ing and "ahh"-ing over Metro? Nope. Google windows 8 Metro and you'll find that most people can't stand it.

    So the moral of the story is: if you build a shit sandwich, don't be surprised if your customers spit it out. And don't expect them to "get used to it" when they have other choices. And as long as there are software developers, there will always be someone out there who will gladly provide that choice.

  • by lilfields ( 961485 ) on Thursday March 08, 2012 @02:30PM (#39290963) Homepage
    I love the Metro interface, I own a Windows Phone and find it to be very pleasing and plan on buying a Windows 8 tablet. However, I think that for legacy users (so to speak) that windows allows you to select the new start menu or the old Windows 7 style start menu during set up. They can still metro-fie the start menu, but the start button has been around since Windows 95. They can block it out on tablet installations, etc...but the start menu is something that many people and businesses rely on (its nearly universal, not much training involved.) So Microsoft really needs to at least allow an -option- for it. They have an option for the classical view etc in Vista and 7's not a new concept. Anyhow another thing I almost demand from Windows 8 is the ability to push metro apps to the desktop, I have no idea how or why that feature isn't there.

"If it's not loud, it doesn't work!" -- Blank Reg, from "Max Headroom"