In Windows 8, Microsoft plays Yo' Mamma.
Starting our fourth decade: Al Fasoldt's reviews and commentaries, continuously online for 30 years


Turning Windows 8 into Windows 7+, Start Menu and all

Windows 8 with a Start Menu
A Start Menu on Windows 8? Yes, indeed, courtesy of Start8, which costs $4.99. You even get the option of booting directly into standard Windows mode.

January 13, 2013

By Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 2013, Al Fasoldt
Copyright © 2013, The Post-Standard

In my Cheapskate's Guide, I called Windows 8 "a disaster without parallel in the history of computers." But that judgment only applies to the wimpy part of the double-identity operating system from Microsoft.

The cool side, the part of Windows 8 that looks, feels and acts like a real Windows version, is perfectly acceptable.

So what's the problem? Why not simply skip the wimp mode and run the good stuff?

I'm glad you asked. In Windows 8, Microsoft plays Yo' Mamma.

Yo' Mamma doesn't want you to go straight to the dessert. She wants you to eat your peas. She wants to MAKE you eat your peas.

In other words, Microsoft doesn't want you to go straight to the traditional side of Windows 8 when your Windows 8 PC boots up. The company that brought you Clippy and the Blue Screen of Death thinks it knows better. Even more puzzling, the company that brought you Clippy and the Blue Screen of Death even got rid of the Start Menu. (Is Microsoft secretly trying to get you to switch to a Mac?)

So here you are, trying to enjoy the latest and greatest from the Godfather of Windows and you can't figure how to get out of Fisher Price mode and you cant't even find your programs.

Crazy, right? But I've got good news. Buying a Mac costs a lot, so let's look at a much cheaper alternative -- a little Windows 8 add-on program that makes your PC boot up into normal Windows mode and even restores the Start Menu. In other words, it sorta-kinda turns your Windows 8 into what I call Windows 7+.

Don't laugh. I think Windows 8's regular mode is great -- without doubt the best version of Windows yet. It's an improvement over Windows 7 in many ways, and that's why I consider it Windows 7+. It's safer, easier to navigate, looks cooler, boots up faster and is better at finding and fixing problems.

If you have a regular PC -- not a tablet PC, and not a freakish (and extremely rare) touch-screen laptop or desktop PC -- you almost certainly have no need for the imitation iPad side of Windows 8. But you surely would love to be running Windows 7+, right?

So here's how to do it. Download and install Start8 from Stardock, an established maker of Windows customizing utilities. It costs $4.99, but you can try it free for 30 days. Get it here: www.stardock.com/products/start8.

Start8 has other features, too. There's no trick to installing the program, and you'll be impressed at how easy it is to get around Microsoft's silly rules. I've been using Start8 for weeks now, and each time my PC boots up I feel a little bit like a dragon slayer.

You'll love it. But, er, you really should eat your peas.