Third-party replacement of the missing Windows 8 Start menu (I'm sorry, the Modern/Metro UI is not a start menu) has become quite the booming cottage industry. Stardock's Start8, a $5 alternative, has been the most seamless replacement for several months, but it's now going to have to share that honor with Iobit's Start Menu 8. And, unfortunately for Stardock, Start Menu 8 is free.
Start Menu 8 installs easily, mimics the Windows 7 Start menu to a tee--including the search field--and is just as configurable as that which it seeks to duplicate. You can show or hide the items such as administrative tools, control panel, documents, network, photos, etc., as well as disable the hot corners and the Windows 8 sidebar. You can also change the appearance of the start button to match Windows 8, XP, Windows 7, etc., though the menu itself retains the look of Windows 8. You may also easily reach the Modern UI (formerly known as Metro) interface when you want to explore it at your leisure.
The Start Menu 8 installation routine will ask you if you want to install Iobit's Advanced SystemCare 6 software (the default is yes), but there's no advertising aside from that.
To make a long review short: Start Menu 8 it works just like the Start Menu you wanted to see when you first got your Windows 8 PC. Do yourself and anyone else you know who's been saddled with a new interface they didn't really want a favor: Download Start Menu 8; install it; leave the Windows 8 learning curve and inefficiency behind; and get on with your lives.
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