Ever since Microsoft released the preview of Windows 8, the decision to remove the Start Orb has been heavy discussed, with both positive and negative response about the move. Some time ago, Aatif explained why Microsoft have decided to let go of the Start Orb and replace it with the Start Screen. Whatever the reasoning behind it, one thing is for sure; the Start Menu is going to be majorly missed after being around in one form or the other since the birth of the Windows operating system. However, it has been the norm that whenever Microsoft decides to axe a feature or misses to include something, third party developers take the charge of providing the service to the community, and fill the gap left by Windows with useful tools. Same is the case with the Start Orb. As soon as the news broke of Windows 8 not having it, tools started coming out that added it back to the system. Previously featured on AddictiveTips, Start8 is one such application, which recently received an important update. Now, it allows you to skip the Start Screen entirely upon start, disable Hot Corners, and lets you view the Start Menu in its classic style.
All of the previous options provided by the program, such as Start Screen-like start menu, search function, customization of Start Orb image, and shortcuts to open Run and Shutdown dialog boxes are still available. The most prominent addition to Start8 in this update includes a classic style start menu. In contrast to the previous Start Screen-like start menu, this one sports the same features as the one in Windows 7, and allows you to access the installed programs and settings in the same way.
Note that the classic start menu has not replaced the Start Screen-like start menu, and the switch between the two can be made by right clicking the Start Orb. The right-click also contains other options, such as On login go to the desktop (skip the start screen upon login), Disable Windows 8 desktop hotspots, Pick a different Start Button image, Run and Shutdown.
In the Start Screen-like start menu, you are provided with more options for changing the Non Fullscreen Size from Small, tall, Wide and Large, and Allow Windows Key to show full screen menu.
Just like the Start Menu of Windows 7, you can pin frequently used programs and settings to the main window for quicker access. Just right click a program or setting and click Pin to Start8.
Start8 works on both 32-bit and 64-bit versions of Windows 8.