I’ll be honest: I HATE Windows 8!
Well, hate is a strong word. I’m fond of the parts it shares in common with Windows 7. I like the updated task manager, and with Windows Defender being included by default I’m glad to see Microsoft is making strides to make Windows as secure as it can be out of the box.
But I can’t stand “Metro”! For those of you lucky enough not to know, Metro is the name for Microsoft’s new default user interface. If you haven’t seen Metro in action, I’ll give you the most succinct description of it I can think of: Imagine a user interface that combines the most annoying aspects of a touchscreen device with a color scheme that looks like it was picked out by a 5 year old child who’d had a few too many candy bars. Metro “apps” (how original) run in full screen mode exclusively. Awesome, I know. Who would want to use a multi-tasking operating system to actually do multiple things at the same time? Nobody at Microsoft’s design team, apparently. (I take that back, apparently you can run up to two Metro apps at the same time. Next to each other. Still taking up your full screen. So it can be twice as useless for getting actual work done.)
Actually, it’s not that bad. I’m sure it’s great on tablets. But, like more than 90% of Windows users, I’m not using a tablet. I’m using a grown-up computer with a keyboard and mouse. To do, you know, WORK. This brings me to my biggest problem with Windows 8: They killed the Start Menu.
I didn’t realize until Windows 8 just how important the Start Menu was to performing useful operations on a PC. It was the one place you could click to start just about any action on the computer. Whatever you wanted to do, the first step was usually to click on the Start Menu. And now it’s gone.
Fortunately, I’m not alone in my appreciation of the magical, wonderful, dependable Start Menu. The folks at IObit have managed to recreate our previously shunned friend in the form of “Start Menu 8”, their Start Menu replacement for Windows 8. In a number of ways it’s actually better than the Start Menu that was in previous versions of Windows. It keeps the look, feel, and usefulness of the Windows 7 Start Menu, but is completely customizable, so you can tune it to exactly your desired level of functionality. Using Start Menu 8 has made being productive on Windows 8 much easier for me, despite Microsoft’s best efforts to the contrary.
If you’re like me, and want to be able to use your PC to do useful things instead of spending your day staring at a cubist interpretation of a bag of skittles, give Start Menu 8 a try. It’s free.
It is bundled with some other “system cleaning” software, be sure to uncheck the box if you do not wish to install the bundled software.