Windows 10 Tip: Get the Windows 7 Start Menu Back

Posted on July 31, 2015 by Paul Thurrott in Windows 10 with 0 Comments

When I think about the experience of upgrading from Windows 7 to Windows 10, there is only one major area of concern from a user experience standpoint: the new Start menu. Yes, Microsoft should be applauded for listening to customers and bringing it back. And yes, I do feel that the new menu is both usable and better than the version in Windows 7. But for many users, and businesses nervous about training costs, this new UI could prove a bit too different from what they’re used to. Fortunately, there’s a fix.

That fix comes in the form of a third party utility called Start10, from Stardock. Yes, there are and will be other alternatives, and some will even be free, whereas Start10 costs a paltry $5 (though you can trial it for free to see if you like it). But Start10, like its Windows 8 predecessor, Start8, just works. And if you’re looking to take advantage of all of Windows 10’s other new features but simply want Start the way you prefer, Start10 is the way to go.

For example. Here’s my Windows 10 Start menu. I’m perfectly OK with this; again, I’m not suggesting that Windows 10 users in general should switch here, just that Start10 offers a more familiar environment for many Windows 7 upgraders.

start-normalSM

It’s pretty, and it’s possibly useful if you’re into live tiles on a traditional PC for some reason. But here’s what the default Start10 Start menu looks like on the same PC. It looks—and works—like the version in Windows 7.

start8-default-menu

I think most users interested in the Windows 7 Start menu will be fine with Start10 will use this as-is. But you can also configure it in very interesting ways, and perhaps move to the standard Windows 10 Start menu over time as things become more familiar.

configure

Start10 also lets you access the Windows 10 Start menu via a pinned link at the top. And items available from the Windows 10 Quick Access Menu—accessed by right-clicking the Start button normally)—are available where they used to be in Windows 7. So you’re not losing anything.

Start10 is currently available in beta, and Stardock says the final version will ship on August 12. Highly recommend for those worried that the Windows 10 Start menu goes a bit too far.