Today we are taking a look at StartIsBack a program that promises to restore the Windows 7 style start screen to Windows 8. With Windows 8 Microsoft introduced a new Start screen with its “Metro” UI that has a series of tiles. Relatively great except when one is in a work environment and has live tiles show up with someone’s changed profile picture that looks unbecoming. Also, a lot of users prefer the ability to easily launch applications from the Windows 8 desktop instead of having to swap from the more traditional desktop to the Metro UI. StartIsBack is a program we have been using to not only bring the Windows 7 style start menu to Windows 8 but also to allow full access to the Start Screen. Let’s take a look at the utility.
StartIsBack has a very simple installer and setup screen. We have been using this in various beta stages and it has improved quite a bit. The basic configuration allows for a very Windows 7 like implementation of the start menu in Windows 8.
StartIsBack also brings back the Windows 7 style start menu to Windows 8 with a little flare. One can customize the appearance of the start menu that is displayed.
One great feature is the ability to fine tune how one gets to the start menu and start screen. For example, on a desktop the configuration below makes sense. On a Microsoft Surface Pro, the configuration below will make the touch UI of the start screen unreachable through the home screen button. One can then switch what triggers the start menu versus the start screen in Windows 8. Another key feature of StartIsBack is the ability to enable or disable Windows 8 screen edges on primary and secondary monitors.
StartIsBAck also has settings to tweak various settings such as displaying recently shared items or disabling StartIsBack for a given user.
Overall StartIsBack accomplishes its goal of bringing the Windows 7 start menu back to Windows 8. The utility also goes beyond and offers a few tweaks that allow easy adjustment of some of the Windows 8 features such as determining what screen edges do. Overall, the solution works well. One has to wonder why Microsoft didn’t just enable similar functionality in the first place.