Microsoft has removed the start menu for good in the Windows 8 Consumer Preview version that was released yesterday. If you have tested the Developer Preview version of the operating system, you might have noticed that it was possible to restore the start menu in that release.
With the start menu removed completely in the Consumer Preview release, Windows 8 users who'd like the shiny orb back where it belongs need to look elsewhere.
The first solution to restore the start menu in Windows 8 is provided by ViStart, a program initially designed for bringing Vista's Start Menu to Windows XP. The program has been updated regularly ever since it was created, and it is working in all recent versions of the Windows operating system, including the Developer Preview version of Windows 8.
Setup is slightly complicated, but it should be doable by users of all experience levels. Download ViStart from the developer website and install the program. Take note that it contains third party offers in the installer that you may not want to install (two on separate pages on the test system).
Once it is installed and running, you will notice that the start menu orb has been placed in its original location. You can click on the icon to bring up the start menu. A side-effect is that ViStart maps the Windows key to the opening of the start menu, so that the operating system won't switch into Metro anymore when you press that key. Metro UI is however not completely turned off, and you may be able to get back in via Alt-Tab or the Charms menu.
The icon overlaps with the first pinned taskbar icon on the other hand which you may not like. Here is how this is resolved:
ViStart restores the Windows Start Menu in Windows 8 and re-maps the Windows hotkey to open the start menu instead of the Metro UI start page. (via Tweaking with Vishal)
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