ViStart Restores Start Menu, Disables Metro Ui in Windows 8

Martin Brinkmann
Mar 2, 2012
Updated • Mar 2, 2012
Software, Windows, Windows 8, Windows tips

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:

  • Create a new folder on the desktop or another location.
  • Right-click the Windows Taskbar and select Toolbars > New Toolbar from the context menu. Select the newly created folder. You will notice that the new toolbar is placed on the right end of the taskbar.
  • Right-click the taskbar again and select Lock The Taskbar. This unlocks the Windows Taskbar so that you can move the taskbar elements around.
  • Now drag the new toolbar to the very left of the screen so that starts before the original toolbar with the pinned taskbar items.
  • Right-click the taskbar again and uncheck Show Text and Show title in the context menu.
  • Now move the original toolbar with a double-click on the separator near the start menu orb.

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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  1. xpclient said on May 4, 2012 at 2:27 pm

    Here’s a Classic Shell skin: to make it look like the Windows 7 Start Menu.

  2. Bob said on March 5, 2012 at 1:13 am

    The maker of ViStart has updated the program, so that it automatically moves the taskbar to the right, making room for the start orb. So easy now.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on March 5, 2012 at 10:51 am

      That’s great, thanks for letting us now about it Bob.

  3. Rizonesoft said on March 4, 2012 at 12:11 pm

    Microsoft removed the Start Menu and the Start Button completely. If I wanted to do all my office work on a tablet, I would have gone and bought myself a new iPad (which I still might do, if I’m forced to choose between a Windows tablet and an iPad). Why can’t we just leave the tablet market to Apple and the PC market to Microsoft? Don’t get me wrong, I like Windows 8 in general, but what happened to freedom of speech and choices. In Windows XP we had the choice to switch back to the Classic Start Menu and in Windows 7 we have XP Mode.

    It looks like in Windows 8, the only choices we have are to tablet or not to tablet. Rizonesoft started a petition to ask Microsoft to at least give us a choice between the interfaces and bring the Start Menu back. Go here: for more information about the petition. Please help Rizonesoft accomplish this almost impossible task by signing and sharing this petition.

  4. Al said on March 4, 2012 at 2:15 am

    ViStart sort of works.

    I could not modify the Start Menu (add or delete anything), but it is step in the right direction.

    Hopefully M$ realizes that not everyone likes/wants/needs the Metro UI, and will restore the Classic Desktop option.

  5. berttie said on March 2, 2012 at 11:35 pm


    No, Win-8 should be released a few days earlier, so that by December 12 we’ll all be so frustrated with it that we’ll be praying for a merciful release from the torment.

  6. Bret said on March 2, 2012 at 9:05 pm

    Classic Shell should support Win8 as it progresses towards doom, err I mean release:

    Perhaps Win8 should be released on 12 December 2012 when the world is supposed to end. That might be more than just a coincidence.

  7. Usman said on March 2, 2012 at 9:03 pm

    Uncategorized? I think the post should have a better category ;-)

  8. fokka said on March 2, 2012 at 7:02 pm

    thanks for the info! i always hoped this would be possible in a final version.

  9. Sasa_RI said on March 2, 2012 at 5:02 pm

    No,its not.At least for me. Nothing happens. I hope someone will find a way so maybe i will replace my Win 7 MCE for Win 8 MCE which are the same only faster on old HTPC hardware (Atom 2 core)

  10. lookmann said on March 2, 2012 at 12:15 pm

    someone try ‘metrocheat’ from deviant art and tell the difference.

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on March 2, 2012 at 1:23 pm

      Is it working in the CP version? It does not look that way?

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