Pokki, a special start menu for Windows

Martin Brinkmann
Nov 24, 2012
Software, Windows software

There is definitely no shortage when it comes to programs that add a start menu back to the Windows 8 operating system. That's a good thing for users of the operating system as they can pick the start menu they are most comfortable working with. Most solutions share the same traits though, they mimic the Windows 7 start menu by making available the same functionality that it provides on Windows 8.

Some go the extra step and add additional skins - like Classic Shell - or the option to launch Windows Store apps from the start menu as well, like Start8 or Classic Shell.

Pokki is different. While it makes available a start menu of its own as well, it uses a completely different layout and design which some users may like a lot and others not at all. A click on the start menu button or a tap on the Windows-key opens the start menu on the desktop. It loads a favorites section by default, which features icons of programs, apps, control panel apps, and websites that you have added there. Here you also find the Pokki store app which you unfortunately cannot remove from your favorites. You can move it to the second favorites page though where it is not immediately visible.

pokki start menu

You can add apps, software or websites to the favorites by using the search your computer option at the top, or by clicking on all apps or control panel and picking the items you want listed here from there. Not everything is listed under these two menu items though, you do not find Windows Store apps listed here for instance or websites.

To add a website, you simply enter its url into the search and click on the the star symbol afterwards to add it to the listing. You can furthermore add programs installed on your PC, any file, documents for instance or Windows Store apps using the same methodology.

Pokki ships with its own apps store that you can browse to find apps and games that you may want to install on your system. What may make this interesting for some users is that you can add messaging and social networking to your computer that track notifications and messages for you. The Facebook app displays all the recent notifications that you have received for instance in form of a number on its icon and on the notification bar on the right. The same is true for the Twitter, Gmail, Outlook, Yahoo Mail or Linkedin apps that are also available here.

If you like desktop notifications this could be an alternative to third party programs that provide that functionality for your PC. The apps open up in a window on the desktop and not in a system browser.

A right-click on the start menu icon and the selection of settings opens the preferences. First thing I did was to disable that the Windows-key opens the start menu and not the start screen. Since there is no link in the start menu to get to the Windows 8 start screen, the only option to go there is by using the Charms Bar. Here you can make other changes, like disabling all hot corners, changing the position of notifications on the desktop,or disabling notifications completely, or to change the functionality of the bottom left hot corner.

Pokki uses a different layout than other start menu programs for Windows 8. That's good because choice is always good, but may require some getting used to time. The integration of apps, especially those allowing notifications, is another addition that some users may definitely find attractive especially since they may replace desktop programs serving the same purpose. Pokki is available for all recent versions of Microsoft Windows.


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  1. jasray said on August 22, 2013 at 4:12 pm

    For me, the installation of Stardock’s Start8 made Windows 8 feel like SP1 for Windows 7. I am trying Start Menu Reviver which isn’t bad. Pokki may work. The idea, however, of adding Pokki to a new system when so many different options exist makes me see Pokki as bloatware, not a solution to a problem.

  2. edward said on August 10, 2013 at 12:54 pm

    pokki is a crap. because it doesn’t list all files.

  3. Dwight Stegall said on November 27, 2012 at 5:55 am

    Instead try Start8 from Stardock.com you might like it better.

    1. Jennifer said on November 27, 2012 at 6:09 am

      It’s nice, but not free.

  4. Leslie said on November 25, 2012 at 11:33 am

    I question why anyone should bother with this. The whole idea of the resurrection of the start menu is familiarity and hence a reduced learning curve.

    IMO you either use a classic start menu (any of them) OR you learn to use Windows 8 as delivered. This is neither and therefore I will not be wasting my time with it.

    1. creamshaw said on November 25, 2012 at 2:26 pm

      My sentiments exactly. The OP claims it takes some getting used to and yet all that time learning that could be used for “getting used to” the new start screen.

      glad to see some sanity still prevails here Leslie.

  5. Adrian said on November 24, 2012 at 11:21 pm

    “First thing I did was to disable that the Windows-key opens the start menu and not the start screen. Since there is no link in the start menu to get to the Windows 8 start screen, the only option to go there is by using the Charms Bar.”

    In the Pokki menu, the button to the left of the Shutdown button opens the Windows 8 start screen.

  6. Shai said on November 24, 2012 at 10:52 pm

    I think that one useful tool that as far as I could tell doesn’t get much attention in this whole Start Menu Replacement discussion, and I think deserves more attention is Mouser’s LaunchBar Commander (http://www.donationcoder.com/Software/Mouser/LaunchBarCommander/index.html)

  7. lainiwaku said on November 24, 2012 at 6:25 pm

    hmmm after try it , i don’t really like it, we can’t choose an customized shortcut key and i can’t add to my nexus dock . . .

  8. lainiwaku said on November 24, 2012 at 5:57 pm

    that’s how metro should look like !!

  9. Teiji said on November 24, 2012 at 5:37 pm

    I used it before but ditched it for Start8 because Pokki’s search is limited to only apps and programs (not files or system settings). Is that still true?

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on November 24, 2012 at 7:02 pm

      Files are now listed as well.

      1. Teiji said on November 24, 2012 at 7:51 pm

        That’s nice to know. But I’m currently loving Start8 for Windows 8. It makes Windows 8 much more enjoyable to use!

        Maybe in the future, I’ll give Pokki another try.

  10. jimmyjamesjimmy said on November 24, 2012 at 2:54 pm

    i do like the design. it’s good to be different

  11. imu said on November 24, 2012 at 2:37 pm

    Nice! and also I think this is worth to mention that Pokki does not require admin rights to be installed.
    The only downside I can see is that it should be able to adopt to the current user’s colours theme.

    ghacks rulez :)

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