StartIsBack+ adds taskbar to Start Screen on Windows 8.1

Martin Brinkmann
Oct 10, 2013
Updated • Oct 10, 2013
Windows, Windows 8

More than a dozen different start menu programs have been created which all add a start menu back to Microsoft's newest operating system Windows 8 and Windows 8.1. Depending on which program you install, you may have access to other features that improve the usability of the operating system.

The release of StartIsBack+ today introduces one of the coolest features yet: the display of the Windows taskbar on the Start Screen.

StartIsBack+ has been designed for Windows 8.1 exclusively, which means that you cannot use it on Windows 8. That's not that much of a problem though, considering that all Windows 8 users will be able to upgrade to Windows 8.1 for free in October 2013.

Once you have installed StartIsBack+ on Windows 8.1, you are greeted with a screen that informs you about some of the features that it introduces.

Note: The program is not free. You can try it for 30-days without restrictions. It reverts to a basic mode afterwards that is not that useful. You can buy a personal license for two computer systems for $3, which is a reasonable price, or a 5 PC license for $5.

Existing StartIsBack users do not need to buy a new license. It will work on StartIsBack for Windows 8 and StartIsBack+ for Windows 8.1.

StartIsBack+ for Windows 8.1

startisback+ windows taskbar start screen

The taskbar is just one of the features that the program adds to Windows 8.1, but it is definitely one of the better ones, as you can access taskbar programs right away from the operating system's start screen.

windows 8.1 start menu

The program ships with four different start menu designs that you can choose from. Plain8 is the default selection, but you can also select one that resembles the Windows 7 start menu style, and two that use Aero.

You can tap on the Windows-key to open the start menu, or Ctrl-Windows to open the Start screen. Those settings can be modified in the options:

startisback switching config

  1. When I log on to my PC: Show Desktop, or Show Start Screen.
  2. When I close modern apps: Switch to the last used environment, or Switch to Desktop, or Switch to Start Screen.
  3. When I press Windows key: Show Start Menu, or Show Start Screen, or do nothing.
  4. When I press windows key+CTRL: Show Start Screen, or Show Start Menu, or do nothing.
  5. When I hold Windows key: Do nothing, or Show everything at once (focus charms), or Show everything at once (focus search).
  6. All screen corners are active on the desktop.
  7. Enable top screen edge (snap).
  8. Enable top-left screen corner (started apps).
  9. Enable top-right screen corner (charms bar).
  10. Enable bottom-right screen corner (charms bar).
  11. Enable bottom-left screen corner (Start Screen).
  12. All screen corners are active on secondary monitors.

And this is just one of the configuration screens StartIsBack+ offers. When you switch to Start Menu, you get the following options:

startisback start menu

  1. My Programs: use large icons, display Start Screen shortcut, Display frequently used Modern apps.
  2. All Programs: Sort items by name, Display folders before items, Display as flyout menu (Windows XP style).
  3. General: Highlight newly installed programs, Open submenus when I pause on them with the mouse pointer, Display Start menu adjacent to vertical taskbar.
  4. Search: Search programs and settings, Search public folders.
  5. Right side items: Display user folder, custom folders.
  6. Power button default action: shut down.

You will find other options in the configuration. Here you can disable the recording of recently closed programs and items, whether you want to enable shared corners between multiple monitors, or modify the start menus' look and feel in detail.

Closing Words

The coolest feature by far is the integration of the taskbar on the Windows 8.1 start screen. It is a simply thing but it improves the usability quite a bit. You are probably wondering what is happening when you start modern apps on the start screen. The taskbar fades away so that apps use all of the screen by default.

If you are running a multi-monitor setup, you will benefit from other features that StartIsBack+ offers. This includes a start menu button on each monitor, options to disable hot corners between monitors so that you do not open them all the time when you are moving the mouse cursor from one monitor to the other, and options to selectively disable hot corners that you do not need.


Tutorials & Tips

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  1. Dan Donx said on January 15, 2023 at 10:29 am

    What mental age of reader are you targeting with the first sentence? 10?

    Why not write an article on how to *avoid* upgrading from W10 to W11. Analogous to those like me who avoided upgrading from 7 to 10 for as long as possible.

    If your paymaster Microsoft permits it, of course.

  2. Dexter said on January 15, 2023 at 11:14 am

    5. Rufus
    6. Ventoy

    PS. I hate reading these “SEO optimized” articles.

    1. cdr said on January 15, 2023 at 3:32 pm

      I used Rufus to create an installer for a 6th gen intel i5 that had MBR. It upgraded using Setup. No issues except for Win 11 always prompting me to replace my local account. Still using Win 10 Pro on all my other PCs to avoid the bullying.

  3. sv said on January 15, 2023 at 6:40 pm

    bit pointless to upgrade for the sake of upgrading as you never know when you’ll get locked out because ms might suddenly not provide updates to unsupported systems.

    ps…. time travelling?
    written. Jan 15, 2023
    Updated • Jan 13, 2023

    1. Martin Brinkmann said on January 16, 2023 at 5:49 am

      This happens when you schedule a post in WordPress and update it before setting the publication date.

  4. Anonymous said on January 16, 2023 at 8:24 am

    Anyone willing to downgrade to this awful OS must like inflicting themselves with harm.

  5. basingstoke said on January 16, 2023 at 11:18 am

    I have become convinced now that anybody who has no qualms with using Windows 11/10 must fit into one of the following brackets:

    1) Too young to remember a time before W10 and W11 (doesn’t know better)

    2) Wants to play the latest games on their PC above anything else (or deeply needs some software which already dropped W7 support)

    3) Doesn’t know too much about how computers work, worried that they’d be absolutely lost and in trouble without the “”latest security””

    4) Microsoft apologist that tries to justify that the latest “features” and “changes” are actually a good thing, that improve Windows

    5) Uses their computer to do a bare minimum of like 3 different things, browse web, check emails, etc, so really doesn’t fuss

    Obviously that doesn’t cover everyone, there’s also the category that:

    6) Actually liked W7 more than 10, and held out as long as possible before switching, begrudgingly uses 10 now

    Have I missed any group off this list?

    1. Heinz Strunk said on September 19, 2023 at 3:57 pm

      You have missed in this group just about any professional user that uses business software like CAD programs or ERP Programs which are 99% of all professional users from this list.

      Linux doesn’t help anyone who is not a linux kid and apple is just a fancy facebook machine.

  6. ilev said on August 24, 2023 at 7:34 pm

    Microsoft has removed KB5029351 update

    1. EP said on August 24, 2023 at 9:21 pm

      only from windows update though
      KB5029351 is still available from the ms update catalog site

  7. Anonymous said on August 24, 2023 at 11:05 pm

    1. This update is labaled as PREVIEW if it causes issues to unintelligent people, then they shouldn’t have allowed Preview updates ot install.

    2. I have installed it in a 11 years old computer, and no problems at all.

    3. Making a big drama over a bluescreen for an updated labeled as preview is ridiculous.

    This is probably another BS internet drama where people ran programs and scripts that modified the registry until they broke Windows, just for removing stuff that they weren’t even using just for the sake of it.
    Maybe people should stop playing geeks and actually either use Windows 10 or Windows 11, but don’t try to modify things just for the sake of it.

    Sometimes removing or stopping things (like defender is a perfect example) only need intelligence, not scripts or 3rd party programs that might mess with windows.

  8. john said on August 24, 2023 at 11:17 pm

    Windows 11 was a pointless release, it was just created because some of the Windows team wanted to boost sales with some sort of new and improved Windows 10. Instead, Microsoft cannot support one version well let alone two.

    1. John G. said on August 25, 2023 at 12:08 pm

      Windows 11 is the worst ugly shame by Microsoft ever. They should release with every new W11 version a complete free version of Starallback inside just to make this sh** OS functionally again.

  9. EP said on August 25, 2023 at 3:10 pm

    motherboard maker MSI has recently released a statement regarding the “unsupported processor” blue screen error for their boards using Intel 600/700 series chipsets & to avoid the KB5029351 Win11 update:–UNSUPPORTED-PROCESSOR–Error-Message-of-Windows-11-Update-KB5029351-Preview-142215

  10. EP said on August 29, 2023 at 7:32 pm

    check out the following recent articles:

    Neowin – Microsoft puts little blame on its Windows update after UNSUPPORTED PROCESSOR BSOD bug:

    BleepingComputer – Microsoft blames ‘unsupported processor’ blue screens on OEM vendors:

  11. Leonard Britvolli said on August 30, 2023 at 10:33 pm

    While there may be changes or updates to the Windows 10 Store for Business and Education in the future, it is premature to conclude that it will be discontinued based solely on rumors.

  12. sembrador said on September 5, 2023 at 9:32 pm

    My advice, I left win 15 years ago. Now I’m a happy linux user (linuxmint) but there is Centos, Fedora, Ubuntu depending on your needs.

  13. EP said on September 6, 2023 at 11:55 am

    motherboard maker MSI has recently released new BIOS/firmware updates for their Intel 600 & 700 series motherboards to fix the “UNSUPPORTED_PROCESSOR” problem (Sept. 6):–UNSUPPORTED-PROCESSOR–caused-BSOD-on-MSI-s-Intel-700-and-600-Series-Motherboards-142277

  14. Raphael Benzo said on September 24, 2023 at 9:52 pm

    I try to disable the Diagnostics Tracking Service (Connected Devices Platform User Services) but it wont let me disable it, any help will be greatly appreciated.
    Tank you for your help

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