When Windows 8 shipped without a start menu and forced anyone to use the full-screen Start Screen view instead to switch between it and the desktop regularly, third-party start menu replacements started to appear left and right.
Probably the (commercially) most successful one was Start 8. It was first offered as a free beta but later turned into a paid product.
The start menu replacement and many competing products allowed Windows 8 users to display a start menu that resembled the Windows 7 menu.
Microsoft announced shortly thereafter, after it became clear that Windows 8 would not be the system seller and entry in the tablet market the company hoped it would be, a re-introduction of the start menu in Windows 8.1.
Users were happy until they saw the menu for the first time. Instead of bringing back the Windows 7 start menu, Microsoft launched one that linked to often used programs and features but was not sufficient for the likes of many desktop users.
So, all was good for the makers of start menu replacements.
The start menu in Windows 10 is Microsoft's second attempt at bringing back a start menu and while it looks more promising, it is still not the Windows 7 start menu that many users hoped it would be.
That's good news for companies who produce start menu alternatives.
Stardock just launched Start 10 as a private beta for users of the company's Object Desktop applications.
The company is not the first to release a replacement start menu for Windows 10 though. Classic Shell, a free program released an update last year that made it compatible with the Windows 10 operating system.
Start 10 works in many regards just like Start 8. After you have installed it you get to pick a different layout for the start menu.
The program features the classic Windows 7 start menu and a themed Windows 10 start menu right now.
You switch styles in the configuration. There you find options to switch between both menu themes and modify a selection of start menu related features such as enabling or disabling menu translucency or selecting a different Start button that is displayed in the taskbar.
If you are an Object Desktop subscriber you can download and install the start menu right now. Note that it requires the Windows 10 January build 10.0.9926.
Start menu replacements will certainly retain some of their popularity on Windows 10 but it is unlikely that they will make as of an impact as they did on Windows 8.
The Windows 10 start menu in its current form may not be ideal but it is customizable to some degree. If you don't use apps, you can simply remove all of them from it so that they don't show up there.
Advertising revenue is falling fast across the Internet, and independently-run sites like Ghacks are hit hardest by it. The advertising model in its current form is coming to an end, and we have to find other ways to continue operating this site.
We are committed to keeping our content free and independent, which means no paywalls, no sponsored posts, no annoying ad formats (video ads) or subscription fees.
If you like our content, and would like to help, please consider making a contribution:
Ghacks is a technology news blog that was founded in 2005 by Martin Brinkmann. It has since then become one of the most popular tech news sites on the Internet with five authors and regular contributions from freelance writers.