Friday, August 28, 2015

Make Windows 10 a bit more productive and allow it to feel more like Windows 7 in one easy step! **Updated**

I am not a shill, but I am going to mention for you a very nice little product that gives you back that Windows 7 style start menu and makes the transition from Windows 7 to Windows 10 utterly painless.

The product is called Start10 and comes from a company called Stardock.

I used the previous version of this product – Start8 – for years as I was an extremely early adopter of Windows 8. I always considered all the whinging over Windows 8’s Metro interface to be trivial and a waste of time. A quick Google search led you straight to Stardock and two key products – Start8, and ModernMix. Modernmix allowed Metro applications (now called Universal applications) to run inside a window in desktop mode, bridging the gap between the two GUIs. It was amazing, but Windows 10 does that for you now, so Modernmix will die off slowly (still useful for Windows 8 and 8.1 users though.)

Start10 takes the Windows 10 tiled start menu and adds back all the features you may have loved about the very mature Windows 7 menu. It is customizable so that you can choose to have it look more or less like Windows 10. I use the following style, which works perfectly for me:


You can customize the actual start button too. Many choices, although few appeal to me.

I like to pin certain apps to the start menu as shown above and others to the task bar. All in all, I find this extremely functional.

The app is 5 bucks. Anyone who thinks they would like to try it should just do it. Note: Start 8 was working fine for me as well after the upgrade. I decided, though, that the cheap upgrade made more sense. I spent a few minutes with the native Windows 10 start menu in between and I am not likely to go back.

YMMV of course.


I should have waxed a bit more eloquently about other features in Start10, as some might look and say “no big deal.”

First, when you right click you get the familiar shortcuts to key maintenance items:


Second, the configuration interface is very slick and powerful, though simple.


As I mentioned in the first part of the article, I like the modern interface. Looks terrific and provides a Windows 7-like experience. The Windows 10 look is too much like the native look to appeal to me, but some may like it and use the extra configurability. Remember, this is a very inexpensive application, so trying it is worth your while if you find the native start menu in 10 to be limiting (and I sure did.) Note that you can choose to have the icon or leave it off in the modern style:


Your options for the actual start button are rather diverse, to say the least Smile… the buttons are live in that they change color when you roll over them. The Triangle Two button is invisible, only appearing when you roll over it for example. Here is the full range of options:


It even allows you to choose your own image, as you can see at the bottom right …

Regarding the color of the menu etc., you can choose a solid or translucent menu and you can choose any background color. For example (and I am going to leave it like this for now):


You can also select many options on the Appearance sub menu, including a texture or image background for the start menu. You can pick your own image, too. Here is one of the stock ones:


And, as will be obvious, the Configure submenu will give you many options to customize what appears on the menu and how it is shown …


The Control panel allows you to configure the meaning of all possible gestures to launch Start10 and the Windows 10 native menu. If you like some aspects of the native menu, you can get at it easily using whatever gesture you choose:


I have the Windows key set to open the Windows 10 menu, which looks like:


And finally, the Desktop panel allows you to configure some of the more subtle aspects of the start menus.


I hope this was useful and I will reiterate one more time … I am not a shill and I have paid for every Stardock application I use. I just happen to think that they do very good work and these apps are useful to me.