Live Tiles can clue you in to the latest e-mails, appointments, news, and other information. You can easily search for any app, setting, or file just by typing its name.
But I still find the folder-structured Start menu the quickest and easiest way to launch any application when I'm already working in the desktop.
Those of you who'd like the old menu back, at least as an option, can choose from a range of Start menu replacements. Most are free or offer a free version. Many go beyond just replicating the Start menu by letting you customize their look and feel.
Here's a rundown of the latest Windows 8 Start menu replacements that you can take for a spin.
A handy search field at the bottom can track down any application, file, or other item on your PC. The familiar Run command lets you type the name of a program, folder, or file to open it. The menu offers easy access to the Shutdown, Restart, Sleep, Hibernate, Log off, Screensaver, and Lock PC commands.
Right-clicking on Power8's Start button triggers a pop-up menu with several options. The Settings command lets you customize the software's behavior. You can set it to auto start each time you log in to Windows 8. You can also resize the button or change its image.
You can block all "Metro" features, which means your mouse will no longer trigger the Start screen thumbnail or the Charms bar. Even with that option enabled, you can still click on the Windows key to get to the Start screen or press Win+C to activate the Charms bar.
Created by a team of developers in the Ukraine, Power8 is a simple but effective Start menu replacement.
Also free, Win8 StartButton lets you tweak the look and feel of the Start menu with several customizable features. Clicking on the program's Start orb displays the usual two-pane menu with access to your programs and folders and commands for search, run, and help.
You'll also find options to shut down, restart, or hibernate your PC. Right-clicking on the orb leads you to a Settings window where you can change the layout of the menu and a variety of other features. For example, you can disable Windows 8 hot corners if you wish, add or remove commands in the menu, and change its skin.
Win8 StartButton is a handy program with a basic Start menu and several ways to customize advanced features.
What' more, there are some other ways to get the start menu back in Windows 8, such as Pokki for Windows 8, ViStart, StartMenu7, Classic Shell and so on.