Windows 8 Classic Start Menu & Legacy Windows Apps

Resolving Windows 8 Problems on new Metro UI by getting back Classic Start menu

For those of you who have already been on both Developer Preview and Consumer Preview versions of Windows 8, you must have definitely noticed the absence of the “Start” button and the classic “Start” menu on it.

Now this change was actually supposed to make way for the newly enhanced “Metro User Interface”. However in going by recent reports, metro seems to have only given rise to more Windows 8 problems.

So in getting on with our article, here are a few good ways by which you can revert back to the old classic Start menu for your copy of Windows 8. For Developer Preview users, simply delete the “shsxs.dll” file to get rid of Metro. As for Consumer Preview, follow the steps as given below.

Getting back on Windows Classic Start menu and resolving Windows 8 Problems with Metro UI

1.      Create a new Start menu toolbar

Windows 8 Support

Classic Start Menu in Windows 8

Proceed to creating a pseudo “Start” menu without having to install any other software on Windows 8 by first right-clicking on the desktop taskbar, then point to “Toolbars and select New toolbar”. Type or copy then paste the following path into the “Choose a folder window:

%ProgramData%\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs

Click on the Select Folder button to get the Programs menu on your taskbar. Right-click on the taskbar then uncheck Lock the taskbar if you wish to move the new Programs menu around. Following which drag and drop the grip at the left side of the toolbar so as to place it somewhere else on the taskbar. Right-click on Programs if you wish to change or hide its name. Once after you’re done, right-click on the taskbar again and select Lock the taskbar”.

(NOTE: The one catch with this method is that it won’t show all your programs. The Start menu simply grabs shortcuts from two different places)

2.      Installing ViStart (Third Party Start Button)

The next option is in installing a third party Start button called “ViStart” in getting rid of your Windows 8 problems with the Metro UI.

To begin with, download and install the same for your computer.

(NOTE: While installing ViStart, it might also want to install other software’s. Click on the “Decline button when this happens)

After successfully completing its installation, the Windows 7 styled “Start” orb should appear on the left side of your taskbar. Also select “Options” from the ViStart system tray icon if you wish to configure more changes on it. And as such, you can easily find the options in changing the default Web browser, email client and other program settings.

Windows 8 Problems with ARM failing to run Legacy Windows Apps

The latest update about more of Windows 8 problems that seems to be making the rounds is that of Microsoft responding to the rumors about Windows 8 tablets with ARM chips and how they will not be able to run legacy Windows 7 applications (with the only possible exception of Office).

Microsoft executives stated that they had in fact made it “very clear” from the beginning that Windows 7 legacy applications will not run on Windows 8 based ARM tablets.

Now in considering the conditions as such, Microsoft would normally have two options in porting the legacy apps over to the new ARM architecture which can either be by:

  • The hardware based emulation with some logic for interpreting X86 instructions
  • Or the software based emulation with something similar to the code morphing software used by the early Transmeta chips

But whatever the case maybe, the fact still stands that the performance of the legacy applications on Windows 7 operating systems would sadly be lower than apps that were natively compiled. And Microsoft appears to have passed over the opportunity to clarify the situation.

Earlier, an official Q&A from CES failed to clarify the same issue and the chances of it leading to more Windows 8 problems. Even reports from the time did not clarify the issue. Microsoft also addressed Intel chief executive Paul Otellini’s comments about the “four ports” of Windows 8 on ARM, without specifying

Windows 8 Install

Legacy Windows App

its own plans.

Microsoft suggests that its decision in not including support for legacy software with Windows 8 on ARM was based on effective battery life and security. That Legacy apps weren’t suppose to be written as being “really great in the face of limited battery constraints”, a hallmark of the “Metro” tablet interface for Windows 8.

Moreover, Microsoft also added that there would be an initial risk that malware writers would port viruses over to the Windows 8-on-ARM platform causing more Windows 8 problems.

Microsoft finally pointed to its previously demonstrated Microsoft Office running on the new Windows 8 platform explaining that, “When we have something that we want to talk about, we will, but certainly you ought to expect that we are rethinking and working hard on what it would mean to do Office Metro style”.


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One thought on “Windows 8 Classic Start Menu & Legacy Windows Apps

  1. Asok Asus

    Just wanted to note that Classic Shell 3.5.0 has just been released, and it works beautifully on Windows 8 Consumer Preview, providing a highly functional and highly customizable Start Menu, as well as allowing one to substantially augment the Explorer ribbon, providing the ability to add a whole row of traditional Explorer function icons.. I think Classic Shell is a much better alternative than ViStart. In fact, I like Classic Shell better than than the Vista and Windows 7 Start Menus anyway. Classic Shell can be downloaded at:


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