Add A Start Menu To Your Windows 8 Consumer Preview Installation With ViStart

Ads by Google

We’ve previously discussed how to disable the Metro user interface on the Windows 8 Developer Preview, but with the more polished presentation offered by the Windows 8 Consumer Preview, it seems that there is a bit of a problem. You can’t disable Metro.

Now, there are various things to consider here, from the fact that this isn’t the final release of Windows 8 to being aware that corporate users will simply have no time for messing about with the Windows 8 Metro user interface. One way or another there will be a way around Metro. But how can you circumvent the touch-focused Metro UI in the Windows 8 Consumer Preview?

The truth is that you can’t, not completely. However, you can avoid using it once you’ve switched to desktop mode, using a free Windows enhancement called ViStart.

What Is ViStart?

A free download intended for Windows Vista and Windows 7, ViStart is a useful tool for anyone interested in building and adapting themes and skins. Obviously Windows 7 already has a Start menu, so ViStart acts as a replacement that can be edited and configured with visual enhancements and designs of your choice.

It is useful to anyone wanting to avoid using Metro in Windows 8 Consumer Preview as it allows for the restoration of the Windows Start menu “pearl” button as seen in Windows 7.

By following these steps you can expect to have a new Start button on the Windows 8 desktop view in a matter of minutes.

Ads by Google

Adding A Windows 7 Start Menu To Windows 8

Get started by booting Windows 8 and clicking the Desktop tile, found by default in the lower-left position of the Metro Start screen.

Here you will see that, where the Start button would normally be, you have an Internet Explorer button in the shape of a blue “e”. By dropping your mouse pointer into the lower-left corner of the screen you will see the new Start button appear; left-clicking will return you to the Metro Start screen.

But of course, you don’t want to do this. Instead, launch Internet Explorer and head to this page. Once the page loads, look for the Download button and save windows-start-menu-vistart.exe to your computer.

Proceed by running the application, but take care not to download any of the additional enhancements it suggests – we only want the basic ViStart tool. You can do this on the third screen of the installer by selecting Custom Installation (Advanced) and clearing the checkboxes.

In subsequent screens you will need to Decline the option to install further enhancements. Don’t worry if the installer appears to close without completing – the software will have been installed.

Overlapping Buttons?

There is a chance that after installing ViStart onto the Windows 8 desktop that the Internet Explorer button will be squashed up, thereby overlapping the new Start menu button.

Fortunately this can be resolved by creating a new taskbar menu. Right-click the desktop and select New > Folder, the result of which should appear, waiting for you to label it; you don’t need to do this, however. Next, right-click the taskbar and clear the check on the Lock the Taskbar option.

Return to the folder and open it, then select Desktop in the left pane, where you will see the folder listed. From here, left-click and drag the folder from the right-pane to the taskbar, dropping it between the Start button and the Internet Explorer icon.

You will find that the text “New Folder” now appears. This looks untidy, but can be fixed by right-clicking the text and clearing the checks on Show Text and Show Title. The folder will now be hidden, the space it occupies pushing the Internet Explorer button away from the Start menu button!


It is a little strange that Microsoft should have blocked the ability to disable Metro in Windows 8 Consumer Preview, given that the user interface isn’t all-pervading in the new OS. Various advanced screens rely on the old-style Windows Explorer-based interface, for instance, and the WINKEY+R combination still works – it can even be run from the Metro Start screen!

Ultimately, when Windows 8 is released Microsoft will have to take steps to allow the huge corporate market to disable Metro on desktops and laptop computers. However, until the final version is made available this solution works pretty well on the Consumer Preview, enabling users to virtually ignore the Metro Start screen.

Let us know in the comments below if Vistart worked for you and if you like the new start menu.

Join live MakeUseOf Groups on Grouvi App Join live Groups on Grouvi
Windows Hacks & Customization
Windows Hacks & Customization
272 Members
231 Members
Best Windows Software
Best Windows Software
164 Members
Windows Troubleshooting
Windows Troubleshooting
158 Members
Windows Security
Windows Security
74 Members
Ads by Google
Comments (41)
  • umberto giacobbi

    I happily use BringBack from Revel Software… with Windows 8 preview and now RTM it’s a “standard” start menu but with a refreshed UI and some nice features…

  • biazen

    vistart is very good solution for windows 8 to use start menu. but there is a problem when i turn off my computer. what is the solution for this

    • Christian Cawley

      It depends what the problem is!

      What actually happens when you shut down?

  • Ziz

    As many are cursing MS, I’m sure they are not making this silly mistake of forcing something down our throat. This is just a preview and MS wants us to use Metro as much as possible and get the feedback. Actual release will definitely provide Start menu option. Else they are doomed.

  • GodSponge

    Haven’t tried ViStart yet. I’ve been Using a beta of Start8 which looks promising. Lots of missing functionality so far though.

  • Reg_Z

    Difficult to please everyone nowadays but here’s what I think is the right thing to do… Microsoft doesn’t force anyone to use Windows 8. It’s wrong to say that they are forcing you to upgrade to Windows 8 because they have dropped support for older versions. In fact no… You’ll still get to download newer updates from windows except for XP-downwards. What you wont get is… NEW FEATURES which makes you curious to know what and how to use them and then… Once you tried it…. You want to make it work with the old system that you have…. Now this is pathetic guys… If you want to try something new… take it and take all of it… These new features are actually something that gives you direction to move on and not stand still on where you are. It’s too stupid to ask for something that was already given up because it’s too old and boring… I’d say if you can’t live with a world going forward… Then stay where you are and don’t complain and don’t even try something new if you can’t handle it. People worked hard to develop this new system doesn’t need your comments if you will only ask them to put it back like it was before. Open your minds and try to learn something new… If you can’t do that, then stay behind, admit who you are and don’t complain!!!

Load 10 more
Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.
Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.
New comment

Please login to avoid entering captcha

Log In