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You probably know that Microsoft killed the Start button in Windows 8. With the Windows 8.1 update, they restored it, turning it into a shortcut button for the Start screen or desktop. Thing is, some users aren’t happy – they don’t like the Start button, and want to remove it.

You Can’t Please Everyone

Windows users. You’ve got to hand it to us, we know how to complain.

Following the introduction of Windows 8, we complained at the lack of a Start button. At first, Microsoft held its nerve, but eventually relented in the face of users installing third party Start menu tools Start Menu, How I Miss Thee: 4 Ways To Make A Start Menu On Windows 8 Start Menu, How I Miss Thee: 4 Ways To Make A Start Menu On Windows 8 Windows 8 brought down the axe on the Start Menu. This is a feature that no one paid special attention to for years but its untimely demise has caused all sorts of despair. Not only... Read More .

With Windows 8.1, the Redmond tech giant offered a compromise – the desktop Start button that opens the Start screen.

muo-w81-startbutton

The problem is, it’s pretty ugly. Sitting on the desktop, it looks like an element of the Modern interface. By now, many users have already installed a Start menu replacement or even setup their own toolbar Build A Custom Windows 8 Start Menu Using Toolbars Build A Custom Windows 8 Start Menu Using Toolbars You’re using Windows 8. You want the Start Menu back – but do you really need it? Instead of relying on a third party substitute, build a custom Windows 8 Start Menu with a few... Read More .

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So, what do you do about the ugly Start button in Windows 8.1?

You hide it, of course!

Now You See It, Now You Don’t

There are a couple of ways to rid your Windows 8.1 desktop view of the pointless Start button. You might opt to either leave the toolbar empty or install a Start button replacement, complete with a functional Windows 7-style menu.

muo-w81-nostarty

For those of you with a distinct dislike of the taskbar being cluttered with anything pointless, StartIsGone is your saviour. Available from WinAero.com, the download is small and doesn’t require any additional software. It’s also portable, so can be run without installation.

muo-w81-settings

When active, StartIsGone will remove the Start button from the taskbar (although if you push your mouse pointer far enough into the corner of the screen, it will return; it’s also not great on multiple monitor setups). You can access a brief menu from the system tray, where the option to Run at startup can be found. If you don’t like the results, simply choose Exit from the same menu.

Different App, More Options

If you’re looking for an alternative, or just want more options than are available in StartIsGone available, then 7+ Taskbar Tweaker has plenty on offer.

muo-w81-taskbartweaker

Available as both a standard and a portable install (you can choose between these options in the installation wizard, which unpacks the app either to the default address or to a folder of your choice which you can then move), you will need to Run as administrator to launch the setup.

This is a great tool that – as the name suggests – enables you to introduce a selection of useful tweaks to your Windows desktop.

To use 7+ Taskbar Tweaker to remove the pesky new Windows 8.1 Start button, simply open the utility and look for the group of options labelled Other, found in the lower-right corner of the window. All you need do here is check the Hide the Start button option and the button will be immediately removed.

Once again, the results aren’t perfect on multi-monitor setups, and if you hit the “sweet spot” on your desktop, you will still be able to find the hidden Start button, but it is at least removed from the taskbar.

Meanwhile, if you’re looking for a way to replace the button with something more traditional, the Pokki tool is ideal. Designed to restore the classic Start menu Pokki Brings The Start Menu Back To Windows 8 (And Apps To The Desktop Mode) Pokki Brings The Start Menu Back To Windows 8 (And Apps To The Desktop Mode) Bring back the start menu in Windows 8 – and then some. Pokki is a simple app for re-adding the start menu to Windows 8, but that's not all it does: it also gives you... Read More , Pokki will also allow you to kill the new Start button in favour of adding a compact, Modern-themed replacement.

The Start Button Controversy: One Way Or Another, Microsoft Will End It

In the space of two years, Windows users have gone from enjoying the best ever iteration of Microsoft’s desktop operating system to what is surely the least popular.

The Start screen is both loved and loathed; the Start button is removed, restored and now manually hidden.

Impassioned pleas from users resulted in the Start button being restored in Windows 8.1, but it really is little more than a token gesture. However, Microsoft has the power to end this nonsense.

The question is, will they? At present, the smart money is on future Windows releases continuing to move the focus away from the desktop, rendering the old favourite irrelevant.

How do you think consumers will react to this?

  1. cc
    May 8, 2014 at 9:00 pm

    ..........."limited apps driven Smartphone/Apple "closed-ware" computer system which limits your ability to further use your computer until you figure it out;"

    The sentence above does not mean the system is limited; what is does mean is you are limited until you figure out the new OS and now have a new learning curve to accomplish.

  2. cc
    May 8, 2014 at 8:55 pm

    What is happening in the new Interface is Dumbing Down the people by removing the need to know how to use your computer by putting everything you need within reach, set it up the way "they want you to use it" and of reconfigure the OS so everyone on the planet is lost. This has a net affect of trashing most or all of your previous knowledge of the last OS.

    You are now getting a limited apps driven Smartphone/Apple "closed-ware" computer system which limits your ability to further use your computer until you figure it out; want proof: Go to Costco, Sam's Club or best Buy and watch the dumb-founded look on customers faces when they are looking for a new computer and come across the new Windows platform, then ask them what do they thing of Win8 (8.1) and the responses are "almost always" in these categories from having asked hundreds of customer: frustrated at the OS, lost, confused, hate it, ask for a Windows 7 model, or just plain pissed about the new OS on the computer they want and will not buy now.

    What Microsoft should have done was give you a desktop switcher so you can switch between both desktops of Windows 7 and 8+ and let the users choose and decide which interface they would like to rule their desktop work under. At least this way they can continue their growth/transition process of Windows, take steps at Win8 Desktop while still being fully comfortable/familiar with Win7 desktop and move between the two choosing which one they want to use for this or that or just totally convert to the new interface. At least the consumer is making the decision and not Microsoft Tardware productions.

  3. guesteriffic
    April 5, 2014 at 6:39 pm

    It is nothing major, but by re-adding the start button, it is as if microsoft gave in to the overall concept and design of windows 8. Without that design change on the desktop, it now feels exactly like 7, but then 7 and 8 were never truly different. Add a menu to 8 if desired, and you have 7 with optional apps.

    Windows 8 feels better without that start button. It takes up unnecessary space. I now even use windows 7 with 7+ taskbar tweaker shown above just to have extra 6space in the taskbar. I now prefer the start button removed regardless of what system I am using (clicking on the bottom left in 7 does bring up the start menu, but I hardly ever use it and have loads of programs installed-the taskbar and desktop will always be the fastest place for program access, unless you are an excessive installer with literally hundreds of programs installed).

    As for anyone complaining about being forced to use apps in 8... WHAT? Get to know the system for once. The true start menu in 8.1 is the second screen after hitting that start button, not the first (which is apps), and shows a screen 'listing' everything installed, they are not large enough to be called 'tiles'.

    The first screen with large tiles is irrelevant, they are 8's 'apps', more akin to vista and 7's gadgets, and are not necessary to use. Ever. Aside from few radio apps and the weather, I use little. Casual gamers will always be the core market for apps. Nothing is compulsary (unless you have a habit).

  4. Josh Wood
    February 12, 2014 at 10:54 pm

    Here is a registry tweak to disable the Windows 8.1 Start Button and make your Task bar look like Windows 8

    Type regedit in Run or Search to Launch Registry Editor
    Follow below path:
    HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINESOFTWAREMicrosoftWindowsCurr entVersionPoliciesSystem
    Double click “RollBackToWindows8Build9200” on the right of window, and change its value from 0 to 1
    Reboot your PC for effective changes

    • jzz
      March 29, 2014 at 4:35 am

      Thanks Josh Wood if this works you are more informative than the article above.
      Microsoft seems like a child, instead of letting the user choose what they want they are going to tell you what to do. If they say start button then you have to have one if they say no button you can't have one.

  5. dc
    January 23, 2014 at 7:52 am

    Yes, you may thank Steven Sinofsky for that. And, by the way, yes, he is no longer at Microsoft...

    • jiyong
      January 24, 2014 at 4:34 pm

      Sinofsky left MS November 2012. SInce then MS had time enough to implement a decent Start button. Looks like others in power are still pushing the users to the new Tiles.

  6. Anonymous
    January 2, 2014 at 3:50 am

    Microsoft has done a great job of turning everyone to using a new operating system. I just hope that whoever was the manager in charge of this fiasco does not receive a huge exit bonus .

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