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windows 8 start menuBring back the start menu in Windows 8 – and then some. Pokki is a simple Windows 8 app for re-adding the start menu to Windows 8, but that’s not all it does: it also gives you access to a collection of miniature versions of popular web apps.

Windows 8 is here, and the reviews are mixed. In many ways Microsoft is killing the traditional desktop 6 Ways Microsoft Is Killing The Traditional Desktop In Windows 8 [Opinion] 6 Ways Microsoft Is Killing The Traditional Desktop In Windows 8 [Opinion] The traditional desktop is still around in Windows 8, and it’s probably the best Windows desktop yet (aside from not having a Start menu.) But Microsoft is setting it up for the kill. The writing... Read More , and the lack of a Start Menu is a prominent example of that. The new “Start Screen” is undeniably beautiful and full of interactive content, but many users want their old-fashioned start menu back.

Meanwhile, many programs make less sense now than before Windows 8. I reviewed Pokki last summer Pokki Brings Smartphone-Style Apps To The Windows 7 Toolbar Pokki Brings Smartphone-Style Apps To The Windows 7 Toolbar Add simple, productive apps to your Windows 7 taskbar. Pokki provides relevant information in a single click, then get back to your workflow. This program, which integrates into the Windows 7 taskbar, gives you just that... Read More , around the time it became obvious Windows 8 was not going to be just another Windows release. At the time I had two main thoughts – first, this is a great way to supplement the Windows desktop with smartphone-style apps; second, this might become less useful when Microsoft starts trying to kill off the Windows desktop in favor of smartphone-style apps.

Pokki‘s answer to this challenge, apparently, is to offer an alternative to Microsoft’s Start Screen. They’re bringing the Windows 8 start menu backj while continuing to offer the miniature apps they always have. Here’s how it works.

Using Pokki in Windows 8

When you first install Pokki you’ll see an acorn button where the start menu used to be, during happier times. Click it and you’ll see a familiar site: a start menu.

windows 8 start menu

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At left you see the familiar options from Windows 8. To the right you’ll see apps you’ve “Starred” while exploring the menu; this gives you easy access to your favorites, once you’ve set it up. You’ll also see your Pokki apps, alongside other apps you’re yet to install using Pokki. This is annoying, but understandable seeing as these apps are the entire point of Pokki in the first place.

Click the “Apps” button at right to see an even more familiar menu:

start menu on windows 8

That’s right: it’s your start menu, exactly the way you remember it. Browse the folders and sub-folders in all of their glory. (Was that so hard to include, Microsoft? Give the people what they want. Pokki did).

You can also get quick access to the Control Panel from here:

start menu on windows 8

Microsoft’s been preventing apps from re-introducing the start menu; I’m not sure if they’ll try the same thing with Pokki. Remain vigilant.

Curious about the app side of Pokki? Not much has changed on that front, expect there are far more apps than before. Read my previous review of Pokki Pokki Brings Smartphone-Style Apps To The Windows 7 Toolbar Pokki Brings Smartphone-Style Apps To The Windows 7 Toolbar Add simple, productive apps to your Windows 7 taskbar. Pokki provides relevant information in a single click, then get back to your workflow. This program, which integrates into the Windows 7 taskbar, gives you just that... Read More and you’ll pretty much be up to speed.

Installing Pokki

Ready to install? Head to Pokki.com and click the “Free Download” button. The installation will begin.

windows 8 start menu

You will be asked at some point whether or not you want to install the Windows 8 Start button. Click that box, assuming you want it.

(You want it).

Conclusion

If Pokki (and desktop tweaking apps in general) is going to remain relevant it needs to give people a reason to use the Desktop Mode in Windows 8. Re-introducing the start button is a great way to do this, and in many ways I actually prefer Pokki’s offering to the start menu found in Windows 7. Sure, there are some Pokki-specific crap included, but overall it’s a great way to get a start-menu experience in Windows 8.

How do you like Pokki’s start menu? Share your thoughts in the comments below, alongside links to any other start-menu software you can think of.

  1. Martin Ristovski
    November 25, 2012 at 8:23 pm

    Are the power controls,control panel,computer etc. removed in the newer versions?

    • Justin Pot
      November 25, 2012 at 9:12 pm

      Newer versions of Windows, you mean? Controls are still around, but the start menu is gone.

    • Martin Ristovski
      November 28, 2012 at 4:42 pm

      I meant newer versions of Pokki. Because in the picture you can see links to Computer,Documents etc. and power controls on the left. I am currently running Windows 7 Home Premium Service Pack 1 64 bit.

    • Justin Pot
      November 28, 2012 at 4:51 pm

      The start menu and the items you see there only show up if you're running Windows 8.

    • Martin Ristovski
      November 28, 2012 at 6:48 pm

      Ok. Thanks for the reply.

  2. Easton Wiki
    November 12, 2012 at 9:20 am

    Wow very unique start menu that looks beautiful! Definitely going to replace Classic Start Menu with this.

  3. Jon Smith
    November 10, 2012 at 1:10 am

    hows windows 8? is it better now that it has start menus by third parties?

    • Justin Pot
      November 25, 2012 at 9:15 pm

      It is what it is. I'd wait 6 months and see what the consensus is then, personally.

  4. Arron Walker
    November 9, 2012 at 12:41 pm

    I was waiting for this to be made - it reminds me of the start menu alternative I used on Ubuntu, designed to imitate windows. It's also not meant to be a straight imitation of the Windows 7 start menu, it's a successor. Still, If I did upgrade to Win 8, I'd personally use a more strict copy. I love my Win7 start menu, in fact, the entire theme of 7 is the best UI I've ever used.

    • Justin Pot
      November 9, 2012 at 3:03 pm

      7 is a pretty great operating system.

  5. ha14
    November 9, 2012 at 11:18 am

    Pokki is different from other start 8 menus, many would want a start menu resembling windows xp, vista and 7, they will pass Pokki.

  6. Chaos Emperor
    November 9, 2012 at 10:58 am

    It looks like its easy to use and beautiful too.Im going to install it

  7. Douglas Mutay
    November 9, 2012 at 10:48 am

    Good app!

  8. Anonymous
    November 9, 2012 at 10:16 am

    I dont like it's start button icon. Any way to change it?

    • Justin Pot
      November 9, 2012 at 3:03 pm

      Not currently.

  9. Anonymous
    November 9, 2012 at 9:51 am

    looks beautiful too :)

  10. Kamruzzaman Chowdhury
    November 9, 2012 at 5:26 am

    It is very useful. Thanks for sharing.

  11. Nikhil Chandak
    November 9, 2012 at 4:05 am

    I don't want the start menu in Windows 8
    but it is amazing

  12. Terafall
    November 9, 2012 at 3:26 am

    I rather have this than the Start Screen

  13. Kingsley Watson
    November 9, 2012 at 3:12 am

    i will be sure to get this when i get windows 8

  14. Carter Brainerd
    November 9, 2012 at 2:20 am

    I think that Windows 8 will be a failure like Vista, and hopefully pass as quickly as Windows ME.

    • Justin Pot
      November 9, 2012 at 3:02 pm

      We'll see...

  15. Achraf Almouloudi
    November 9, 2012 at 1:05 am

    I hope they add the option to use Windows 7 start menu icon. Hey Justin the "pokki.com" link is misconfigured .

    • Justin Pot
      November 9, 2012 at 2:22 pm

      Yeah, I've sent a note to the proper authorities regarding the link. Hopefully it will change soon.

  16. Anthony Rocco
    November 9, 2012 at 12:31 am

    The interface is clean and the colors are good on the eyes

  17. Boni Oloff
    November 9, 2012 at 12:20 am

    It is very different from the Windows 7 Start Menu, but looks a lot better from the Windows 8 metro..

  18. Garey Boone
    November 8, 2012 at 10:28 pm

    I really really liked this start menu but it is not very resource friendly,still it's a pretty sweet start menu.

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