Pokki Brings The Start Menu Back To Windows 8 (And Apps To The Desktop Mode)

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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, 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, 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 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.

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