• Navigation
  • open search






Download Editors' Rating:
Editors' Rating:
Very good
Average User Rating:
out of 11 votes out of 4 votes

Quick Specs

  • Version:
    8.1 build 5077
  • Total Downloads:
  • Date Added:
    Feb. 06, 2013
  • Price:
  • File Size:
  • Downloads Last Week:
  • Platform:

Editors' Review


There's no doubt that Microsoft upped its game with Windows 8. The tile-based Metro layout is stylish, yet it puts function before form. But some early adopters miss the familiar Start menu, which made its debut way back in Windows 95. Many longtime users simply don't want to make the change. Some probably can't. It could be a productivity issue. But not to worry: the good old Start menu is easy to restore with ViStart 8.1. This free app not only restores the classic Windows Start menu in Windows 8 but also lets you customize your Start menu's theme, and not just in Windows 8 but in Windows 7, Vista, and XP, too.

ViStart offers three start menu styles that we could set at startup or change at any time by clicking Options on the program's system tray menu. We began by restoring the Windows 7-style Start menu in Windows 8. The aero-style menu blends well with the new look, and it's easy to turn on and off. We could access PC controls like standby and shutdown from ViStart's menu. Opening the program's Control Panel gave us access to the Style options, including not just the three primary themes but also Start Orb choices such as Apple, Firefox, and Ubuntu. The Configure tab let us set the items we wanted the Start menu to show. It works like the Windows feature, only easier to use. The Desktop tab changes what the Start button and Windows keys show. More skins are available by following a link on the About tab; the night-look XeBlack 2.0 theme may be our favorite.

We also ran ViStart in Windows 7, which definitely improved the standard Start menu's appearance. As with Windows 8, we could customize the Start menu, too. We couldn't drag ViStart's Control Panel out from under the taskbar when we had it pinned to the right instead of the bottom of the desktop, but that was the only glitch. For anyone looking to improve older and new versions of Windows' Start menu, ViStart offers a user-friendly solution.

read more +

Publisher's Description

read more +
User Reviews

Results 1–4 of 4

2 stars

"Just Poor On Most Accounts"

December 01, 2013  |  By BlaisElias

2013-12-01 12:01:44  |  By BlaisElias

 |  Version: ViStart 8.1 build 5077


Brings Back a lot of Windows 7 Functions and Start Up Menu.


Slows Down Computer Terribly. Slow Start Up, adware up the wazooo. Also a few Windows 8 annoyances remain.


Linux seems the best way to go now. Windows, and Microsoft in particular, is on the downward slide.

Reply to this review

Was this review helpful? (0)   (0)  

1 stars

"There are better solutions start menu programs"

May 26, 2013  |  By DaMonkeyOnCrack

2013-05-26 11:25:20  |  By DaMonkeyOnCrack

 |  Version: ViStart 8.1 build 5077


Mimics the Windows 7 start menu almost exactly


It makes a mismatched square on the taskbar and covers up pinned applications


It seems cheaply built and takes more compromises than what it's worth. Not the start button itself, but the box it draws around the start button looks terrible as it is disfigured from the rest of the taskbar.

Also with that being said, the most aggravating thing is all the adware it installs alongside with the installation. It would be fine if it showed a window asking if you want to install it and had the choice to click no, but it doesn't and installs it without you knowing it. I know it installs an extension for Chrome and Firefox where it will load ad bubbles over various highlighted words. Also, AVG came up as Vistart being a threat and will stop the installation as it will detect adware in the installer.

If you get any start menu program for Windows 8, one I recommend is Classic Shell. It is free, open source and doesn't try to install crap on your computer

Reply to this review

Was this review helpful? (1)   (0)  

4 stars

"Some reviewers are being a bit too harsh..."

May 12, 2013  |  By asilaydyingdl

2013-05-12 14:00:58  |  By asilaydyingdl

 |  Version: ViStart 8.1 build 5077


-Brings back a start menu for Windows 8 users.
-Easy to configure and navigate the settings menu.
-Improved rendering of fonts and altogether a more eye-pleasing UI than even the Vista and Windows 7 start menus.
-Skinnable (Orb and Menu)


-Developer attempts to insert lots of crapware.
-Installation can be confusing due to the crapware.
-Lee Chantrey used to not do this, so I'm baffled as to why he now inserts crapware.
-I still ended up with one toolbar installed that I didn't want even though I declined everything.


In summary, I think this is good software once you get it installed. It takes little space and is lightweight. But what is with all the crapware the developer has all of the sudden inserted? Same goes for you CNET. We see enough ads on your website, you don't need to add more and try to trick people into downloading useless garbage from your "installer." But on an equal note, some reviewers might be a little too harsh in their reviews. DO NOT BLAME CNET or Lee Chantrey for your errors when installing this software. If you ended up with all of the garbage installed, you obviously didn't decline everything, therefore it's a user error. I think it's only fair that we use common sense. However even I still ended up with one toolbar installed when I declined everything. That is NOT good business, CNET and Mr. Chantrey!

Reply to this review Read reply (1)

Was this review helpful? (0)   (0)  

1 stars

"Absolute Crap, damn near a virus"

April 19, 2013  |  By Medic975

2013-04-19 14:42:31  |  By Medic975

 |  Version: ViStart 8.1 build 5077


Absolutely none


The adware and malware on this is almost overwhelming. The program came with a metric butt ton of bundled crap. I installed it from C-net and declined almost every instance where it tried to add yet another program, but it installed these anyway. I am shocked that this is even hosted on Cnet. When I heard about ViStart I immediately told my employee to install it only from Cnet, because I trust the site. I'm seriously reconsidering that trust now. I spent half the day removing the crapware that came with it and I'm still not entirely sure I got it all. Install at your own risk.

Reply to this review

Was this review helpful? (0)   (0)  

Results 1–4 of 4

Add Your Review

Login or create an account to post a review.

You are logged in as . Please submit your review for ViStart
Add Your Review

The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited.
Click here to review our site terms of use.

Update Your Review

Since you've already submitted a review for this product, this submission will be added as an update to your original review.

The posting of advertisements, profanity, or personal attacks is prohibited.
Click here to review our site terms of use.

see all reviews +

Full Specifications

What's new in version 8.1 build 5077
  • now there's 3 advanced start menus to choose from, plus extra start menus to download
  • Brand new streamlined Control Panel for easier access to ViStart's features
  • Skip the Metro and boot directly to your windows 8 desktop.
  • Search and start Metro apps directly from Start Menu.
  • Optionally disable annoying desktop features, like charmsbar
Publisher Lee-Soft
Publisher web site
Release Date January 29, 2013
Date Added February 06, 2013
Version 8.1 build 5077
Category Desktop Enhancements
Subcategory Desktop Customization
Operating Systems
Operating Systems Windows XP/2003/Vista/Server 2008/7/8
Additional Requirements None
Download Information
File Size 1.15MB
File Name windows-start-menu-vistart.exe
Total Downloads 58,417
Downloads Last Week 56
License Model Free
Limitations Not available
Price Free

Previous Versions:

Add to my list Report a problem
read more +

More Products to Consider


Submit a problem report for ViStart

Please describe the problem you have with this software. This information will be sent to our editors for review.


The Installer isn't working as expected

The download link does not work

The software has a newer version

The product contains malicious software



Please select a feedback type.

Please enter a description.

Submit Problem Report


Problem Report submitted

Thank you for submitting a problem report! The Download team is committed to providing you with accurate software information.