CNET 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.
ViStart 8, the best FREE start menu solution for Windows.
Weather you need your start menu back in Windows 8 or want replace your old start menu in the other Windows versions with something fresh and new. ViStart 8 is the only Windows Start Menu solution that you will ever need. ViStart 8 is far more superior than even the official Windows Start Menu.
After installing ViStart you get to choose one of the 3 enhanced start menus. The new ViStart 8 is completely redesigned and rewritten with the release of Windows 8 in mind so people can have their start menu back in Windows 8. ViStart 8 is also the ultimate start menu replacement for the Start Menu in Windows 7, Vista and even Windows XP. ViStart 8 has all the functionality the Windows 7 Start menu has and then some more. ViStart 8 is completely customizable and there are already lot's of extra start menus and start buttons available to customize your Windows look that you can download from the lee-soft.com website. One of the special new start menus is our Windows 8 Metro Style that comes pre-installed with ViStart, but you're not limited to that. You can now select from 3 advanced start menus after installing ViStart.
Giving you back control of your desktop! disable annoying windows 8 features like the CharmsBar and the hot corners with our new simple and easy to use control panel. Now you can effortlessly hide unwanted items on the right hand side of the start menu. Just right click and select "hide this item" or, maybe you want it to pop out to the side, well you can even do that too!
We've ditched the "Internet" and "Email" part of the start menu to make way for personalized pinned lists. Now you can right click any program in the start menu and select "Pin to start menu". Pinned items are essentially shortcuts that appear on the left hand panel in the start menu until they are manually removed by the user. Super Indexing and Improved File Searching that's better AND faster than Microsoft's! Originally ViStart would only find files from your documents, now ViStart can find files all over your computer.
Sometimes it's handy to see the recently opened files opened for a particular program. These files now appear on the side of the start menu. When you see a small arrow on the right side of a program, click it to see the most recently opened files for that application. Better still, ViStart finds even more files than what the original Windows start menu would.
What's new in this version:
- 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
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All versions:2.8 stars
out of 11 votes
Current version:2.0 stars
out of 4 votes
My rating:Write review
Results 1-4 of 4
"Just Poor On Most Accounts"
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.
"There are better solutions start menu programs"
Version: ViStart 8.1 build 5077
Mimics the Windows 7 start menu almost exactly
TONS OF ADWARE!!!
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
"Some reviewers are being a bit too harsh..."
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!
"Absolute Crap, damn near a virus"
Version: ViStart 8.1 build 5077
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.
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