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ViStart

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.

Publisher's Description

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All User Reviews
  • All versions:

    2.8 stars

    out of 11 votes

    • 5 star: 2
    • 4 star: 2
    • 3 star: 2
    • 2 star: 2
    • 1 star: 3
  • Current version:

    2.0 stars

    out of 4 votes

    • 5 star: 0
    • 4 star: 1
    • 3 star: 0
    • 2 star: 1
    • 1 star: 2
  • My rating:

    0 stars

    Write review

Results 1-4 of 4

  • 2.0 stars

    "Just Poor On Most Accounts"

    December 1, 2013  |   By BlaisElias

    Version: ViStart 8.1 build 5077

    Pros

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

    Cons

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

    Summary

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

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  • 1.0 stars

    "There are better solutions start menu programs"

    May 26, 2013  |   By DaMonkeyOnCrack

    Version: ViStart 8.1 build 5077

    Pros

    Mimics the Windows 7 start menu almost exactly

    Cons

    TONS OF ADWARE!!!
    It makes a mismatched square on the taskbar and covers up pinned applications

    Summary

    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

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  • 4.0 stars

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

    May 12, 2013  |   By asilaydyingdl

    Version: ViStart 8.1 build 5077

    Pros

    -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)

    Cons

    -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.

    Summary

    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!

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  • 1.0 stars

    "Absolute Crap, damn near a virus"

    April 19, 2013  |   By Medic975

    Version: ViStart 8.1 build 5077

    Pros

    Absolutely none

    Cons

    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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Results 1-4 of 4

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