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Editors' Review

by   / October 29, 2015

If you've upgraded to Windows 10 and still want the Windows 7 menu, or if you want more menu and taskbar appearance options than Windows 10 gives you, Start10 is worth a look. Owners of Start8 get a discount.

Pros

Adapts to many scenarios: While Start10 is mainly positioned as a replacement for the Windows 10 menu, it can simulate the official menu and provide more cosmetic options and functionality. If you don't care for any of Microsoft's Start menus, Start10 has an optional custom look that blends elements of the old and new. If you are using Windows 10 and you like its Start menu but want more configuration, Start10 can keep the Windows 10 look while adding options like disabling menu transparency, enabling taskbar transparency or textures, and removing the Start button on secondary displays.

Easy fallbacks: If you want to use the official Windows 10 menu for certain tasks but a different Start menu for other tasks, you can control that according to how the menu is opened. Meaning, you can tell Start10 to open the official menu when you tap the Windows key on your keyboard, but have it open the Start10 menu if you click the button in the lower left-hand corner of the screen. Or you can have it open the Windows 10 menu when you hold down the Ctrl key and left-click the menu button. Also, if you want to link an action to the Windows key that's to the right of your keyboard's spacebar, but this particular keyboard doesn't have that key, you can tell Start10 to use Ctrl-Windows, Shift-Windows, or a half-second press of the left-hand Windows key.

An abundance of optional details: If you got used to Windows 8's lack of a standard Start menu and you liked how the taskbar looked without it, you can remove it with Windows 10 and still get your menu by pressing the Windows key on your keyboard. If you like transparent taskbars but don't want them to blur the wallpaper behind them, you can toggle that off. And you can customize the look of the menu button, using a selection of presets or an image that you've created.

Start8 users get a discount: You'll be prompted to enter the email address associated with your Start8 purchase, and you'll get $1 off Start10. It's not a lot, but Start10 is only $5 to begin with, so that's 20 percent off, at least.

Some advantages over Classic Shell: Classic Shell, the other major Windows element replacer, is free, but Start10's options menus are easier to navigate and figure out. There's a panel on the left with intuitive category descriptions in a large font, and the options that open up on the right are explained in plain English. While Classic Shell has even more things that you can change, the design of its tools isn't as accessible. Start10 also uninstalls more cleanly. When we uninstalled Classic Shell, it made the Start menu and taskbar disappear; we had to restart the computer to get those back.

Cons

Trial installation could be smoother: During installation, you'll be asked to provide an email address, which the company will send a trial activation code to. Stardock is a respected company, so you shouldn't have to worry about spam; the problem is that you can't minimize the installer window while you go into your email and find the activation email. It stays on top of all other windows. When you click the activation link in your email, information isn't communicated in the installer until you click its back button, then click forward again.

Bottom Line

Since Windows 10 brought the conventional Start menu back, there isn't as great a need for Start10 as there was for Start8. But it adds a number of visual and behavioral options that would still be unavailable otherwise, and its configuration menus are easier to navigate and understand than Classic Shell.

More Resources

Should you get Windows 10?

Windows 10 tips and tricks

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The Download.com Security and Antivirus Center

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Full Specifications

What's new in version 1.56

Version 1.56 may include unspecified updates, enhancements, or bug fixes.

General

Publisher Stardock
Publisher web site http://www.stardock.com
Release Date October 05, 2017
Date Added October 09, 2017
Version 1.56

Category

Category Desktop Enhancements
Subcategory Desktop Customization

Operating Systems

Operating Systems Windows/10
Additional Requirements None

Download Information

File Size 34.17MB
File Name Start10-cnet-setup.exe

Popularity

Total Downloads 193,818
Downloads Last Week 39

Pricing

License Model Free to try
Limitations 30-day trial
Price $4.99
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