There are a lot of people who just have an issue using the new Start Screen in Windows 8. I find it easy and have a lot of Desktop apps pinned to the Start Screen.
I believe this feature is as old as the Taskbar itself but I could be wrong and I bet a lot of Windows 7 users do not even realize it is still there. So let’s get started. Please note that this will not bring the old Start Menu back, just a Start Menu like solution. Also, this will not make you lose access to the Start Screen and can work next to it just fine.
First, we need to do a few things to make this go smoothly. First, we need to make sure all hidden files are visible as we will be dealing with hidden folders. This process is very easy now with the Ribbon interface in Windows 8. Just open any Explorer window and then click on the View tab. On the right side, there will be a group called Show/Hide and above that there is a check box that says Hidden Items, make sure it is checked.
The second thing we need to do is copy some icons from one folder to another. To do this open two Explorer windows and snap them side by side. One Window needs to go to C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu and the other Window needs to go to C:\Users\Default\AppData\Roaming\Microsot\Windows\Start Menu
Most of the default shortcuts are under the Start Menu under ProgramData, however, some programs will install shortcuts under the Default User Start Menu folder and you will want to copy those to the other folder as well.
Now let’s create the Toolbar. Right-click on the Taskbar and select Toolbars and then New toolbar …
This will bring up a file dialogue box. Select that Start Menu folder under ProgramData C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu
Now click Select Folder. Ok, you’re done now right, well yeah you can call it good but you have probably noticed that this Start Menu Toolbar is on the right side of the Taskbar against the System Tray. Now you can leave it here and if you have the Task Bar locked it will look like it does below.
Now if you want it more in the place where the old Start Menu was just unlocked the Task Bar and move it to the left. To move it, right-click on the Taskbar and select Lock the taskbar so it is unchecked.
Now you will see three lines of dots appear on either side of the Start Menu Toolbar, click and drag the one on the left all the way to the other side of the Taskbar to where the Start Button used to be. You will see your Pinned Taskbar icons move to the right and the Toolbar stretch out. Now click and drag on the three lines of dots on the right side of the Start Menu Toolbar and drag it to the left as far as it will move. It should make the Toolbar small again and the Pinned icons will be just to the right of it.
Now when you click the » to the right of Start Menu on the Toolbar will you get an old XP style fly out menu.
Is it the old Start Menu, no, am I going to write about a hack to get it back, no. I love the new interface, Start Screen and all. I do feel that this Start Menu Toolbar should be enough for any Power Users. At first, I found myself going to this a lot however with the Start Screen and other User Interface options in Windows that I will go more in-depth in another article, I am using this Toolbar less and less.
I will say that this Toolbar makes it easy to Pin apps to the Start Screen, just right-click on them and click Pin to Start. I suggest doing this and using the Start Screen and other interfaces in Windows 8 more as you go forward using this new exciting operating system. Check back here for more articles about using Windows 8.