Why you’ll never need a Start Menu replacement for Windows 8

Microsoft had released Windows 8 for public last week and this time I found many people actually buying Windows instead of pirating it, which is a good thing.

As expected, many of these people who got their hands on Windows 8, have started raging about how Windows 8 is a step back in usability – mainly referring to lack of start menu.

Many of them even started installing 3rd party start menu replacements. Heck, Samsung is bundling it with their new Windows 8 laptops.

So is lack of start menu really a big problem? Here’s why it is not.

Windows 8 search – it’s all there

The search in Windows 8 is hidden in the Charms bar – the bar that slides from right. But again, you don’t even need to wait for Charms bar to open – to start searching, all you need to do is, get on to the start screen and start typing. Can it get more easy than that? I don’t think so.

Browsing through apps in Windows 8 is much better than navigating through folders and menus in Windows 7’s start menu. Think of it like OS X’s launchpad, i.e. really good for checking out all the apps you’ve installed.

Searching and browsing through apps

Not just that, all the run commands which worked in Windows 7’s start menu will work in Windows 8 too. For example, msconfig lets you add/remove startup programs, accessible through Windows 8’s search.

Run commands in search

If you’ve ever used OS X’s Spotlight feature, you know how slow searching files is, in Windows 7. Not anymore, Windows 8’s search is a considerable improvement, though not as fast as Spotlight, it’s much better than what it was previously.

It’s all about making search universal

Windows 8’s search feature is not restricted to apps or settings or files. It’s built into each and every app on your OS. That opens for a lot of possibilties.

For example, I type ‘Hyderabad’ in Search and hit the ‘AccuWeather’ app – it starts showing the weather of Hyderabad immediately. If there was no universal search, I had to open the app, find the search bar, enter the query and get result. This is how Windows 8’s search turns a multi-step process into a considerably shorter one.

In-app searching

Windows 8 is a big change and it’ll take a bit of time for everyone to get used to. Installing a start menu replacement will only make it look like Windows 7, and you’ll never come to know the beauty of integrated/universal search.

What are your thoughts on Windows 8? Have you tried it? Put that in comments.


joel November 1, 2012

im just about to install windows 8. I have read alot of conflicting reviews about it, but im going to go ahead and install it anyway. Trying to get used to the new start button/metro button will take time and we might be tempted to revert to windows 7 style settings.

Kamal November 4, 2012

So true. I too installed it recently and after applying the Shell Replacement for start button i finally removed it.