You can't beat the free ClassicShell!
I've started it using it recently and as it's FOSS I sent some spondoolics over to the dev team to say thanks.
Stardock has released Start10, a Start menu alternative which replaces Microsoft’s Windows 10 Start menu with one that will make former Windows 7 users feel at home. This is a product that should not need to exist. Following widespread protest at the full-screen Start in Windows 8, Microsoft pulled back in Windows 10 and …
I used CS myself on my test W10 install after disabling Cortana, though I found that the latest version to hand at that point, 4.2.3, didn't work right. The previous one (4.2.1) did, however.
While CS or Start10 provide a workable solution to the problem that is the new Start, it would be nice to have something that took the work needed to cobble the system together into something that worked, didn't download crud that killed it in the background, didn't send a ton of stuff to Microsoft every time I coughed and didn't rely on sodding clouds.
What we actually have is Windows as a Disservice.
Gave deployed two entire Windows 8 networks with ClassicShell.
Rolled it out via MSI, configured defaults via group policy, let user choose which menu type they want (some have stuck with Metro too but they are in the minority), but it gives them (and me) the power to choose.
Even changed the start menu with the company logo and made the side-edge of the old-fashioned start menus have the company name on. Looks snazzy. Cost nothing.
Twice now this paid for app ( other completely free start replacements are available ) has appeared in El Reg in a week. Anything to declare?
If your interest is genuinely in helping readers improve their start menu experience then why would you not mention alternatives such as the excellent Classic Shell?
Sorry, Reg, but stop with the pay-for articles.
Classic Shell does this for everything from 7 up (and maybe even down, I haven't bothered to check) and has had Windows 10 support for several versions now. And, it's properly-free. As in nothing, nada.
And it's group-policy configurable, MSI-deployable and gives all kinds of options that Start10 doesn't have.
If you going to do this, do a round-up of products, not a pay-for ad for your "favourite".
Q-Dir is a quad-panel free replacement that does it right. Great, persistent usability, with customization. Frequent updates that you don't get nagged about (pull, not push, including not pushing notices). And tons of other great freeware on his site.
Yes, I have contributed. No, I'm not a shill.
"After setup it prompts to hide the Cortana/Search box which takes up substantial taskbar space; fine if you like what it does, but a nuisance if not."
What a load of crap. You don't need this to hide the Cortana/Search box, you simply Right click on the taskbar, go to 'Cortana' and select 'Hidden'. No 3rd party junk needed to do that.
As always, research before publishing crap. :)
This, and the other start replacements, will not stop Cortana running in the background. Task mangler will reveal TSDB still watching your every move. There is only one way to stop TSDB running and that's remove her from C:\Windows\System Apps\ - you have to kill her process and quickly move the whole folder out of the path before, true to her gaming roots, she respawns, at which point the WinX start menu breaks spectacularly so you must have an alternative loaded and enabled. I'm fairly sure she'll come back with an eventual Windows Update, so keep an eye on task mangler.
Me? Sod this malarkey, I'm sticking with something that doesn't treat me as the product.
One of the first things I've been doing since Windows 7 upward - and which happily still works in Windows 10 - is get the XP Quickstart bar back. I hate the "pin" stuff.
Add a toolbar, select %appdata%\Microsoft\Internet Explorer\Quick Launch, drag it to where you want it (traditionally towards the left just to the right of the start button), unselect Show text and show title, et voila! One click joy for my favourite apps, like mum used to make them. Or something.
Add a toolbar for Programdata\Microsoft\Windows\Start Menu\Programs and squash it to the left of the taskbar. You end up with a list of your programs which you can browse with the mouse.
Add the Desktop toolbar as well in the same way, and switch off desktop icons (so you never have to look for them under open windows).
Stardock's business model is dead.
There is nothing that Stardock or ClassicShell do that can't be achieved by 5 minutes in the Taskbar properties and / or by right-clicking on the Start button.
Microsoft dropped the ball big-time by removing the start menu from W8, but now, ooh look, it's back. I can quite understand Stardock's need to maintain their revenue stream by trying to persuade the hard-of-thinking that there's still a need for their product, but Start8 is now more than ready to join Mosaic, Clippy, those shell replacements that emulated W3.1 windows in that accursed new-fangled Windows 95, and third-party autoexec.bat editors in the dustbin of history.
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