What if Microsoft had kept the start menu in Windows 8; what would it have looked like? In some ways ‘Start menu Reviver’, a Start Menu replacement for Windows 8 and Windows 7, seems like it was designed to answer that question.
It provides the option for mouse or touchscreen use, and combines the Windows 8 Metro style tiled esthetic with what is instantly recognizable as a Windows Start Menu. Best of all, it is 100% free.
While a slew of freeware has rushed to ‘bring back’ the Start Menu to Windows 8, Start Menu Reviver brings Windows 8 to the start menu. It scores high points mainly on the form factor, but has some interesting functional virtues as well.
To begin with, it looks great, whether on Windows 8 or Windows 7, with a ‘tile’ view for favorite apps as well as a more familiar ‘start menu’ view. It opens in two stages, first the tiles then the list of programs, which really does add a pleasant feel.
It can access and search various locations on your machine (including ‘the start menu folder’, ‘desktop’, and any custom folder of your choosing, such as your portable apps folder for example). It is also extremely customizable in terms of the way it looks. (Those big tiles can each be converted into a grid of 4 shortcuts, for those who want as many icons in there as possible).
Check out a promotional video of Start Menu Reviver in action:
Currently, you can browse to the folder that you want on the right panel then drag and drop shortcuts from there to the tiles, which is easy enough. But one thing that can be improved is to add the option to ‘pin’ the start menu to the desktop so it remains open, and then to allow shortcuts to be moved onto it from the desktop.
A wonderful little Windows enhancement that combines form and function. I would recommend it even if you don’t have Windows 8 installed for Windows 7 users as well. The fact that you can add your portable programs folders as a custom location means that it serves as a launcher for portable apps as well.
Download it here (Windows 7, 8).