How can I enable the windows start menu button on Windows 8.1?

If you are anything like me then you would have upgraded your windows 8.0 to windows 8.1 by now or are seriously thinking about it; it is a lot smoother than windows 8 and there are some enhancements BUT Microsoft  in my opinion have dropped the ball with the windows 8.1 start menu button.

I am old school and I like the classic start menu button that has appeared in all windows versions from 95 all the way through to windows 7 yet for some reason Microsoft removed this menu in version 8.0; Windows 8.1 comes along with promises of a start menu but all it really does is takes you to Metro which you could do in windows 8.0 by hovering your mouse in the bottom left corner and clicking the invisible button.

There is a solution, it is simple and it is also free and extremely easy; its called ‘Classic Shell’

Clicking start button in windows 8.1










There are two ways to get the Classic Start menu button and the first is to go to the NiNite homepage and select Classic Shell from the list of other free and interesting software programs it will install automatically (Ninite is a must for fresh windows installs and I have written up a more extensive guide here on Ninite)

The second way is to go to the Classic Shell homepage and download the software that way.

The Classic Shell website







Once Classic Shell has been installed your windows 8.1 will now have a start menu button that is akin to all other previous versions of windows.


If you like you can even customize your start button by changing its appearance and doing a whole other range of customization’s that I wont get into on this blog post .

To change your Start button from looking like the windows 8.1 button to looking like windows 7 please follow the following steps.

1. Right click on the following image and save to your computer.

Windows 7 Start Button






2. Right click on your start menu button


Classic Shell Settings








3. Check the box marked ‘replace start menu button’ then click on the bullet for ‘custom’  and ‘pick image’ the image you pick will be the image you just saved from this website which is the windows 7 version of the start button.


Choosing windows 7 button in windows 8.1










You can even change the appearance of the actual menu by  clicking on ‘skin’ in the classic shell settings and using the drop down menu to choose how you want your menu to look.
Right now I have mine set to look like windows XP.


Changing Start menu appearance in windows 8.1











Please note: Windows 10 was released yesterday with a promise of a better Start menu than what was available on windows 8 and 8.1; Sorry Microsoft but the new start menu sucks and Classic Shell still works with Windows 10 🙂 Horary!



How to get Hidemyass VPN to work on your Android phone or tablet

So you have a Hidemyass account and would like to be able to use your VPN on your Android phone or tablet to watch region locked youtube videos, watch Hulu Plus, Netflix etc.

If you don’t have a Hidemyass VPN account please visit this link for some more information.

If you follow these simple instructions you will have it up and running in no time flat.

1. Go to your Hidemyass control panel (link)  and click on PPTP servers where you will find your PPTP password with a whole list of Server IP addresses you will need to use when you set up your phone or tablet with Hidemyass.

Your Hidemyass control panel


PPTP settings for Hidemyass

2. On your android phone or tablet you will need to set up a pin number, password OR security pattern so your phone or tablet is locked when you are not using it; this is unfortunately mandatory when setting up VPN’s on an android device.

To do this you will need to access your android phone or tablets system settings > Security > Screen lock > then choose either a pattern, pin or Password.


3.  On your android device please go to your system settings > under Wireless & Networks there will be a “More” which you will need to select and then select VPN.

Android system menu


4.  Select ‘Add VPN’ and enter any name you like to identify your Hidemyass VPN on your phone; you could put Hidemyass or even Hidemyass California ect if you want to enter multiple Hidemyass IP addresses.

You will need to go back to your PPTP page in your HMA control panel to select  a IP from a city closest to you; for example if California is the closest city to you then you might like to select  USA, California, Los Angeles (LOC1 S1) which has the IP address of
Make sure you leave the PPP encryption box ticked before selecting ‘save’

Add Hidemyass VPN to your Android device

 5.  Now in the VPN menu you will have a new item; the VPN you just created so please select that and enter your Hidemyass username and the password from the HMA PPTP page it is up to you but you might like to check the box to save your account information so you do not need to enter your password each and everytime you wish to connect your VPN.

Select ‘Connect’
Connect to VPN


6. Your android device will now display a key in the top left hand corner of the screen which indicates you are connected to the Hidemyass VPN network.


7. To disconnect from the HMA VPN you will need to select the VPN from the VPN menu in the system settings OR selecting the connected VPN from the pull down menu top of your android device and selecting ‘disconnect’

Disconnect from VPN


If you don’t have a Hidemyass VPN account please visit this link for some awesome prices.