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'
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.
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.
2. Right click on your start menu button
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.
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.
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!
You should always have a backup of your windows drivers just in case your computer crashes or you decide to format your hard drive and reinstall windows.
Backing up your drivers and storing the drivers on an external hard drive, CD, USB stick or even in cloud backup is as simple as downloading a free piece of software called Semper Driver Backup; installing Semper Driver Backup; saving the drivers to the location of your choice.
When you reinstall windows the first thing you need to do is reinstall Semper Driver Backup and restore your drivers; no inserting multiple driver CD's or searching the web any more.
1. Visit this link and click on download.
Once you have downloaded Semper Driver Backup - FREE Utility please install it.
2. Run Semper Driver Backup from your start menu and the first thing we need to do is specify the location where the drivers will be backed up to.
Click on 'Configuration' and 'Select driver folder'
Browse to the location you want your drivers to be backed up; in this demo I have selected my USB pen drive and created a folder within the pen drive named Drivers.
3. Select 'Backup drivers' and Semper Driver backup will back the drivers in to the location you have set in the previous step.
4. Semper Driver Backup might not beable to find all the drivers in the typical driver folders on your computer so once it has finished backing up the drivers it can find Semper Driver Backup will ask you if it can search the rest of your computer for the remainder of the drivers and back those up too.
5. Once all drivers have been found Semper Driver Backup will ask you if you want to see the report which is completely but this means all your drivers have been backed up and you are safe; congratulations
6. To restore your drivers when you re-install windows all you need to do is install Semper Driver Backup, select the driver backup folder you backed your drivers up into and click on 'import drivers' it is really simple.
It appears the the company who makes the Semper Driver Backup software have gone out of business so here is a mirror to the file you need for this tutorial.
When you install a fresh copy of windows going through all your different software applications and installing them one by one can be a bit of a chore but with Ninite you can automate the process; simply and quickly.
1. First thing you have to do is visit Ninite's official website and select the free software you wish to have installed automatically.
2. When you have selected all the apps you want installed automatically you can go ahead and click on the 'Get Installer' button
3. You will be taken to the a page where the install package will be downloaded to your computer; once the file has downloaded you can go ahead and open it (you can scan for viruses to be safe if you like)
Ninite will then download and install the software that you selected; all up to date versions.
Congratulations; how easy was that?