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!



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