Recently I updated to Windows 8.1. As many of you probably know Microsoft didn’t include a start button in the Windows 8. I found that Windows 8 was impossible to use right out the box without the start button. It was just weird and not very well thought out.
To fix this problem I have used the Classic Shell, which is a start button replacement for Windows. It gives all the start button features that original button had in Windows 7.
The Windows 8 start screen instead of a start menu was not really usable. I found that only the Windows 8 apps are easy to find.
I have not found much use for the Windows 8 apps as they run in full-screen mode. The apps seem appropriate for a tablet or touch screen where managing multiple windows would be difficult. Each app runs in full-screen mode and doesn’t have all the normal windows behaviors. It is a little unsettling starting them as they take over the screen and seem to take longer to load than a desktop application.
In Windows 8.1 the start screen has the original metro start screen but a scroll down brings you to a menu that is very similar to the start menu in Windows 7. The search feature is very good and helpful much like the Windows 7 search in the start menu. This functionality seems more normal on a tablet than a PC. I still run the Classic Shell on Windows 8.1 because I don’t think the menu should go full screen and there was nothing wrong with the original start button.
If you want Windows 8.1 and already have a copy of Windows 8 on your system you can update in the Windows App Store (found on the Metro Start Screen). It should only take 30-45 minutes to install.
If you still want the classic shell after the upgrade you will need to reinstall it.
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