Microsoft’s Windows 8 operating system was the center of controversy when it came to the removal of the Start button and Start menu. Microsoft responded to feedback and brought back the Start button in the recently-released Windows 8.1 update. But the Start menu was no where to be found. For those of you who miss the Start menu, with a little bit of work you can turn your Start screen into a large organized Start menu.
First, in Windows 8.1, you can enable your desktop wallpaper to appear as your Start screen background. If you don’t want to enable this feature, just skip this step. However, if you do, right click on the taskbar and select Properties. Under the Navigation tab, check mark “Show my desktop background on Start.” Congrats, you now have your beautiful desktop wallpaper on your Start screen, allowing for a more personalized view.
Second, tap the Win button on your keyboard or hit the Start button to access the Start screen. Right click on the Start screen and select the “Customize” option that appears at the bottom-right of the screen. You can now add labels to the tile rows. In my case, I added simple labels such as “My Computer” and “Primary apps.” This is a great way to keep your apps under specific categories so you can find them with ease.
Finally, open up the Start screen and begin typing “Notepad,” “Run,” “File Explorer,” etc, to find all the useful tools you normally use and have them pinned on your Start screen. For example, on the Start screen, you can type “Run” and you will be shown search results on the right side of the screen. Simply right click on the “Run” application icon and hit “pin to Start.” Do this for every app you want to have on your Start screen.
After you have added all your apps, you can customize the order of which they appear, the size of the apps by right clicking on them and selecting Resize, the grouping of your apps, and the location of your tiles.
Now you have an organized Start screen that more closely resembles a Start menu. If all else fails, you can always right-click on the Start button to access the power menu.
Here is my organized Start screen (which suits me just fine). Share yours in the comments below!
Further reading: Microsoft, Windows 8.1