How you'll like Start Menu Reviver largely depends on what you want out of a Windows 8 Start Menu. If you want something that mimics the Windows 7 Start Menu exactly, you're better off with Stardock's Start8 or Iobit's Start Menu 8. If you want something that's more of a melding of Windows 8 and a start menu, Start Menu Reviver might be what you seek.
When you first install Start Menu Reviver, it defaults to its large size. It's handy for touchscreens, but on a monitor or laptop screen, it looks like an Ease of Access feature for the eyesight-challenged. You can select a size that is more in keeping with the aspect ratios employed throughout the desktop. Start Menu Reviver sits on the task bar approximately where you'd expect to find it, but a little to the right. As with other Start Menus for Windows 8, you can change the icon to suit your taste.
In a column on the left of Start Menu Reviver resides a list of common Windows programs (desktop and modern UI) such as Task Manager (modern UI version), Network (desktop), Run (desktop), and the user name (which actually takes you to User Account Control rather than the user folder the way that most Start menus do). To the right are My Computer, Internet Explorer (desktop), a link for the modern UI, and a bunch of other tiles representing both legacy and modern UI apps. You can freely arrange—and even resize—the tiles, just as with the Modern UI.
Start Menu Reviver has the usual search box at the bottom. However, this is where I first noticed that there's no tabbing between fields or sections as there is in a normal Start Menu. It can be considerably faster navigating when you can use both the mouse and the keyboard. Not everyone is touch-oriented yet.
Start Menu Reviver lacks the fine control over switching between the desktop and modern UI that the competition offers. You can have the Windows Key invoke Reviver rather than the modern UI, but that's about it. Start8 and Start Menu 8 both allow you to take the modern UI out of the mix entirely.
Start Menu Reviver is free, and it's nice that Windows 8 users have another choice when it comes to putting back the Start Menu that Microsoft so thoughtfully decided you no longer need. It's not my top choice, but not everyone works the same. Give it a spin along with the others and share your opinion.
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