Create a Makeshift Start Menu in Windows 8 with a Toolbar

If you don’t want to install a third party app to get the Start Menu back in Windows 8, here’s a unique way to create a toolbar on the taskbar and get similar functionality.

Windows 8 doesn’t come with a standard Start Menu like previous versions of Windows. For desktop users, this can create a usability challenge. In response, a few third party developers have created programs that bring back the Start Menu. However, if you don’t want to install third party software, you can still create your own Start Menu by using a toolbar on the taskbar.

A toolbar Start Menu isn’t as robust as say the default menu in Windows 7. But if you’re a fan of the “old school” start menu in XP and earlier, there isn’t too much of a difference.

Windows 8 taskbar start menu toolbar

To get started right click the Taskbar and select Toolbars >> New toolbar.

new toolbar windows 8

Copy and paste C:\ProgramData\Microsoft\Windows\ into the explorer’s address bar. Then select the Start Menu folder and click Select Folder at the bottom of the window.

start menu as a toolbar

Now you’ll see a Start Menu toolbar on the taskbar. All of your apps will be listed here, among most of Windows’ built-in tools. If the positioning seems awkward on the right side of the taskbar, you can change it.

start menu toolbar right side of taskbar

Right click the taskbar and uncheck Lock the Taskbar.

unlock windows 8 taskbar

With the taskbar unlocked, use the slider dot columns to pull the Start Menu toolbar to the left with your mouse.

slide start menu to bottom left

Once you have the Start Menu where you want it, right click the Taskbar again and lock the taskbar again. This will keep it in place and get rid of the unsightly slider control.

lock windows 8 taskbar

Now you’ve got yourself a makeshift Start Menu in Windows 8. Aside from the missing search bar, it has almost everything you need. And when you want to quickly open a program you can use the Windows Key + R combination to open the Run dialog.

windows 8 rocking a brand new start menu via taskbar toolbar

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. alex

    August 18, 2013 at 12:15 pm

    A quick fix for the icon sliver that sticks out: while the taskbar is unlocked, drag the whole taskbar to the right or left side of the screen, then use your mouse to drag the slider dot columns and hide the exposed icon, then drag the taskbar back down to the bottom and re-lock it. The little sliver will be gone, making for a somewhat-nicer-looking toolbar.

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