Access the Hidden Windows 8 Power User Menu

Microsoft’s decision to scrap the traditional Start menu in Windows 8 has a lot of users unhappy. But if you’re a system admin, here’s an easy way to access system utilities.

Update: Windows 8.1 has reached the end of mainstream support. According to Microsoft: “Windows 8.1 reached the end of Mainstream Support on January 9, 2018, and will reach end of Extended Support on January 10, 2023. With the general availability of Windows 8.1, customers on Windows 8 had until January 12, 2016, to move to Windows 8.1 to remain supported.”

As everyone knows by now, Microsoft scrapped the traditional Start menu in Windows 8 for the new Start screen. If you’re a system admin, you want an easy way to get to the system tools like Command Prompt, Control Panel, and Disk Management – not Pictures and Weather apps.

Here’s how to easily pull up a menu of power user options from the Start screen or Desktop in Windows 8.

Windows 8 Power User Menu on the Desktop

On the Desktop, hover your mouse over the lower-left corner of the screen, and the Start thumbnail comes up.

Start Tile Windows 8

Right-click on it to pull up a new menu that lists important Windows tools like Task Manager, Run, Event Viewer, Control Panel, and more.

Windows 8 Power User Menu

You can access it from the new Start Screen too. Hover the mouse in the lower-left corner, or use the keyboard shortcut Windows Key + X (this works to pull up the menu on the Desktop too).

Power menu Windows 8 Start Screen

Click on any of the tools you need from the menu, and they’ll launch on the Desktop.

Desktop Tools

While this isn’t how you used the Start menu in previous versions of Windows, it allows you to access the admin tools you need to configure your system.



  1. Ziggy

    Brian, in Windows 7 some smart cookie came up with the God mode which allowed one to access many features/tools. Is there a God Mode for Windows 8? Thanks…

    • Brian Burgess

      I would assume so, the so called god mode was available in Windows for a while, I will look into it, thanks for the idea!

  2. Ziggy

    Hi Brian. In Windows 7 one could access a vast array of features and tools using God Mode. Is there such a feature for Windows 8? Thanks…

  3. david

    I lost the start in the lower left screen windows 8 = can anyone help how to get it back thanks

    • Steve Krause

      Hi David — Give this a shot:
      It works and it’s free. So far, it’s been very stable for me.

      • david

        oh thanks Steve but I meant the original start icon that normally comes with windows 8 in the lower left hand corner. I am o.k with it but somehow experimenting with windows 8 I lost it; when I position the mouse arrow in the lower left corner, I get one of the other tiles, not the start icon. thanks for trying to help – david

      • david

        oh thanks Steve but I meant the original start icon that normally comes with windows 8. I am ok with it, but while experimenting with windows 8, when I position the mouse arrow on lower left corner, I do not get start icon; one of the other tiles is there instead. thanks for helping – david

        • Brian Burgess

          @disqus_UtWPkQ8HDH:disqus what happens when you hit the WIndows Key + X on your keyboard? That should bring the menu up for you.

          As far as a different tile showing up there … I haven’t seen that happen yet.

        • david

          FYI – found out that when you are on “start” screen (all your tiles and apps) you are not supposed to have the “start” icon in the lower left hand corner. What you will have in the lower left is your last app. This will probably be in upper left-hand corner as well. However, on any other screen, you will have it.

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