How is it possible for Windows 8 to have real start menu? Microsoft said they did remove it!
They did, but not completely. Removing start menu completely would require rearchitecting some key Windows code base and raising compatibility issues which they couldn't seemingly afford.
StartIsBack reuses large portion of start menu code left, but contains a large amount of code to make as well it work as you expect and new functions too.
What if Microsoft removes it and breaks StartIsBack?
It's almost impossible since it involves rearchitecting Windows 8 code which Microsoft won't do until major changes to Windows.
Can i use Windows Update without troubles?
Yes, StartIsBack is compatible with all updates for Windows 8. It should be compatible with all Service Packs as well, unless they would bring major rearchitecting of Windows 8.
What are system requirements?
No special ones. You may use StartIsBack with release versions of Windows 8 (any edition), Windows Server 2012 (w/GUI installation), Windows Embedded Standard 8 (w/Explorer shell).
How do I configure Start Menu?
Either right-click Start button and click "Properties" or right-click opened Start Menu itself and choose "Properties" context menu item.
How do I invoke new Windows 8 Start Screen?
Either press Ctrl+Win (configurable shortcut) or click Start button with mouse wheel. If mouse wheel click is not working, you may need to tweak your mouse driver.
If I turn my Start Screen into Apps Screen, will I be able to undo it?
Yes. You can disable this feature at any moment and your desktop shortcuts will return to their places.
Is it possible to remove Metro (Modern, oppa MS Style) UI completely?
No, it's not possible to remove it without bugs since a lot of things depend on it.
You can download my another (free) program Ex7forW8 (google it) and use Windows 8 without Metro UI, but with several limitations.
How do I rearrange programs in All Programs list?
You can rearrange folders and programs in All Programs list, both in Windows 7 and Windows XP mode, if you uncheck "Sort All Programs menu by name" option.
Can I integrate StartIsBack into my Windows installation?
Yes; the easiest way would be to create image of installation with StartIsBack installed, with tool like RecImg. Download Deployment Guide to find more.
Trial, licensing and activation
How trial version works?
There are no limitations in trial version. After installing it runs for 30 days.
If you don't activate it with license number you bought within 30 days, it will still work, but in limited mode:
Start Menu will be blank and non-customizable; every boot you'll be nagged about evaluation period over.
Trial period runs for each user which have installed StartIsBack on one PC separately.
What is activation and why is it needed?
Activation is a process of validating your license online.
It ties your computer to your license via online service.
It is required in order to make sure license use is not abused.
One license key allows you to activate a limited number of computers.
How my computer is identified?
Your computer is uniquely identified by motherboard unique number and hard disk physical serial number OS is installed to.
What if i change hardware configuration of my PC?
Activation will be still valid and count as same PC valid unless you change BOTH motherboard AND hard drive which has OS installed.
Note that this behavior may be dependant on BIOS updates and chipset drivers so can't be guaranteed for 100%. If you have issues, contact me.
Does StartIsBack "phone home"?
No. StartIsBack does not collect information about your PC hardware or software.
It does not use Internet connection for license validation purposes except the moment you activate it.
Online activation service does not collect your IP address or any other information which could identify you or your computer.
Computer unique identifiers are transferred in hash form, which does not allow me or anyone else to view it.
How many times can I reinstall / reactivate StartIsBack?
There is no limitation on how many times you can activate an installation on the same PC.
Does my license expire?
No, your license will never expire and is valid for all future versions of StartIsBack.
Fully translated: English, Russian, Brazilian Portuguese, European Portuguese, French, Danish, Greek, Italian, Turkish,
Spanish, German, Polish, Czech, Croatian, Slovak, Finnish, Korean, Dutch, Norwegian, Serbian, Slovenian, Bangla, Hungarian, Swedish, Simplified Chinese,
Indonesian, Arabic, Thai, Traditional Chinese, Farsi, Ukrainian
Version 2.1 15 May 2013
- Hot: Advanced option - Show taskbar on Start screen. Very useful on tablets!
- Configurator fully supports high-DPI screens and RTL languages
- Desktop toast notification is shown when new StartIsBack version is available
- "Pin to Start menu" is available in all programs context menus, not just in File Explorer
- Excluded shortcuts for system shortcuts available in right pane from MFU
- Multiple license activations are possible on the same Windows installation, same license key, but different hardware
- Fix: 'Start is apps' feature breaking toast notifications
- Fix: closing desktop returns to desktop
- New translations
- NOTE: due to Microsoft request, all start button images containing Windows logo were removed. You can download them separately
Version 2.0.2 12 Mar 2013
- Improved compatibility with non-fullscreen modern apps
- Shortcuts for games are no longer created in Games start menu subfolder. Games can be searched from Start menu search
- Fix: Start Screen shortcut was removed by some cleaners
Version 2.0.1 5 Mar 2013
- Fix: crash in Windows XP style All Programs list
- Updated translations
Version 2.0 3 Mar 2013
What's new in this major release:
- New skin and orb image
- Greatly improved Appearance UI
- Modern Apps (Start Apps) are included into MFU and all programs list (optional)
- Shortcut to Start Screen in Start Menu
- Option to display all programs as multi-column flyout menu (Windows XP style)
- Option to enable Start Screen hot corner on desktop
- Bottom-left hot corner configuration
- Option to configure what happens when Modern app closes
- Advanced Win hotkeys configuration options
- Option to hide Start button
- Option to disable StartIsBack
- Some useful Windows settings at hand
- Group Policy support
- Programs removed from MFU program list could return there
- Secondary tiles for modern apps are excluded from MFU and new program highlighting
- Search no longer finds faux shortcuts (Desktop, PC settings, Windows Store)
- Pinned items are automatically renamed if renamed from shortcut properties
- Shortcuts for games with dot in name could be created incorrectly
- Uninstall could fail to remove installation directory
- Windows key could fail to show start menu on some systems
- Search could be slow to update search results and icons
- Switching users could squish start menu
- Incorrect blending in start button hover animation
Version 1.3.3 18 Jan 2013
- Fix: StartIsBack could fail to work on some systems with DEP enabled
Version 1.3.2 12 Jan 2013
- Fix: new program highlighting errorneusly fired for new users and roaming profiles
- Fix: orb unhides when hidden taskbar is shown (IrfanView)
- Fix: icons could fail to show in program list
Version 1.3.1 5 Jan 2013
- Fix: program highlighting could work incorrectly
- Fix: moving metro apps between monitors didn't update hot corners
- Windows 7 start menu pinned items are migrated on first install
- Startup programs are launched without 10 second delay
- Shortcuts for newly installed games are created in Games start menu subfolder
- New translations
Version 1.3 26 Dec 2012
- Fix: MFU app list could contain duplicate item
- Fix: Start orb could be moved by rogue programs
- Fix: license activation for all users could fail on some systems
- Fix: shortcuts created by Windows Installer didn't show 'Pin to Start Menu'
- Hot corners are enabled for Modern apps only for monitor where they're open on
- Newly installed programs are properly highlighted
- Right-to-left Windows languages are now supported
- License key is no longer stored as a plain text
- Improved start menu performance
- AeroByDesign skin updated
- New translations
Version 1.2.1 7 Dec 2012
- Fix: user frame could be incorrectly placed for bottom taskbar
Version 1.2 6 Dec 2012
- New: skins! StartIsBack now supports start menu skins without third-party tools; two beautiful ones included
- New: option to combine start button menu with Win+X menu
- New: option to hide user account picture
- New: shortcut for configuring Start menu in Control Panel
- Fix: hibernate shutdown option could fail to show in configurator
- Fix: high contast themes start menu issues
- Installing for all users no longer requires log off
- New translations
- StartIsBack is now digitally signed
Version 1.1 20 Nov 2012
- Fix: opening start button context menu did not prevent autohide
- Fix: uninstall could fail to remove settings / license
- Fix: taskbar unhide didn't work in start button area
- New: silent install (/silent for user install; /elevated /silent for machine install; if machine must be run with admin rights; does not start explorer back)
- New: option to start with start screen
- New: option to call start screen with Win key
- New alternate orb (by PainteR)
- New translations
- Less restrictions (same as in Windows 7) on items which can be pinned to start menu
- Start button context menu shows same items as in Windows 7
Version 1.0 9 Nov 2012
- First official version
Buy StartIsBack Personal Edition
You can easily buy StartIsBack with PayPal.
Can't use PayPal? You can pay directly, quickly and anonymously (but a bit pricier) with Gumroad.
License for 2 PCs License for 5 PCs
You should receive license key to your buyer e-mail address in several minutes after payment. If possible, do not use @aol mailboxes.
Please check your spam folder. If you don't receive email in reasonable time, please contact me
StartIsBack Personal License can be used only for personal purposes. You must agree to be bound by terms of license agreement.
If you're interested in volume purchases or enterprise features, please contact me with possible offers.
If you're a visual styles (skins) creator and intend to make visual styles for Windows 8 with Start Menu skinned, you can get StartIsBack license key for free. Contact me.
StartIsBack Business Edition license
If you want to use StartIsBack at business environment, you can do it now!
Additional features provided by Business License:
- Ability to deactivate computers from your license at your will, without support request. You will be able to reset activated PC count assigned for your license and refresh your PC park without troubles.
- Priority e-mail support.
- More perks in the future.
Business Edition License Agreement
Does Business license requires downloading special version?
No. Currently, Business license key is applicable to standard StartIsBack version you download.
How can I deactivate computers from my license?
Go to support and query your license information. In the received mail a link to deactivate computers will be given if available.
Note: To prevent abuse, you can deactivate computers which were activated at least one week ago. If blatant abuse is detected on your license key, you may lose deactivation functionality.
Can I split, resell my license key?
No. You can't resell, split, sublicense, lease or rent your license key. You may want to resell Personal Edition instead.
Buy StartIsBack Business Edition
You should receive license key to your Paypal buyer e-mail address in several minutes after payment.
Please check your spam folder.
If you don't receive email in reasonable time, please contact me
Sorry, but there are no alternate payment methods now.
Query license information
If you lost your license key, use the form below.
Support forums will be created soon, for now you can visit MSFN support and beta testing thread
If you have licensing or urgent support questions, please email me to