Let me ask the question again, do you miss the Start button orb or the functionality? One of the things I have found with us IT folk is that we always want to have the new shiny thing, but we don't like change. Odd at best, isn't it? The frustration I have seen from IT people is more than that of the standard non-geeky consumer base.  Now, the problem is WE DO INFLUENCE their opinion.  And many times we jump to conclusions and we do not back down on our "initial review" of things, and politicians have taught us "changing your mind/position is unacceptable". Anyway, I have been using Windows 8 for a while, since Beta; I went all out and none of my systems are running Windows 7 (actually not true, there is only one, and it is because it is rarely used).  Do I miss the Start Button? Not the Orb, and perhaps the part I do miss is … wait, I am thinking about it, ok, the organization to access my applications.  But there is an easy way to solve this … remember when Windows 95 came out? It was all that and a bag of chips, wasn't it? But it required adjusting your mindset. But that is not the point I want to make, nor the feature I want to point to.  Remember the Toolbars option for the Task Bar? Yes, that one that not many people remember or have used.  That is the one I have used to "restore" the Start Button functionality I miss.  I was initially working with "Pin to Taskbar", but there are too many things that would have to go there.

I have to admit, I do not stay on the Start Screen, all the work I do and access I do from the Windows 8 Desktop.  But, it is good to boot up to a "dashboard" view of things.  And yes, that is a very personal thing, I know.  But from there, the Desktop is my normal and usual destination. So, enough, how do I get that "Start Button" feeling again?

 

First set of steps below are for us to be able to access a hidden folder that has all the "goodies" we need.

  1. Make sure you are in Desktop Mode
  2. Click on the Folder Icon on your Task Bar to open Windows Explorer. (This can also be done by pressing the Windows Key + E)

  1. Then on the Ribbon, click View

  2. Once you are in the View option on the Ribbon, click the Hidden items checkbox

 

Now, the next set of steps to get that listing of applications!

  1. Right click on the Task Bar, then Toolbar, then New Toolbar.

  2. Once the Select Folder dialog opens up, click on C:

  3. From the folder list, double click on ProgramData (the folder will appear in a dimmer style, this is due to being a hidden folder. That was the reason for the first set of steps)

  4. Then find you way to our special folder called … wait for it … that's right, Start Menu. (double click on Microsoft, then Windows)
  5. Once you have found the Start Menu folder, click on it, and click Select Folder

  6. Now, if you look at your Taskbar, you should have a very functional (non-orb-y) Start Menu.

 

And there you have it, saved myself $5 in the process and no 3rd party tool needed. And I understand, you would say "sure, but what about getting to Run or Search". There are a number of shortcuts that can be used to access that.