The best tip for using the Windows 8.1 Start button

There’s been a lot of debate about whether or not the new Start button in Windows 8.1 is useful or not. Some people, including myself, have said that all they did was add pixels to draw attention to something you could already do in Windows 8.1 (click in the left corner to go to Start). These people, myself included, had not used or configured Windows 8.1 in a way that shows off how the new Start button functionality can be even better than the old Start menu for desktop junkies. It just needs to be configured properly. So, what’s a Desktop junkie to do?  I’ll tell you.

How to properly use the new Start button if you’re a Desktop junkie

Here’s what to do:

  1. Go to the Desktop.

  2. Right-click on the taskbar and click Properties.

  3. In the ‘Taskbar and Navigation Properties’ window, go to the ‘Navigation’ tab.

  4. Turn on “Show my desktop on Start”.

  5. The bottom three checkboxes are where the magic is. Configure these based on the following recommendations/descriptions:

  • Make sure to turn on “Show the Apps view automatically when I go to Start”. This will default the Start screen into the Apps view which is a suitable replacement for the Start menu we used to have.

  • “Search everywhere instead of just my apps” comes down to preference. If you want to limit searching in the Apps view to just Apps, turn this one off. I’ve left it on.

  • “List desktop apps first in the Apps view when it’s sorted by category” is pretty handy if you’re really looking to make the Start button work like the old Start menu. I’ve turned this one on as well.

My configuration looks like this:

navigationsettings

And the resulting “Start menu” looks like this:

appsviewstartmenu

Hopefully this will appease some of the naysayers. I think this is actually a pretty solid change Microsoft has made once it’s set up to be most effective for desktop users.

Contact

If you want to comment or reach out to me, the best place to do that is on Twitter @brentschooley. I can also be reached via email at bschooley@infragistics.com.


Comments  (2 )

dgover
on Tue, Jul 2 2013 1:54 PM

I've been using W8 since its first preview and have never missed the W7 Start button. I never understood what all the fuss was about with Microsoft axing the W7 Start button. In fact I hated the W7 Start button. The W7 Start menu was too narrow, difficult to see all levels and required much more navigation and mouse clicks than the Modern Start page of W8.

Brent Schooley
on Tue, Jul 2 2013 1:59 PM

While I agree with you, there are many who don't.  This post is for them :)