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StartIsBack - Easing the Transition to Windows 10

by Jeff Dubois

You’d pretty much have to be living in a cave not to have been exposed to all the hype about Microsoft’s release of Windows 10 and how Windows 7 (and later) customers can receive a free upgrade. If you’ve become accustomed to the Windows 8 and 8.1 UI, then the transition to Windows 10, though not without change, will be somewhat easier than those who decide to make the switch from Windows 7 to Windows 10.
A number of writers have characterized Windows 10 as representing a “return to the Start menu”. Having once sat through Return of the Killer Tomatoes, I can unequivocally state that it was, in no way, a qualitative improvement over the original. I feel a similar polite unenthusiasm towards the Windows 10 Start menu. It is an improvement over the atrocity of Windows 8 and, arguably, that of Windows 8.1, but if you’re a Windows 7 user, unfamiliar with Microsoft’s new UI, I remain unconvinced that the Windows 10 Start menu is either an improvement or a return. Not surprisingly, there are a plethora of Start Menu Replacement programs which are readily available to fill the void left by Microsoft’s decision to so radically change the UI in the first place. The emergence of Windows 8 brought with it a number of free third-party start menu replacement programs including (to name just a few):

  • ViStart (>)
  • Start Menu 8 (
  • Pokki (
  • Classic Shell (
  • Start Menu Reviver (

    Without undermining the value of free and open source alternatives, there are occasions where affordable third-party pay applications offer the best solution. StartIsBack, in my view, is one such program and one which PCWord, in a Lincoln Spector article entitled The Best Windows 8 Start Menu Programs asserts that “StartIsBack should be your first choice”.



    Not only does StartIsBack look almost identical to the last official version of Microsoft’s start menu, but it behaves like the Windows 7 start menu as well. StartIsBack places both recent and pinned applications onto the start menu and the familiar Search box is present as you’re accustomed to allowing quick access to indiced files and email.

    Highly configurable, StartIsBack allows a host of options including control over menu hotkeys, switching between the Microsoft Start Screen and traditional Start Menu, as well as appearance options. At the very affordable price of $2.99 for a single license key, $4.99 for a 2-key license or $9.99 for 5-key license, StartIsBack is certainly worth installing and evaluating for the free 30-day period.

    Courtesy of the folks who created StartIsBack, we have a 5-user license pack for StartIsBack which will be given as a door prize at this month's meeting.

    Originally published: September, 2015

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