Labrys is an alternative Start Menu for Windows 7+


Microsoft’s decision to drop the Start Menu in Windows 8 persuaded many developers to produce their own alternatives, and there’s no shortage of free options to explore (Classic Shell is probably still the best)

Finding yet another example in the new Labrys didn’t exactly fill us with excitement, then, but despite several flaws it’s different enough to be interesting.

Installation was straightforward, no adware or other complications -- it appears entirely safe to try and use.

There’s no need to explore a vast library of Start buttons, either, as the program doesn’t provide any: it just pops up whenever you press the Win key or click the regular Start button.

Launch Labrys and you’ll find it doesn’t just reproduce the regular Start menu. Applications and shortcuts are located and sorted alphabetically, and a left-hand index bar provides keys to jump straight to a particular letter. When we clicked "P", for example, the menu jumped to Paint.exe, PaintNET and so on.

Individual menu entries display an arrow to their right if Jump Lists are supported, and clicking this lists any recent files in a second pane.

Labrys makes good use of screen space, taking the full maximum available height and enabling you to adjust the width as required.

A Search box allows you to locate a particular shortcut, and can be toggled to Command mode and used to manually launch some executable. Labrys remembers these commands and autocompletes them later, and there’s also an option to create simple command aliases (for example, by default "PwS" launches "PowerShell -Command "%typed_command%" with whatever arguments you type).

One issue we noticed is that newly installed programs aren’t added to the menu. (The developer says "Shortcuts changes are not being monitored yet", which may be the reason).

You have to manually launch Command mode, too (Labrys always displays its Search box first, and it takes a click to see the commands).

Despite this, the alphabetical indexing and command alias features could make Labrys useful in some situations, and as the program is still very new (v. 0.8.2) there’s plenty of time for it to improve.

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