The best alternative Start menus for Windows 10

classic shell Start

Windows 10 is here, and with it is the Start menu missing from Windows 8.x. The world rejoices. Except not everyone likes the new Start menu which blends the functionality of the Windows 7 menu with the Metro/Modern tiles from Windows 8.

If you’re not a fan of Windows 10’s Start menu (and some people are avoiding the free upgrade purely for this reason), the good news is there are a number of decent replacements available.

Classic Shell

Ask a Windows 8 user which is the best Start menu and the chances are they’ll say Classic Shell. It truly is fantastic. It offers a choice of three different menu styles -- Classic, Two Columns and Windows 7 -- which can be skinned to suit your tastes.

It is packed with options, including a dedicated shutdown button, the ability to pin programs directly from Explorer and an enhanced Windows Search function.

Most people will choose this Start menu over all others, but there are further choices to consider.

classic shell menu

IObit Start Menu 8

Sure, from the name you might think IObit’s Start menu only works in Windows 8, but it supports Windows 10 too. The program offers a choice of styles. You can opt for the usual Windows 7 look, or go for the Windows 8 design which places the Start (or Apps) screen inside a window on the desktop. It offers a selection of different Start button choices too.


Not the most polished looking of Start menus, it lets you access frequently used applications and pin items. It doesn’t require installation, so you can try it out without risk. It will work with both Windows 8.x and 10.


Stardock’s Windows 10 Start menu replacement lets you choose between classic or enhanced Start menus. There’s unified search for apps, settings and files, and you can access desktop and modern apps from the menu. There’s also a skinnable Start button. It will set you back $4.99, but there is a 30-day free trial. I'm actually a big fan of this particular Start menu and would definitely recommend you at least consider it.



It’s possible that other Start menus designed for Windows 8.x will work with Windows 10, but I’ve chosen to only include ones I know will work with the new OS.

Will you be using a third party Start menu in Windows 10?

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