11 Best Free Windows Start Menu Replacements and Alternatives

Published Date : Dec 28, 2023
Category : Top 10 | Windows
11 Best Free Windows Start Menu Alternatives in 2024

The Microsoft Windows Start menu is the hub of all of your computer programs, settings, contacts, and lots more. It provides shortcuts for accessing several frequently used features of Windows, such as desktop, popular apps, file explorer, etc.

However, if you’re not completely satisfied with the latest Windows 10 Start menu, the great news is there are plenty of best free start menu replacements available in the marketplace.

To help you decide which is best suited for you, we’ve rounded up a bunch of best Start Menu replacement applications that work with all Microsoft Windows editions.

What Are The Best Free Start Menu Replacements In 2024

If you’ve no longer desire to use the default Start Menu button, check out our curated list of Windows Start Menu alternatives and get the one that fits best for your needs.

1. Start Menu 8 ($8.99 a year/1PCs for Pro version)

Start Menu 8

The first on our list is Start Menu8. Many users might think that Start Menu 8 works only with the Windows 8 PCs but don’t be fooled by its name.

Developed by IObit, it supports Windows 10 computers too, and currently recognized as one of the world’s best free Windows Start Menu available in the industry.

Notable Features of IObit Start Menu 8:

  • It lets you bring back the old Win 7 Start button
  • Quick and accurate file search results
  • It lets you switch between classic and latest Windows start icons

Get it from IObit Store button

2. Classic Shell (Free)

Classic Shell - Best Free Start Menu Replacements

Read More: Best Windows 10 Customization Software 

Classic Shell from Ivo Beltchev, is undoubtedly one of the best free start menu replacements for Windows 8 users. Every Windows 8 user must have heard the name of this globally renowned program. Despite being a free software, it offers a host of powerful features that lets you enhance the usability of your Windows operating system in the best possible way.

Notable Features of Classic Shell:

  • Customizable Windows start menu with three different styles: Classic, Two Columns and Windows 7
  • It lets you easily organize all of your programs using drag and drop feature
  • It provides quick access to favorites, recently used documents, and has options to expand the Control Panel.
  • The interface of the tool is available in over 40 languages, including Arabic and Hebrew

Classic Shell is a solid tool overall, especially for users who are still in love with the old Windows 7 style start menu button.

3. Start10 ($4.99 a year with 30-day Free trial)


If you’re looking for Windows Start menu alternatives, you can’t ignore this beautifully designed, customizable tool. Stardock’s Start 10 allows users to replace Windows 10 start button with a cleaner and personalized icon.

Read More: Best Disk Management Software For Windows 10/8/7

Notable Features of Start 10: 

  • Start menu search filters
  • It offers quick and easy access to desktop applications
  • Allows users to personalize their PCs using custom images and textures
  • Multilingual support

4. Power8 (Free)


The next Start Menu replacement app on our list is called Power8. It offers a wide array of interesting features that allows users to change the look and feel of Windows desktop in just a matter of seconds.

It has a clutter-free, user-friendly interface that’s slightly faster than other Windows 8 Start Menu alternatives on this list.

Notable Features of Power8:

  • It supports all popular Windows editions, including Windows 10, 8.1 and 8
  • Users can quickly access their favorite applications and pin items
  • It lets you customize the design of the Start Menu as per the Windows 98 style icons
  • Users can search the web using a search engine of your choice

5. Start Menu Reviver (Free)

Start Menu Reviver

There’s no way you can talk about the best Start Menu replacement applications without mentioning the famous name of Start Menu Reviver. A product of RiviverSoft, this popular app focuses on combining the traditional Start menus with the new modern designs.

Read More: How to Upgrade Windows 10 for Free

Notable Features of Start Menu Reviver:

  • Incredibly designed Start menu with unique tile options
  • Allows you to create your own tiles for various programs, files, etc.
  • A touch-friendly user interface with a variety of re-sizing options
  • Advanced file search options

6. StartIsback ($3.99 for 1 PC and $9.99 for 3 PCs)


One of the most excellent options for windows 10 start menu replacement for 2022 is StartIsback. It offers various glyph icons and round user avatars to give you an enhanced desktop experience.

Notable Features of StartIsback:

  • It lets you quickly launch frequently used programs
  • Quickly shut down or power off your Windows 10 computer
  • You can create shortcuts, change skin, appearance, and more
  • It is a lightweight application and requires fewer system resources

7. Handy Start Menu

Handy Start Menu

If you’re looking for a program that can reduce useless items in your Windows start menu, then you should give Handy Start Menu a try. What’s great about this program compared to its competitors is that it eliminates a massive list of items from your start menu and makes it easy to find and launch needed applications.

Notable Features of Handy Start Menu:

  • It lets you bring the classic start menu of windows 8
  • You can customize the list of programs in your start menu
  • Clean and elegant Windows desktop
  • Launch applications faster than ever before

8. Launchy (Free)


Launchy has been in the market for a long time now and has been making the user experience better with new updates. It is a free cross-platform utility that makes the user forget about the start menu. With this software, the user can launch files, folders, programs, and even bookmarks. By just typing a few initials of the name you can find the programs available on your PC to launch. 

Read More: Best Duplicate Photo Finder & Cleaner Software

Notable Features:

  • Add the programs and files which you use the most with Launchy
  • The ‘easy search’ option makes it easy to find programs and files
  • Free to user launcher
  • The user can customize the size and skin of the Launcher according to the preference

9. MaxLauncher (Free)


MaxLauncher is one of the best Windows start menu replacements. The user can simply customize the quick menu with the apps and folder they want. By just dragging and dropping the files and folder you can adjust the menu. Other than customizing the menu, it is very easy to open the menu. The user needs to press Ctrl + `, the tide key is on the left side of the keyboard before the numeric key section.  The software can save time and effort for the user to open or launch any program. 

Notable Features:  

  • Simple and user-friendly interface 
  • Easy to create a quick menu with different folders and sub-folders. 
  • The user can use different and themes for the software

10. ViStart (Free)


Windows 7 or 8 style start menu is no more nostalgic for us. The ViStart makes a perfect alternative to move to the Windows 7 style. While using ViStart the menu becomes the exact same as that of Windows 8 or 7. Also, to add more pleasing looks to your views you can download skins that fit in well with your comfort. The alternative is available for free and as an open-source platform.

Notable Features of ViStart

  • Additional skins to customize
  • Shortcut to frequently used applications
  • A free and open-source option
  • An array of tweaks

11. Pokki (Free)


Pokki is the name of the next program on our list with the purpose of replacing the Start Menu. It provides users with a broad variety of intriguing capabilities that enable them to alter the appearance and feel of the Windows desktop in a matter of seconds; these tools are available to users. Compared to the other alternatives to the Windows 8 Start Menu on this list, it offers a user experience that is uncluttered, user-friendly, and somewhat speedier.

Important Characteristics of Pokki:

  • Pokki makes it possible for users to rapidly access their preferred apps and pin stuff.
  • Pokki makes it possible for users to search the internet using a search engine of their choosing.
  • It gives you the ability to personalize the appearance of the Start Menu so that it resembles the icons used in Windows 98.
  • It is compatible with all of the most common versions of Windows, including Windows 10, 8.1, and 8.

How Do You Use the Start Menu?

It is possible that you are unhappy or bored of the Start Menu available on your Windows. We have listed the best possible alternatives that can prove to be great substitutes without really touching the existing start menu. Use any one of them and find out the one that can boost your performance and workflow.

Concluding Words: Start Menu Replacements/Alternatives

Our aforementioned list contains some of the best Start Menu replacement applications that are currently available in the market.

So, if you’re not completely happy with the default Start Menu of Windows 10, you can easily change the look and feel of your desktop computer using any of these Windows start menu alternatives.

So, this was all folks! Let us know your picks and share your feedback regarding this guide in the comments section below!

Monil is a professional writer whose forte is absorbing a lot of data and help large technical organizations convey their message clearly across multiple products. An engineer by qualification, his affinity for design enables him to write to inspire, energize, and influence various audiences to uncover their true potential. When not writing, Monil is likely to be found listening to music, traveling, or simply excavating into his favourite cuisines.

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