Ever since Microsoft rolled out Windows 8, in fact going all the way back to the Developer Preview edition, there has been a vocal minority complaining about the missing Start button. In truth, the software company really just moved the operating system forward, but some users are set in their ways and do not like change.
Now, Windows 8.1 is looming on the operating system horizon, and, if you have used either the Preview or RTM version, you will notice that the return of the Start button is one of many changes coming next month.
Up until 8.1 was revealed there were a number of developers offering apps that would bring back both the button and menu and, given the menu is still not back, those may still be useful fo some people. Apps like Start8 and Classic Shell still work in the next-generation OS.
Now, with a sense of total irony, a developer has launched a way to remove the Start button in Windows 8.1. The appropriately named StartIsGone adds a feature that Microsoft did not include, just as Windows 8 apps did not allow for a return, only the roles are now reversed.
The app comes as a 624 KB ZIP file, making it easy to download and install. Even better, the folder contains both X64 and X86 versions so one download fits all computers. Choose which you need and run the installer.
In my case I am using X64, but there is no difference in the app, only the bits. You may need to do a “Run Anyway” as Windows attempts to block the installation. After that minor step the app should install in seconds, though you may not know it. Nothing actually opens upon installation, as StartIsGone instantly disappears into your system tray.
You will also likely notice that your Start button has disappeared. As long at the StartIsGone app is set to run at system bootup, which it is by default the button will not appear. You can right-click the system tray icon, but will find no options — you either leave it alone and have no Start button or disable it to bring the button back — in other words, choose exit and the button returns.
StartIsGone is an all or nothing option, but that does make things rather simple, and given that users seem so torn over all of this, it is the best solution. As for me, I didn’t miss the Start button, but now that its back with a nice right-click menu, I think I will keep it. But, hey, at least you have a choice.