The Start button was there and then it was gone. And then it came back! This is what you will have experienced if you upgraded to Windows 8 and then tried out the Windows 8.1 preview or the RTM release of 8.1. Microsoft brought back the Start button after a huge number of users voiced their disapproval at its removal, but there are some people who preferred things the way they were.
If you’re one of those people who is happy to see the return of the Start button, you may still not be too keen on the way it looks. This can be easily changed with a handy free tool called Windows 8.1 Start Button Changer.
You can download the app free of charge from the Door2Windows website – the file is only 500KB in size, so you’ll have it in an instant.
When the download is complete, extract the contents of the zip file and double click the executable. You’ll probably find that Windows’ SmartScreen filter blocks the program initially, but if you click More info followed by the Run anyway button.
Initially you will be shown the Start button in its current form. There are three states to the button — the regular look, how it looks when the mouse cursor is hovered over it, and how it looks when pressed.
Click the Change button and select an image you would like to use — it does not matter what size it is as it will be automatically resized for you.
Explorer will restart automatically and the image you have chosen will be put in place on the Start button. It is only the main Start button image that is changed by default, and if you would like to customize things further you’ll have to take an extra step
Right click the Change button and select the Change Mask Image option. You can then select another image that you would like to use to differentiate between the regular and hover state.
You can have fun experimenting with different images to stamp your mark on Windows.
Should you decide you want to put things back to the way they use to be, just fire up the app and click the Restore button.