Get Your Windows 8.1 Start Menu Back Today

By | April 8, 2014

Microsoft announced that the Start menu will come back in Windows 8.x in a future release. The Windows 8 Start menu is one of the biggest obstacles for a full adoption of Windows Server 2012 and Windows 8 virtual desktops. Only 9% of the virtual SBC desktops is based on Windows Server 2012 (R2). For VDI even less than 5% is based on Windows 8.x. Customers are still using Windows Server 2008 R2 as the primary OS for SBC virtual desktops.

If you are using RES Workspace Manager, you can get your Start menu back today. One of the new features in the 2014 release is a Start menu for Windows 8.1 / 2012 R2 desktops. To enable it, you only have to set a checkmark and your Start menu is managed just like in Windows Server 2008 R2 SBC virtual desktops. This will give the user the same experience as the Windows 7 Start menu. The screenshots below shows them both.

Windows 2012 R2 / 8.1 Start menu Windows 2008 R2 / 7 Start menu


As you can see they are almost similar. The only drawback is that in the RES Start menu the search will only search in the Start menu and not in files. But you can easily go to the “normal” Metro Start screen with the arrow.

To enable the RES Start menu, open the RES Workspace Manager console and go to Composition à Lockdown and Behavior

Then Enable Windows 8.1 Start Menu (Windows 8.1 / 2012 R2). You can also force the user to go to the desktop instead of the Windows 8 Start screen.

After you enable this setting, the Start menu can be used in the following ways:

  • Do not create shortcuts. This will show all the shortcuts that are already present in Windows.
  • Merge with unmanaged shortcuts. This will be a mix of the already present shortcuts and the managed shortcuts from RES WM.
  • Replace all unmanaged shortcuts. This is a fully managed Start menu by RES Workspace Manager.

This also makes clear what the difference is from other Start menu replacements, like Stardock. The RES Start menu is a managed Start menu. The other tools show only the already present shortcuts.

So until Microsoft brings back the Windows 8 Start menu, you can use RES Workspace Manager to make the adoption of Windows Server 2012 R2 / Windows 8.1 easier.