Of all the things Microsoft did wrong with Windows 8, perhaps the worst was removing the Start menu from the operating system. Lenovo has recognized this as a major complaint from its customers and is partnering with Sweet Labs to re-introduce the Start menu on its computers.
Sweet Labs' Pokki application is already available for download if you have a Windows 8 computer but it will come pre-installed on all Lenovo computers worldwide. Other companies have already tried to install software in order to replace the missing Start menu but many have failed with their implementation.
Pokki is easily one of the most popular attempts to replace the Start menu, with more than 3 million downloads. Lenovo's placement at the top of the PC market combined with Sweet Labs' expertise with software will allow people to buy acceptable Windows 8 laptops and desktops.
The new range of devices receiving Pokki as a pre-installed piece of software will be available in all English-speaking countries within the next couple of weeks. One of the major downfalls of Pokki, however, is its lack of resemblance to the actual Windows Start menu.
Although Pokki is heavily customizable it can never actually look like the traditional Start menu, which people miss. Outside of not resembling the menu, Pokki also pushes apps in a fairly significant way. Games and applications such as Angry Birds are advertised in the menu, which is exactly what users tend to refer to as "bloatware."
The All Important Menu
It is amazing how significant a simple icon and menu are to the success of an operating system. Windows 8 has seen poor adoption rates since it launched, with one of the main reasons for that being the lack of a Start menu. Unless users have a touchscreen computer -- which most do not -- having to use Windows without a Start menu is challenging and tedious.
There is an entire group of people who have switched back to Windows 7 after seeing how touch-centric Windows 8 was. Unfortunately, Microsoft did not seem to account for the lack of touchscreen laptops and desktops when launching Windows 8 in 2012.
Microsoft definitely had issues with the initial version of Windows 8, which prompted the company to issue an upgrade, Windows 8.1, for release less than a year since the first version launched. However, the changes that people were hoping to see in Windows 8.1 are not going to be there.
Reports from April and May had suggested that a rumored Start menu coming with Windows 8.1 would be the old icon with the same functionality. Instead it is actually a stripped-down version of the Start menu with few features. Although Pokki does have its pitfalls, Lenovo's decision to integrate it makes sense, since Microsoft does not seem ready to fix Windows 8 itself.
Posted: 2013-08-25 @ 10:06pm PT
Microsoft should wake up and bring back the start menu
Posted: 2013-08-24 @ 8:57am PT
Does microsoft even do focus groups of the average user, ie the non-techie, anymore? Windows 8 targeted a small segment of the computer users and failed miserably in their delivery.
Posted: 2013-08-23 @ 8:00pm PT
for $5 you can also buy start8 from stardock. I've been using it for several months and it is very much like my windows 7 start menu.