For those of you that updated to Windows 8.1 now you will finally see Microsoft added the start button back, but it is a very limited version of the former Windows start button. Still I am going to show you some configuration options and ways to use the new Windows 8.1 start button and if you don’t like any of the options, then I am going to suggest using the alternative Start button app called Pokki and then show you how to remove the Windows 8.1 start button.
Windows 8.1 Start Button Tips
First, when you see the new Windows 8.1 start button you have some options by default, if you press the button it will just take you to your Windows start screen, but if you right click on the Windows 8.1 start button, you get access to some tools and configurations of Windows 8.1.
When you right click on the Windows 8.1 start button you can immediately access your Programs and Features, Power Options, Event Viewer, System, Device Manager, Network Connections, Task Manager, Control Panel, Search, Run and more.
It basically gives you the guts and control panel access in one right click of the Windows 8.1 start button, you can also go to shut down or sign out.
Now, you can configure the Windows 8.1 start button to at least show you applications instead of taking you to the start screen. To do this just right click on your task bar, then click properties.
After that click on the Navigation tab, then you can check mark “Show the Apps view automatically when I go to Start”.
You can also list desktop apps first when it’s sorted by category as well.
Checkmark “Show my desktop background on Start” and your computer will reboot into desktop mode when you restart it instead of even going to the Windows 8.1 start screen too.
Search everywhere instead of just my apps is recommended as well.
Now when you click on your start button, you can see apps immediately but it still takes you to the start menu type of interface, and has nothing even close to the functionality and navigation of the original Windows 8.1 start button.
Pokki the Windows 8.1 Start Button Replacement
Readers know that I have been using Pokki for a while as a fantastic replacement for the start button for Windows 8 and Windows 8.1, the functionality is better than even the Windows 7 start button and not only do you have access to the same menus and information, but you get several quick app buttons and items you can customize to give you instant access to your important applications.
Above is a screenshot of my Pokki button setup, you can set the button to look like a Windows button, but I prefer it look like the Pokki acorn so I know what it is and it stands out more. You can see everything I need is accessible and you can search all your apps right from the top.
Pokki gives you plethora of settings but isn’t updated for Windows 8.1 yet, it can’t remove the Windows 8.1 start button itself at this time, so I had to find another program to remove the Windows 8.1 start button as I was stuck with 2 start buttons side by side.
Here is what your task bar will look like with Pokki installed and the Windows 8.1 start button still in place.
Now, for those who don’t need or want that Windows 8.1 start button here is the way to remove it, there are tons of other free programs, but the one I chose was simple and easy to do it without even needing to do an install.
Removing the Windows 8.1 Start Button
If you hate the Windows 8.1 Start button there is bad news and good news, the bad news is I scoured Google and can find no way to easily or natively just remove the Windows 8.1 start button as a registry setting or something without some software. The good news, is that I found free software and scanned it for all viruses/malware and it came up clean.
The software is called StartIsGone For Windows 8.1 and it works very well, it is by WinAero and you can download it here for free: http://winaero.com/download.php?view.63
After you download the StartIsGone zip file, you extract it and go into the X64 folder (Assuming 64 bit Windows 8.1) and just double click on the .exe file. You will immediately see that the start button is gone.
However, if you hover your mouse in the bottom left, scroll kind of off screen, you will see it appear and still have the same functionality. So it just hides it and gives you the space it contained, but it is still there just not obtrusive anymore. You can see now I only have my Pokki button replacing the Windows 8.1 start button.
In summary this article shows you some tips on configuring your Windows 8.1 start button as well as the better alternative to the Windows 8.1 start button with the Pokki application which replaces the Windows 8.1 start button. I also included a freeware tool to remove the Windows 8.1 start button for those of you who have no need or want of it.
Let me know what other Windows 8.1 tips you have, do you like the Start button, hate it? Let me know I want to hear what you think. If you use Pokki or an alternative feel free to share it as well.