Lenovo to bring full Start Menu back to Windows 8

Lenovo has partnered with start-up SweetLabs to reinstate the much-missed Start Menu in Windows 8 and restore its full functionality.

Microsoft's decision to ditch the Start Menu has been a recurring complaint of Windows 8 users, and is something the software giant looks set to rectify on October 17 when the Windows 8.1 update drops.

However, the Windows 8.1 Start Menu will not feature the same functionality Windows fans have come to expect from earlier iterations of the OS.

As demonstrated in this video from IT Pro technical editor Khidr Suleman, pressing the Start button will no longer pull up a programme list or search box as it previously did.

Instead, a left click of the mouse on the Start button will allow users to switch between the operating system's Live Tile interface and desktop mode. Meanwhile, a right click will bring up shortcuts to the system control panel.

Rather than settle for this, Lenovo appears to have taken matters into its own hands by rolling out PCs pre-installed with SweetLabs' Pokki software, which restores the full Start Menu functionality to all new Windows 8 machines.

According to a report on Bloomberg, Lenovo machines featuring the software will go on sale over the next several weeks, with English-speaking countries set to be the first to benefit.

Chester Ng, co-founder and chief marketing officer at SweetLabs, said in the report that all of the computers Lenovo sells will eventually ship with its software pre-installed.

He also told the publication that SweetLabs is in talks with other PC manufacturers that are interested in bundling its software with their Windows 8 machines.

The Pokki software is also available for users to download from its website, with the company claiming that three million Windows 8 users have already done so.

Once installed, it also offers users access to the SweetLab app store, which features a range of consumer content, including Angry Birds, Cut the Rope, YouTube and Spotify.

Caroline Donnelly is the news and analysis editor of IT Pro and its sister site Cloud Pro, and covers general news, as well as the storage, security, public sector, cloud and Microsoft beats. Caroline has been a member of the IT Pro/Cloud Pro team since March 2012, and has previously worked as a reporter at several B2B publications, including UK channel magazine CRN, and as features writer for local weekly newspaper, The Slough and Windsor Observer. She studied Medical Biochemistry at the University of Leicester and completed a Postgraduate Diploma in Magazine Journalism at PMA Training in 2006.