ViStart Updates

In Part 2 (page 62) of Windows 8 for Dummies Quick Reference I discuss a Start menu replacement application named ViStart. The basic reason that ViStart attracted my attention is that it provides the means for getting the Start menu back. Getting rid of the Start menu causes productivity issues for most users, especially users who have worked with older versions of Windows for a long time. ViStart is only one of several such offerings. I chose it for the book because you can download it and try it out on your system. It also provides one of the best experiences in getting the Start menu back.

Since the release of the book, LeeSoft has made some useful update to ViStart. The quick list of changes is:


  • Control Panel Added
  • Ability to disable and enable these Windows 8 desktop features:
    • Disable hot corners
    • Disable charms bar
  • Skip Metro automatically when booting the system
  • Change skins at runtime using the Control Panel
  • Change Start button at runtime using the Control Panel
  • More context menus when you right click files in Start menu
    • Jumplist
    • File popup menu
  • Fixed the problem that prevented pinning folders to the Start menu
  • It’s now possible to drag and drop frequent programs to and from ViStart
  • Pin to ViStart added to Windows file context menu
  • More control over what the ViStart start orb does
    • Show the ViStart menu
    • Show the original Metro menu
  • More control over what both Windows keys do with ViStart open
    • Show the ViStart menu
    • Show the original Metro menu
  • Context menu for navigation pane items
    • Rename navigation pane items
    • Rename documents
    • Hide/show items (to show a hidden item, go to control panel)
    • Properties
    • Toggle navigation pane option to show as a file menu or to show up in an explorer window, like “Recent” in the normal Windows Start menu
  • More stable, ViStart doesn’t crash as much as it did before
  • ViStart has optional offset y and x properties for Start menu skins. When ViStart doesn’t appear in the correct position, you can offset the Start menu using this feature
  • Install new skins with ease, ViStart no longer needs to be restarted to identify new skins
  • Drag a pinned folder from the frequent programs to the navigation pane and ViStart will add it as a new navigation pane item
  • More control over how the Start menu appears
    • Toggle show program menu first instead of frequently used programs
    • Toggle user picture
  • Added Show Metro to the pinned program list
  • Added Show Metro Apps to the pinned program list
  • Added default program listing for fresh installs (such as Notepad and Command Prompt)

That’s a substantial number of changes. All of these new features should greatly improve your experience with Windows 8. You can see a video that explains the updates further on YouTube.

While nothing can make the Windows 8 experience precisely the same as using Windows 7, working with add-on products does help considerably. In fact, I discuss add-ons as part of my article entitled, “8 Ways to Reduce User Training Costs for Windows 8.” Let me know about your add-on experience at


Author: John

John Mueller is a freelance author and technical editor. He has writing in his blood, having produced 117 books and over 600 articles to date. The topics range from networking to artificial intelligence and from database management to heads-down programming. Some of his current offerings include topics on machine learning, AI, Android programming, and C++ programming. His technical editing skills have helped over more than 70 authors refine the content of their manuscripts. You can reach John on the Internet at