Now that Microsoft is bringing back the Start button to Windows 8.1, a new tool called “StartIsGone” will allow users to take it away again. Seriously.
“After release of Windows 8.1 I found its Start button useless,” wrote Sergey Tkachenko, the developer of StartIsGone, on the software’s description page. “Seriously, there are no issues for me if that button is not shown on the taskbar.”
Tkachenko explained that while he prefers the Start Menu of previous versions, the new button in Windows 8.1 is no replacement. StartIsGone at least allows users to remove the button and reclaim that extra space for the taskbar as shown above. As with Windows 8, users can get back to the Start screen by dragging the mouse to the lower-left corner and clicking.
In fairness, the Windows 8.1 Start button isn’t entirely useless.
Users can right click on the button to view desktop-specific options, such as the task manager, control panel, file explorer, the run function, and the command prompt.
Having an actual Start button also comes in handy for multi-monitor setups where your main taskbar isn’t set to the far left screen.
Being able to click a button in that case is easier than trying to pinpoint a hot corner.
Still, it’s nice to have another option to tweak the look of Windows 8.1, along with the many replacement Start menu programs you can add if you’d rather have a classic Windows feel. Indeed, StartIsGone continues that long-lasting user tradition of dialing back whatever changes Microsoft has made.
Jared Newman has been helping folks make sense of technology for over a decade, writing for PCWorld, TechHive, and elsewhere. He also publishes two newsletters, Advisorator for straightforward tech advice and Cord Cutter Weekly for saving money on TV service.