How to add the Start Menu back in Windows 8

People have asked for a while, how to put the Start Menu from Windows 7 back in to Windows 8. Now, if all you’re looking for is a “button” – you’re in luck. There are quite a few rumors that Microsoft’s Windows Blue will bring back the Start Button. But that button simply brings up the Start Screen, not the Start Menu. At least, that’s the going theory right now.

The idea seems to be that people can’t figure out how to get back to the tiles once they’re in the desktop, and finding the desktop in the first place can be kind of difficult. I can attest to that based on the number of searches and reads I get on articles on my website. Even simple things like Shutting Down Windows 8 actually get more than a few reads!

So, what if you want something like the Windows 7 Start Menu? I’ve avoided writing this article for a long time, because I like to force myself to get used to things I don’t like. In the early days of Windows XP, when I still preferred Windows 2000, I famously called the colorful Start Button Windows Crayola Edition. But eventually I get used to each interface. But for those of you who just won’t adjust to Windows 8, there are options. Start 8 from Stardock is an inexpensive ($5.00) program which gives you a full blown Start Menu and the ability to use apps in Windows, etc… Classic Shell by Ivo Beltchev is free, and offers the return of the classic Start Menu, the Windows XP Start Menu, or the Windows 7 Start Menu, as well as other “explorer” features, like showing the full folder path in the Windows Explorer address bar, etc…

I encourage you to check both out and see if something works for you. But me? I’ll be here… using the Start Screen, and waiting to see what Microsoft does with Windows 8.1.

2013 – The Grammar Club – Bioavailable

I’ve mentioned The Grammar Club before. I talked about their 2008 album, Bremelanotide. It’s a pop album featuring rap, chiptune, and blending genres into something simply head-bobbingly enjoyable.

One of the rappers on the album, Beefy, said that the group may never make another track like “Balloon Fight” or “Alternate Ending” – but he was quite happy with how these tracks came out on their newest album, Bioavailable. I’ve only had a chance to listen through it once, and I was admittedly a little distracted, but I had to let people know about it, because I really keep finding this super-group of nerdcore songwriters the kind of music I keep going back to.

And if you’re the kind of person who likes remixing music or making mashups, you can pick up the Accapellas or Instrumentals. Even if you just want to listen to the regular Bioavailable album, it’s all available on BandCamp at a Pay-What-You-Want rate. You can get it for free. Or, you can pay ten bucks like I did and just do a little something nice for these guys!

#XboxReveal is May 21st, 2013

I didn’t have an Xbox Tip of the Week for you this morning. But I did remember that there was some Xbox related news I wanted to share with you!

The unveiling of what I still call the Xbox 365 will take place on May 21st, 2013. Microsoft is calling the event the #XboxReveal – and some of the pictures floating around include a simple flat “X” with a circle around it (highly similar to a vintage X-Men logo!. The circle around the X just makes me think my Xbox 365 name is even more accurate. We’ll see. You can bet I’ll be tuning in!

5 Guys? Oh my Dayum!

Once upon a time, some dude reviewed 5 Guys Burgers and Fries on YouTube… and he was super funny.

A little while later, another YouTuber took his review, and remixed it in to a song.

And then the first dude got super famous, and recently announced that he’ll be getting his own TV Series on the Travel Channel. It’s easy to see from his first review. The first video should be enough proof that he has a likeable personality!

I seriously can’t stop watching this stuff on repeat. How did I miss this for the last 8 months!?

Backlog of XBLA games

I bought several popular Xbox Live Arcade games either when they came out, or after they received great critical acclaim. And then I never got around to playing them.

Whether it was Max and the Magic Marker on Windows Phone, or Bastion on Xbox Live Arcade, I’ve got some catching up to do! Even Retro City Rampage is waiting for me to give it a little more attention! Not to mention I bought the original Sonic the Hedgehog trilogy and never made much progress in those games. Or how about some of the fighting games I bought just for the sake of owning them, like Super Street Fighter II Turbo HD Remix, Mortal Kombat Arcade, or Marvel vs. Capcom 2! I’ve just got so many games I’ve added to my digital collection over the years that I forget about. Maybe it’s time to spend a nice weekend going through “the collection.” And maybe next weekend I should go through my Steam or GoG account and see what I’m missing out on!?

EWG's Dirty Dozen app

The Environmental Working Group has a list of products they call the Dirty Dozen. These are fruits and vegetables known to be highly treated and altered by pesticides and other chemicals – whereas the Clean 15 are general safer. Now, I’m not big in to these lists, I’m an old fashioned “that which does not kill me…” kind of guy. But when my neighbor showed me this quick and simple app, I thought some people out there might want to know it!

The app is self contained and has the Dirty Dozen and the Clean 15, as well as a list of several dozen common grocery items that you will find in your home, and how they rank among the others as far as toxins go and whether or not you should consider buying “organic.” The app, of course, is simply called Dirty Dozen on the Windows Phone. Enjoy!

Microsoft's Authenticator App

Last week, Microsoft formally unveiled two-factor authentication for your Microsoft Account. I mentioned on Sunday that Xbox Live would be taking advantage of this new feature.

Tired of opening your browser and finding the website for the authenticator? You can now get the app on Windows Phone! If you’re a Windows Phone user already, but you wanted two-factor authentication on your Google account, you can also use this same app, since Google’s Authenticator App for Android doesn’t seem like it’s ever coming to Windows Phone. Microsoft’s Authenticator for Windows Phone is certainly the way to go to enhance your security!

After downgrading IE10 to 9, unable to download (solved!)

I ran in to this one yesterday and thought I should tell you all how I got around it. First, a quick description of the problem.

After a recent downgrade from Internet Explorer 10 back to Internet Explorer 9 (by going to the Programs and Features menu and simply uninstalling IE10), problems started to crop up. Now, this doesn’t happen 100% of the time, I’ve successfully uninstalled 10 and gone back to 9 before, but this does appear to be a bug that has happened more than once. When you click a download link: NOTHING HAPPENS! I mean less than nothing. There is no “Run / Save / Cancel” window popping up, it just sits there. I spent hours trying to figure this one out, and the final solution isn’t pretty, but I’ll tell you what I had to do. Continue reading “After downgrading IE10 to 9, unable to download (solved!)”

Archer – Seasons 1-4 in HD

Archer. A cartoon that isn’t for kids. At all. It is an animated series about an alcoholoic, womanizing secret-agent defends the world from evil, while dealing with repressed mommy issues. And every minute of it is hysterical.

I knew the show had promise, but now that we’re four seasons deep in to this show, it just keeps getting better. One of the things I love is that each episode is just stuffed full of great comedy moments. The show is a run away success, but they aren’t trying to drag it out with pointless side plots and new story arcs. There is one main plot, and each episode is going to make you laugh, whether it progresses the story or not. It’s not trying too hard to be anything other than what it is. And every week it pushes the envelope of what you thought you could get away with on television.

Archer: The Complete Season Four is available for pre-order on DVD – or, if you’re more tech savvy than your friends, you can easily stream it online in HD, along with HD versions of seasons one, two, and three. It’s not for everyone, but it is something that I enjoy immenslely, and I encourage anyone who hasn’t watched it yet to shut up, sit down, and binge watch these four seasons!