If you’ve used Microsoft’s new Windows 8 operating system, chances are the first thing you thought when you got the OS main screen was, “Dude where’s the Start button?!” And quite possibly, you haven’t stopped thinking that since. Microsoft’s decision to remove the Start button from the Windows 8 interface has left many users completely in the lurch, as they feebly attempt to relearn everything they knew about using their PCs, from scratch. Fear not, however, poor lost souls. There are alternative solutions available that will bring back the functionality of your beloved Start button, and SweetLabs’ Pokki is one of the better ones available right now. Let’s take a look at some of the functionality added to your Windows 7 and 8 Desktops by this nifty little application.
Bring back the Start menu
Pokki’s biggest selling point of course, is the Start menu interface it brings back to Windows 8. Once you’ve downloaded the app (you can download it from www.pokki.com), simply right-click on the small acorn icon you see, go to Settings, and there tick the check-box that says “Show Start Menu sidebar”.
Pokki Start Menu
And voila! The Start Menu returns, along with all your familiar options for Programs, Control Panel, Shut Down, etc.
Boot straight to Desktop Mode
Once you’ve gotten the hang of using Pokki and the various apps it offers, you might decide that it offers functionality you prefer over the default one offered by Windows 8 (we honestly don’t blame you). If you never want to see the Windows 8 Start screen again, right-click the Pokki Start button (the little acorn thing), and under Settings, you’ll see an option called ‘Boot to Desktop’.
Select it, and bingo! Your Windows 8 system will start directly in Desktop mode, so that you never have to switch back to the Start screen for anything.
Save your Favourite programs for quick access
When you open the Pokki start-up menu, you’ll notice that it has three main segments on the top-left side: Favourites, All Programs and Control Panel. The Favourites tab can, and does contain, apps that are frequently used by you, to ensure quick access from the Start menu. Unlike Windows though, which juggles the positions of these programs around based on how frequently you use them, you can actively choose which apps to include here, and which ones to keep away. To add an app to the Favourites, simply highlight the app in the All Programs section, and select the star on the extreme right, and it automatically gets added to the Favourites tab. Deselect the star to remove the app from your Favourites. Alternatively, you can also right-click the app and select ‘Add to favourites’.
Pokki also lets you pin your favourite apps to the Start menu taskbar. Simply right-click the icon of the app you want to pin, and select ‘Pin to taskbar’.
NOTE: Any new apps you download and install are automatically added to your Favourites menu. To move them around, simply drag-and-drop the app icon to the desired position in the palette.
Install Pokki apps
The biggest benefit of using Pokki is the vast plethora of apps available for your use. You’ll find app ranging from the most popular services like Facebook and Gmail to social games, and much much more. The apps don’t always sport the full functions offered by the original service (like there is no Priority Inbox in the Gmail app), but that’s OK; the primary aim of these apps is speed, so that you can take a quick look at the newest updates in your services before returning to what you were originally doing.
Pokki App Store
The apps are free to download, and easily available. Simply select the App Store from the Pokki Start menu and browse through the large choice available. There is
something here for everyone, and everything.
The following are some of the apps you absolutely must try: